Friday, July 13, 2012

Winchell's Pizza & Bar-B-Q

It should always be like this. We were out for the day, five of us, a sightseeing drive through the Catskills, when it was time for lunch. We looked on the iPad and found a restaurant ten miles away. But I was driving, so when I glimpsed a restaurant advertising pizza and barbecue, I pulled over.

"Can we give this place a try?" I asked. Everyone said yes; I parked the car and we went inside.

There are several things that indicate a pleasurable dining experience is at hand. A ceramic pig and root beer on tap are two of them.

We were there for about 45 minutes. The place was by no means busy but a steady stream of customers kept coming in, most of them either grabbing a slice of pizza or getting sandwiches to go. I liked the vibe of the place.

The menu was big - really big for a place off the beaten path. I wasn't sure they would be able to do three different things - pizza, barbecue and sandwiches - well.

Some of our party had the root beer on tap, but it was a hot day and a cold iced tea was exactly what I wanted.

As we waited for our food - not a very long wait, maybe fifteen minutes - I saw two slices of pizza go by. I suddenly wished that's what I'd ordered. They were awesome-looking: giant slices glistening with cheese, crust that looked perfect, each slice larger than the plate it was being served on.

My dad ordered the burger. This was only the second day of his vacation and he hadn't adjusted to East Coast time, so he felt weird eating a burger and fries at what his body thought was 9:30 in the morning. He wasn't able to eat all of it - not even half of it, really - but he liked what he had.

I had the barbecue chicken sandwich. I freaking loved it. The sauce wasn't anything special, it was a little too sweet, but that's my only complaint. The chicken was tender and juicy, the slaw was delicious and peppery (as you can see, I added some of it to the sandwich to compensate for the sweet sauce) and the bun was just outstanding. The menu calls it a "homemade" bun and it tasted just like it had been made minutes earlier. It was soft on the lips but sturdy enough to the hold together the big sandwich bursting with pulled chicken.

The fries were great, too: skin-on potatoes that had been fried at the right temperature to crisp them up. When I received the plate I knew it would be too much food, when I started eating I knew it would be too much food... and yet I finished my plate. I didn't want any of it to go to waste.

Elizabeth and her mom decided to split a different chicken sandwich: the Mediterranean lemon-herb chicken sandwich, with creamy cucumber dressing. They really liked it as well. Maybe not as much as I liked my sandwich, but still.

My mom ordered a meatball sandwich, another sandwich that couldn't be completely consumed and another sandwich that was really enjoyed.

I wished I had room to help everyone else finish their plates, but I had enough trouble finishing mine.

I don't know when I will have a chance to get back to Winchell's, but I hope it's before the summer is over. I liked everything about it, and I definitely want to try that pizza.


Mike N. said...

That place looks great! I'm curious about the Chicago Deep-Dish Pizza "with the sesame crust" -- that's just not computing for me; I think of Chicago style as a buttery pastery crust, maybe with cornmeal, but sesame?

And Hurricane Kitty sounds like a great beer!

Michelle said...

It looks like a fun, friendly place. Like it should be on a dirt backroad, not a highway.

Bekah said...

Meatloaf Panini... why have I never thought of that? I have leftover smoke-roasted meatloaf that would be perfect for that.

And that meatball sub, daaaamn.

Anonymous said...

that meatball sub looks so friggin yummy

Nosh Gnostic said...

Wha!?! No donuts?!? Oh well, I'll have a chisken muffaletta and a Yuengling porter, please.
This place looks aces.

JustinM said...

For as great as Dunkin Donuts coffee is - and I love it - their donuts really are a disappointment. I miss that Winchell's just down the Hill. Those were much better.

Anonymous said...

Nice place it is and nice name. I got the same name. :-)