If you want to eat at a mountain lodge, but don’t want to drive into the mountains, Lorie’s Wildridge Restaurant at 5455 West Ridge Road is the place for you. This log cabin-like restaurant is full of beautiful woodwork, mounted wildlife, and friendly people. Amanda and I arrived just before six on Tuesday night and were surprised at how crowded the parking lot was. We were seated immediately and started looking through our menus. The menu is comprised of a broad spectrum of affordable, home-cooked food. Everything looked as though it came straight from your grandmother’s kitchen. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are all available and there are plenty of choices for each. Our server, Dawn, gave us some great suggestions and was helpful in walking us through the menu. Amanda decided on the Chicken Parmesan sub and a side salad, and I received a recommendation to try either the pot roast sandwich or the meatloaf sandwich. The Hot Meatloaf sandwich was what I was craving, but they also had a Sloppy Joe on special so I decided to get that as well. The Sloppy Joe special was served with a choice of macaroni salad or German potato salad and the meatloaf sandwich came with mashed potatoes.
Our salads came out in no time after we placed our order. Amanda’s tossed salad was more than just boring iceberg lettuce; it was a mix of greens including spinach. It was topped with carrots, tomatoes, and served with a side of croutons and their homemade ranch dressing. The macaroni salad was light, but full of flavor. The dressing on it was mayo-based and coated the noodles in a delicate layer of richness. The small dice of onion, celery, and egg made for a good texture contrast and added taste.
The rest of our meals came to the table shortly after we finished the salads. The Chicken Parmesan sub contained large pieces of fried chicken topped with their house marinara sauce and melted mozzarella cheese all on a toasted sub roll. The sauce was very flavorful and went well with the super crispy chicken. The sandwich was served with homemade crunchy potato chips that were a perfect pairing.
My Hot Meatloaf sandwich looked fantastic. Two hearty slices of meatloaf were placed between slices of bread and covered in fresh beef gravy. What could be simpler than that? The meatloaf was fantastically seasoned with a great sauce crust on the outside. I like my meatloaf with ketchup, but this gravy might have converted me. The mashed potatoes were some of the best I have ever had. They were creamy, but still had some chunks of potato with the skin. Again, I’m not normally a fan of gravy on my potatoes, but I would come back just for that.
I have a hard time passing up daily specials. You can order off the regular menu any day, but you never know the next time you can get a specific special. When I saw the Sloppy Joe on the menu board, I knew I had to try it. Let me start by saying that this was no ordinary Manwich concoction on a hamburger bun. The ground beef was mixed with diced peppers and onions and tossed in a tangy tomato sauce that was to die for. The sandwich was served piping hot with the perfect level of “slopiness” and was the model of true comfort food. I don’t eat Sloppy Joes often, but it brings me right back to my childhood every time I do.
We ended our meal with some of their incredible scratch-made pies, but just in case I come back to review desserts (and I hope I do get that chance), I’ll save those for later.
Thank you to Dawn for the fantastic and hospitable service. The kitchen staff here pushes out delicious stick-to-your-ribs comfort food for any meal and any occasion. Most regulars have a favorite dish here and you’ll probably be able to find your own. The menu is great, but don’t forget to check out the specials board.
The phone number is 814-838-3402. However, they do not take reservations so there may be a wait. They are open Tuesday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Until next time,
Andrew — Beard vs. Food