Friday, February 14, 2014


If you've ever driven on State Route 46 from Austintown to Niles, you've probably noticed the upside-down sign marking the Ice House Inn at the corner of Webb Road. A popular watering hole and community gathering place for many, many years, the Ice House has undergone renovations inside and out, including the menu.

Oh, it's still a community bar, and if you go on a Bike Night (or for that matter, just about any night much beyond 6 p.m.), you'll have a tough time getting a seat inside. Most often, my husband Jack and I show up for lunch or, as old folks like us are wont to do, an early dinner. If we're just snacking, we'll pick one of the high tables close to the bar; when we're eating something more substantial and need more room to spread out, we'll choose one of the booths on the other side of the bar partition. I love the booth tables, which are inlaid with colorful "business cards" from [mostly] local companies.

Still another section is used for live entertainment set-ups, small parties and such. To be sure, the place hosts great parties; we've attended a few (it's rare for us to go out for an evening since neither of us enjoys driving after dark, but this place is so close to our house that if we could crawl as the crow flies, we'd be home in no time). It's no holds barred for really special occasions like New Year's Eve and, more recently, Super Bowl Sunday.

Wings have long been a specialty of the house here, and we know quite a few folks who rave about them. Quite honestly, until a year or so ago, we weren't that impressed; but lately, we've been raving as well. Boneless versions are available now for those who are so inclined - I still want to pick around the bones, thank you very much. They're meatier now, and the sauces are quite tasty (the butter garlic, lemon pepper and teriyaki come to mind immediately). A dozen goes for $10.99; usually, though, Jack opts for something else and I get six of the butter garlic for $5.99.

For the record, other sauces include mild, hot, gold rush, barbecue, ranch and parmesan; if you want extra sauce, add 50 cents. Wings also are available for carryout; 50 cost $39.99.

On Mondays and Wednesdays, wings are 50 cents each, by the way, so we try to remember to stop in then when we're in the mood for the popular appendages. And while we're on the subject of specials, the Ice House serves up prime rib beginning at 4 p.m. every Saturday for $10.99. Honestly, I haven't tried it yet, but it's very near the top of my food bucket list.

Sandwiches are always a good choice, and both of us are especially fond of the Greek Gyro ($6.99). I love the chicken park sandwich, a lightly breaded  breast topped with mozzarella cheese and marinara sauce for $7.99. Also tasty are the Reuben, chicken and greens and 1/2-pound sausage patty - you won't leave hungry, that's for sure (all sandwiches come with fries).

With the remodeling has come a very welcome expanded dinner menu - and just about everythings sounds delicious. On our most recent visit, Jack tried the fish & chips ($8.99), ordering cole slaw and pasta - the latter spaghetti with red sauce - while I wanted the fried perch with pasta and a salad ($9.99). Alas, mine wasn't to be; the perch wasn't available on the day of our visit, so I made  last-minute switch to that chicken parm sandwich. While we waited, we sipped one of the beer specials for the day - bottles of Bud for just a buck. 

I expected the standard fries with my sandwich, but when our orders came I was happy to see they'd given me the pasta I'd wanted with the perch that wasn't to be. The reason? There are a number of pasta dinners on the menu, from plain old pasta and two meatballs to chicken parmesan (a breast fried, topped with mozzarella and marinara over pasta to chicken diablo (not peppers in marinara sauce with chicken over the pasta of the day). Since I'm always leery of ordering nothing but pasta unless I've tasted the sauce, I figured I'd try it as a side before shelling out the 11 bucks or so for the dinner version.

In fact, the sauce was quite tasty - so when and if I'm in the mood, I won't hesitate to order one of the pasta dinners. Between the two of us, we had quite a bit left over to take home, and a couple of days later we learned it heats up quite well.

If you go:

Ice House Inn
5516 W. Webb Road
Austintown, Ohio 44515
(330) 544-8800

Open from 9 a.m. to 2:30 a.m. Monday through Saturday; 7 a.m. to 2:30 a.m. Sunday.