Eating & Drinking

Old Skool: Restaurant Review

A Saturday spent in Clintonville is a well spent Saturday in our books. Now that it’s officially Farmer’s Market season, we popped by the Clintonville Farmer’s Market (the best one in our opinion) then Lucky’s Market and then we obviously needed to grab lunch because Silverbridge coffee doesn’t count as a meal. Since we were already in the neighborhood, we figured we would try out the fairly new Old Skool. If you aren’t familiar with this new sports bar meets arcade, it’s located about a mile north of Lane Avenue right next to Lineage Brewing and the newly opened Bonchon (which is ammaazzingg) in the old Giorgio location. I’m a sucker for hot dogs & chicken wings, so why not test it out? 

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We’ll cut to the chase for those of you who want to know if you should try it out. We’re giving it a 3.5 out of 5 — great location, fun decor, lovely service, good food and decent prices. Disclaimer: since they frown upon drinking while pregnant, we didn’t test out any of the cocktails. We will update after this little peanut makes her debut. All in all, I would say yes, definitely, try it out to see if it cures your need for hot dogs and arcade games. 

Still reading? Lovely. We got to Old Skool on a Saturday afternoon around 12pm and there was another table of four and a few people at the bar. It wasn’t too crazy but also the weather was more like October instead of the middle of May and that would deter most people from leaving their warm homes. We wandered in and sat at a table along the wall that was actually an arcade game that doubled as a table. I think this would be an awesome place for a date because the games are free and there were about 30 different options between frogger, pooyan and a whole bunch of other ones that I’m too young to know that you can play while you’re waiting for your food to come. 

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We have a bad habit of wanting to try a little bit of everything when we go to new (to us) restaurants. Yes, I realize we can go back but that’s besides the point. I was thrown for a loop when our server let us know that they serve brunch on Saturdays and Sundays until 4pm — that’s just too many wonderful options for this girl. Brunch aside, Old Skool has an interesting menu because it isn’t a one hit wonder. They focus on clever hot dogs (a la Dirty Franks) but then also have a smoker out back where they cook up BBQ items like chicken wings, brisket, sausages and pulled pork. The nice thing about wanting to try it all is that the prices are super affordable — hot dogs range from $3 – $4.50 and you can get a BBQ sampler for $10-$14. 

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We opted for the mid-range BBQ sampler that was $12 and included 3 “protein” options with 2 sides. We ordered honey chipotle wings, beef brisket and smoked sausage with mac and cheese and their fries. The portion sizes were great — especially for sharing — 3 chicken wings, 3 pieces of beef brisket, 2 sausages and generous portions of the side dishes. The presentation was interesting, it came on a plastic “cafeteria style” try which isn’t the most appetizing looking setup. My favorite part of the platter was the mac and cheese because it had a garlicky bread crumb mixture on top and had the perfect amount of cheesiness. If you aren’t familiar with smoked chicken wings, they are definitely different than your typical fried ones — a little chewier but with a yummy flavor. I felt like the beef brisket was a little reminiscent of a salisbury steak but that could just be bad flashbacks from the cafeteria tray. Since I’m not a pig eater, the sausages were all on The Beard to enjoy. He said they were fine but the casing was extremely tough to chew through and he ended up having to rip it off the sausage which isn’t ideal. 

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Since we are gluttons — we also got hot dogs. They get brownie points from me because they have all-beef hot dogs. I chose the Physical Graffiti which has American cheese (literally a processed slice), graffiti sauce (kinda like a 1000 island), slaw, tomato and pickles served on a poppy seed bun. I wasn’t into the American slice of cheese on there but that’s my own fault for ordering it — otherwise, it was pretty tasty because cole slaw on a hot dog is always a great decision. The Beard ordered his own version with tomato, onion and cheese curds wrapped up in there. Next time, I think we’ll go all out with the homemade corn dog and the Blues Brothers dog. 

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While Old Skool isn’t the most amazing restaurant ever — it definitely fits it’s requirements of “food, drink and fun.” They also seem to have some pretty great deals during the week like $3 hot dogs on Wednesday and Happy Hour M-F from 3pm-6pm. We’ll be back to try those other intriguing menu items and also because the manager was bopping around passing out “free dog” coupons for next time and that’s just wonderful. 

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