The Loaded Slate emphasizes food, drink and chalk
Chalk it up to the need to have a gimmick in the crowded world of bars with pub grub. The Loaded Slate, the new entry in the Downtown space that formerly housed Cafe Vecchio Mondo and the Red Accordion, is somewhat obsessed with chalkboards.
Open the front door, and there is a giant board with chalk for you to sign in. Step up to the bar, and there is a narrow ribbon of chalk board running down its center.
Perch at a table. A rather large chalkboard is in the middle. Use the restroom. Yup, you can write on the walls in chalk.
Oh, and on the walls in the bar-dining area are works of chalkboard art created by college students. This is a concept conceived by co-owner Shawn Mellon, and if it proves successful on Old World 3rd Street, we may be seeing more Loaded Slates at other locations.
The idea is you can leave people notes, keep track of your tab, play tic tac toe, prove how witty you are or just doodle on the slate surfaces.
Cafe Vecchio Mondo and the Red Accordion were restaurants that had bars. The Loaded Slate is a bar that serves food.
Mellon's business partner, Joe Kuntz, built drop leaf, piano hinged tables that are attached to the walls. When more people want to drink than eat at the Slate, the space-consuming tables fold down and out of sight.
That doesn't mean the new establishment is ignoring the kitchen. It even has a kids' menu.
"We're family friendly till 10," Mellon says. "Then we become strictly a bar."
Loaded Slate's menu is pub oriented with some signature twists. An appetizer order of spicy-batter waffle fries gets the nacho treatment – a topping of Guinness cheese sauce, peppers, tomatoes, onions, olives, sour cream with chives and a choice of chicken or beef for $8.95. Bacon can be added for an extra buck.
Reuben sticks ($6.95) feature all the ingredients found in the sandwich, except the bread, wrapped in a wonton skin and deep fried. You can upgrade to the real sammy, served on marble rye, for ($8.95).
Featured panini are the pineapple grilled chicken with pepper jack cheese and the grilled slamberry turkey, consisting of smoked turkey, provolone, spinach and cranberry mustard served on sourdough bread. Both are $8.95.
A variety of burgers run from $7.95 to $10.95. All sandwiches include the choice of a side – pub fries, waffle fries, homemade chips, rosemary red potatoes or coleslaw.
The Loaded Slate offers a chef's salad ($8.95), classic Caesar salad ($7.95), brewhouse cheddar and bacon soup ($4.95) and a baked potato stuffed with Guinness cheese sauce, jalapenos and sour cream with chives ($4.95). A chicken, beef or veggie quesadilla is sold for $8.95, and a pound and a half of jumbo chicken wings tossed in buffalo or barbecue sauce goes for $9.95.
Behind the bar, five tappers include Strongbow, Guinness and Spotted Cow. The Slate sells Schlitz and Pabst tall boys. Bottled beers, chilled in neat rows in a glass door cooler, include Harp, Red Stripe, Amstel and Fat Tire.
Lunch begins at 11 every day, and a happy hour is in force from 4 to 8 p.m. daily. Appetizers, tap beers and rail drinks are $3 during happy time.
About 50 people can be seated in the bar and dining area, and an outdoor patio can accommodate another 48. A back room the owners have dubbed The Tailgate Zone will cater to parties and groups watching sporting events on TV.
The Loaded Slate had a soft opening several weeks ago. Its official grand opening begins today and runs through Saturday.
Indie rocker Jayk will perform tonight. DJ FirstGrade will appear Friday night, and DJ E. Rich is scheduled for Saturday.
"sammie"? from a Senior Editor? you're joking right?
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