Just 'wing it' and stop in at The Rusty Barrel

In an era where big sports bars are a dime a dozen, it’s great to go into the neighborhood bar where you’re recognized, and if you're not, you’re made to feel right at home. If this sounds inviting to you then make your way to the Rusty Barrel.

Located at the intersection of Center Ridge and Westwood roads, this comfortable bar and grill in Westlake offers a multitude of televisions for viewing your favorite sporting event or just a great gathering place to meet family and friends. Some booths even have their own personal TVs, with your own remote.  

The u-shaped bar lends itself to easy conversations, wherever you sit. The full service bar offers a great selection of domestic, imported and micro-brewed beers to satisfy any taste. Happy Hour is Monday-Friday, 4-7 p.m., and “Power Hour” is from 5-6 p.m.

Let’s start with a dozen of their “Award Winning Wings,” the Grilled Cajun BBQ ($6.75) to be exact. These big, meaty wings are smothered in BBQ sauce, grilled and then finished with Cajun spices. In my opinion, they are probably some of the best wings not only in Westlake, but Cleveland.

Another delicious appetizer is the Creamy Crab Dip ($8.95). This blend of crab meat and creamy cheese sauce served warm with flat bread chips is truly addicting.

I said it before and I’ll say it again, I love a good salad. That’s why I recommend the Chicken “Cesar” Salad ($7.95). Fresh romaine tossed in their homemade Caesar dressing and finished with bacon bits, fresh Parmesan and seasoned croutons. If you prefer to have your dressing on the side, don’t; they dress it just right.

LETS TALK BURGERS! Just move down the menu to the Bottom of the Barrel Burger ($8.25), the big brother of their signature burger. Two beef patties with American & Swiss cheeses, bacon, jalapeño and banana peppers, grilled mushrooms, onion straws, lettuce and tomato. Need I say more, it’s tasty.

If you like seafood, try the Fresh Grouper Sandwich ($7.25). A lightly seasoned fillet, perfectly sautéed, and topped with lettuce, tomato and a homemade tartar sauce. Try it “blackened,” it gives it a great kick.

I had a Margarita Grilled Cheese Sandwich as the special. Fresh Mozzarella, tomato slices, basil leaves on grilled bread, with a marinara sauce for dipping, it was delicious. All sandwiches and burgers are served with potato chips and pickle. Do yourself a favor and go with either the fresh cut regular or sweet potato fries, they’re always a winner.

Here’s a few nights to think about: 2-for-1 Burger Mondays, Taco Tuesdays, 45-cent wing Wednesdays, BBQ Thursdays, Beer Battered Cod/Lightly Breaded Lake Perch Fridays and Prime Rib Saturdays. 

There is no shortage of entertainment at the Rusty Barrel. There is an internet jukebox, video games and live music on both Friday and Saturday nights. The owner, Rusty Jesset, also informed me that they will be rolling out a new menu shortly. Subscribe to their email newsletter which will keep you up to date on entertainment and many of the creative promotional evenings Rusty plans throughout the year.  He is very active in many community fundraisers.

The Rusty Barrel has been open a little over five years and it is a classic, comfortable neighborhood bar, so needed in the city of Westlake. 

Rating: three stars out of four.

The Rusty Barrel; 27026 Center Ridge Rd., Westlake; 440-892-1292; rustybarrel.com

Steve Novak

Steve Novak is a Westlake resident and 30-year veteran in the restaurant industry, working at all levels from dishwasher to manager to chef/owner. The Observer makes two anonymous visits per restaurant and does not accept complimentary meals.

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Volume 4, Issue 3, Posted 11:07 AM, 02.07.2012