My girlfriend Irene and I find that we get in a rut about going to restaurants. It’s that sort of thing where you’re wearing blinders to all of those restaurants you’ve been hearing about, but for whatever you never remember when it comes dinner (or lunch) time. So we’ve started making a mental list of places we want to try in the near future. Of course almost all of my choices are beer related, but that’s should come as no real shock to anyone.
Last Saturday when dinner time rolled around, I knew I wanted to hit one of the first places on my list, the Tin Can Tavern and Grill. This is a place that boasts about the fact they they offer 50 different beers, all in can. Oh sure if you want you can get a glass of wine or you could get a draught or bottled beer. But you don’t go to Mexican joint expecting Chinese, so why would you want to go to a place called the Tin Can Tavern without drinking a beer that came from a can?
The other thing that drew me to Tin Can was the food. It’s not anything fancy, it’s just classic American comfort food. They have some of the standard bar staples like chicken tenders, hot wings, and mini corn dogs. But for the most part it’s food you grew up with in St. Louis: mac and cheese, chicken fried steak, BBQ pork steaks and even a fried bologna sandwich if that’s what you’re craving.
When we arrived last Saturday at about 7:30, I quickly realized I made a huge mistake choosing to test out a new restaurant that also happens to be a bar. It was the night of the Missouri-Oklahoma battle for the Big 12 and the bar was packed with both Missouri and Oklahoma fans. After a little bit of searching, Irene and I were able to finally find a table and get a chance to look at the menu. Unfortunately, coupled with the influx of fans, it looks like Tin Can may have had a staffing issue that evening as it took a little while before someone came over to take our order.
On the plus side, it gave me some time to look over my choices of canned beer. Let me quickly put this put this as nicely as I can (yuk, yuk), there’s a couple of good beers I had no idea came in a can and there is a lot of bad beer I was all too aware came in a can. But the amount of “bad” beer wasn’t really a surprise. Tin Can Tavern, and I say this in the most lovingly way, is a dive bar. When you’re being served beer in mason jars, you’re not expecting to find St. Bernardus 60th Anniversary, you’re expecting to see PBR and Schlitz. That being said, as my first choice of Newcastle was unavailable, I went with a Young’s Double Chocolate Stout. It poured deep brown with a white creamy head and a wonderful chocolate aroma.
Our food arrived a little while after our drinks. I chose the Pot Roast and Irene choose the Fried Chicken. We also ordered up a ton of sides (as those do not come with the entrees,) macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans and hush puppies. Though my pot roast was a bit dry, it was tender and fell apart at the touch. The accompaniment carrots, onions and celery helped to keep the home-cooked feel. Irene’s fried chicken was fantastic. It was moist with a delicious crispy crust.
I really enjoyed the sides as well. The green beans were served with bacon but they seemed to be straight from a can. If you like canned green beans on occasion (which I do) then you’ll be happy. If you want your green beans crisp and green, I’d stay away from these. The mashed potatoes were good with what seemed to be a delicious rosemary gravy. The hush puppies were crisp, light and fluffy. They were Irene’s favorite side. The mac and cheese was a bit unusual as it contained honey, which left it a bit sweet. Irene really enjoyed the pairing of the honey and cheese, it was just so-so to me. (Joe and Ann Pollack apparently felt the same way I did.)
Overall, the Tin Can Tavern is a fantastic place to get a beer (especially if you’re looking to relive some days gone by) and some comfort food. I just wouldn’t recommend trying to get it on the night of one of the biggest sports events of the year.