Friday, March 28, 2014


If I had to describe my favorite type of place to eat, there's little question it would be one with a casual atmosphere and a bar. My husband Jack and I enjoy sipping a beer or two or perhaps a glass of wine with our meals, and we want to be able to put our elbows on the table or gnaw on that chicken leg without threat of glares from other diners. Throw in a few big-screen TVs and a bowl of popcorn on the table, and we're hooked.

Barry Dyngles Restaurant & Pub in Austintown is that kind of place, and apparently other folks agree; according to a post on its Facebook page, the first two months of this year are the best in the restaurant's history. 

There are plenty of on-tap beers, from standards to more trendy IPAs and crafts. The bar is sort of horseshoe-shaped and quite large; there's plenty of room to belly up and do some serious sipping while games on the larg-screen TVs. Some of the walls are brick, and all are covered with all sizes of framed photos, mostly sports-related. 

Our most recent visit happened after we'd made a quick trip through part of Mill Creek Park just to get out of the house - the awful winter weather has had us snowed and suffering from cabin fever. We decided to treat ourselves to lunch to stretch our away time, and since this place is not out of our way to get home, it filled the bill perfectly. As is our custom, we sat on the bar side rather than the main dining area.

Barry Dyngles has racked up numerous awards for barbecue sauce, BTW (with good reason - it's absolutely delicious), and I absolutely love the loaded baked potato soup. So when I learned that one of the day's specials was a half rack of ribs with two sides for $10.99, it was a no-brainer. My sides were baked beans and that fabulous soup.

Meanwhile, Jack ordered the beef brisket sandwich, also a daily special with one side for $7.99. He picked macaroni and cheese for his side and then paid a couple of bucks extra to get a cup of French onion soup. Bottles of domestic beer were on special at $1.50 each, so we indulged ourselves with a couple - one while we waited and another with our meals - without breaking the bank.

That soup, which is thick, creamy and topped with cheese, bacon bits and chives, is close to the No. 1 spot on my Top 5 list of favorite soups from any restaurant, and the baked beans, with a barbecue-flavor sauce and shredded beef, are quite different from the usual doctored-up Campbell's variety. If I had to quibble, I'd say the half rack of ribs seemed a bit on the small side so I had nothing left to take home, but this was lunch and the price was more than reasonable.

Jack loved the brisket - it's his usual choice here - which he took out of the bun and ate with a fork, dunking it in the container of barbecue sauce that came with it. The mac and cheese seemed a little dry to me, but Jack certainly wasn't complaining. He said the onion soup, too, was a standout.

An earlier visit came at the dinner hour on a Friday night when we and our friends Jerry and Barb decided on a whim to have dinner, and they suggested Barry Dyngles. Of course, we readily agreed, and off we went. This time, we opted for a table in the main dining area, looking first at the special two for $25 menu that offers an appetizer to share and two entrees from a list of about a dozen. That option went by the boards rather quickly, though, when (believe it or not) we couldn't agree on two entrees from that list. 

Turning to the regular menu, Jack went for healthy over hearty with broiled haddock ($12.99), choosing a salad with thousand island dressing and mac and cheese - well, so much for the healthy part. I had no such allusions, going straight for the ribs and wings platter for $13.99, as did Barb; Jerry chose the ribs and pulled pork platter. My sides, potato soup and baked beans, come as no surprise. Jerry picked a regular baked potato and clam chowder, while Barb upgraded to a loaded baked potato and a salad with bleu cheese dressing.

For sauces, Barb stuck with the "regular" BBQ sauce on both ribs (there were about five ribs and six wings). Jerry ordered the regular sauce on the wings and the Carolina style for what turned out to be a mound of pulled pork (the sauce comes as a side for dipping or pouring). I chose the regular sauce on my ribs and butter garlic on my wings. Everything absolutely delicious; in fact, we were so stuffed we could barely waddle out.

Speaking of wings (we were, weren't we?), they're exceptionally good here, and there are plenty of sauces from which to choose. My personal favorite is butter garlic, but I've tried several others and liked them quite well. If you like your wings to stay crispy, you can order the sauce on the side.

Sandwiches are excellent too - we love the pulled pork, Reuben and Y-Town burger, the latter of which is a half-pound patty topped with Italian greens, hot peppers and provolone on ciabatta bread ($8.99 each). Sandwiches come with fries, and while I'm not a big fry fan, I love these. Slightly spiced, they're a bit crunchy on the outside and soft and tender on the inside. Yum! 

Last but hardly least, I should mention that Barry Dyngles also has a large carry-out menu great for parties or large families, and they have mobile units that cater parties of any size anywhere you need them.

If you go:

Barry Dyngles Restaurant & Pub
1601 S. Raccoon Road
Austintown, Ohio
(330) 259-4788

Kitchen open Monday through Thursday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Saturday, noon to 11 p.m. and noon to 9 p.m. on Sunday.