The corner of Leslie and Blooming Valley Roads is home to the Roff School Tavern. The transformation from school house to the Northgate Inn to the current Tavern started in the 1930’s. This “corner bar” offers a huge outdoor bier garden, game room, live entertainment, the largest beer selection in town, and a totally new dinner menu. The main feature on the menu is the burger and pizza selection. Twenty pre-constructed combinations have been put together for your choosing (as a burger or a pizza) or if you feel like it, there is a complete list of toppings for you to create your own masterpiece. Friday night, Amanda and I were joined by a lot of her family. Her parents, Louise and Alan Flick, her younger brothers, Mike and Alex, and her grandmother, Grammy Jane. We decided on a bunch of burgers that we all wanted to try and share. We ended up ordering seven different options to pass around the table.
Each burger starts out with an 8-ounce ground steak burger on a toasted, crusty ciabatta roll and served with plain kettle chips. I started with the Bluth’s Banana. The beef patty was topped with pulled pork, shredded fried plantains, banana peppers, thousand island dressing, and a little shredded cheese to hold it together. The burger itself was phenomenal. It was cooked perfectly and packed with flavor. The simply seasoned beef was loaded with flavor and really stood out, even with all of the toppings. Since this burger got it’s namesake from the Bluth Family Banana Stand, I would have loved for there to be some actual banana on it instead of the peppers and plantains. While good, the plantains got lost in the vinegar from the peppers and the tang from the dressing. The pork was tender and juicy and came with just as much flavor as the burger. I would order this one again, but I might customize it a bit to get the plantains more of a starring roll.
Next was the Blazin’ Big Bird. The same great burger was topped with shredded chicken, mozzarella cheese, buffalo sauce, crumbled bleu cheese, and their house garlic-ranch dressing. This was like a hot wing and a burger had a beautiful, half pound baby. The chicken absorbed a ton of the flavors from the buffalo sauce and the ranch. The garlic in the ranch was subtle, but enough to give it that familiar garlic bite. The bleu added creamy and funky pops throughout every bite and really made the whole burger. The combination of buffalo wing sauce and beef patty seemed a little weird to me, but the pairing was awesome. This is a must try.
I have seen restaurants feature burgers with peanut butter on them before, but have never given them a try. The Brown Bag Lunch option gave me my chance. A thick layer of peanut butter was spread on the burger and then topped with grape jelly and a little cheese to bind it. The smell is what got to me first. That sweet aroma has been with me since childhood and has always made my mouth water. Each bite had the savory flavor from the beef, the creamy, nutty peanut butter, and the sweet jelly. It hit all of my taste buds at once in just the right way. I would have loved even more of the PB&J to cover everything, even to dip the burger into. I couldn’t get enough of this one.
I tried to get Amanda to order her burger to the tune of Wall Of Voodoo’s Mexican Radio, but she politely declined. The Mexican Radio burger was a pile of jalapenos, salsa, crushed tortilla chips, and black olives, topped then with the beef patty, and then covered with cheddar and sour cream. This burger had a ton of flavors that really complimented each other. The hot pepper rings with the acidic salsa and the silkiness of the cheese and sour cream worked wonders together. The crunch of the smashed chips gave the burger some texture to go with the juicy patty. A dash of some extra hot sauce would have been great, but it was delicious as is. I would also love to see the entire thing pressed and served in a taco shell to really complete the experience. Overall, this burger seemed to be the table favorite.
I was able to also try the Asian Persuasion, the Spicy Peter, and the Pantheon, but in order to avoid making this post extraordinarily long, I left those out. I reviewed the four I thought were the best, but you will have to go down and try them yourself. Thank you to John for the service Ralph in the kitchen for all of the fantastic burger options. I cannot wait to get back down there and try more burgers and some pizza as well. The hours are Mon. through Fri. from 4pm till 2am, Saturday from 2pm till 2am and Sunday from 4pm till 12pm or later. The phone number for information is 814-333-8641.
Until next time,
Andrew – Beard vs. Food