We had a couple of hours to kill in Newark, Ohio, this weekend while one of our daughters attended a friend’s birthday party. It was nearing the dinner hour--but, we had some light grilling plans for later, so we decided to check out a local restaurant for some drinks and a couple of shared menu items. With our food adventurous, youngest daughter along for the trip, we decided to visit the Red Oak Pub in Newark, Ohio.
Red Oak Pub occupies a nice space. The Red Oak Pub has a rural sounding address--Goosepond Road--but, is really located in a fairly busy, commercial area of town. Strip mall shopping complexes surround it, so it certainly isn’t off the beaten path. A large sign makes it hard to miss--even for those unfamiliar with the area. The restaurant is well maintained with a cute outdoor seating space and a large parking lot.
Is the Red Oak Pub family friendly? The pub atmosphere can be a little tricky for families. The dining area of the Red Oak Pub surrounds the bar--so unfortunately, diners are within earshot of bar patron conversations. During our early dinner visit, there was one fairly vocal young man at the bar with crude, foul language ridden stories galore. The size of the space doesn’t allow much “separation” from the bar crowd--so switching to outdoor seating was the only "avoidance" option. There was a children's menu with usual options like burgers and mac & cheese. The grilled peanut butter and jelly sandwich was the one item that we don't usually see on kid's menus. There were several other families and diners of all ages in the pub during our visit. It was nice to see such a diverse crowd in a local, family owned restaurant.
Okay--how was the food at the Red Oak Pub? We really intended to order an appetizer--and sample a few new beers--but, there were just a few items on the menu that we had to try.
Potato Mounds with Applewood Smoked Bacon and Cheddar.
We let the little one choose from the three filling options for what we assumed were merely topping twists on the usual pub potato skin appetizer. What arrived was three, upright potato halves that were actually more like stuffed, twice baked potatoes than potato skins.
Drizzled with a bit of sour cream and green onions and encircled with an onion ring--the Potato Mounds were a hit. I would order an extra side of sour cream next time--but, I would certainly order these again.
Peanut Butter Bacon Burger on a Pretzel Roll with Beer Battered Fries. A bacon cheeseburger is hardly a stretch--but, one with peanut butter on a pretzel roll?
When I first read the description of the burger, I thought it held peanut butter flavored bacon--which gave me the unfortunate image of my dog’s favorite treats--but, it’s actually just a huge bacon cheeseburger, loaded with lettuce, tomato, and red onion--and slathered with real peanut butter. I love burgers on pretzel rolls--and oddly enough--would now actually consider peanut butter and red onion sandwiches for lunch. The Peanut Butter Bacon Burger is a must try--and the beer battered fries were a hit too.
Caramel Apple Cheesecake. Dessert was not in our plans--but, our littlest daughter had different ideas. The Red Oak Pub offered only two dessert options: a chocolate cake and a caramel apple cheesecake. The cheesecake won our vote.
There are so many ways that this cheesecake could have been horrific--but, we all loved it. There was just the right amount of apple pie inspired spices and flavors with tiny bits of apple that didn’t battle the creamy cheesecake texture--and the little one actually requested bites of the crust.
The Pub Paddle. I think all pubs offer something similar because most of the fun of visiting for beer lovers is to sample and discover something new--especially something from small, local brewers.
We always include a known favorite--usually Guiness--in case the random beer selections are not up to par. We had wanted to try Redd’s Apple Ale for a while--so this one made the cut. Then we chose Buckeye Lake Brewery’s Irish Red Ale and the Bell's Oberon wheat ale. We have decided that a visit to the BuckeyeLake Brewery needs to make it onto our to-do list sometime soon.
Would we recommend Red Oak Pub in Newark? I would love to try a number of the other menu items--and we would certainly return if we are in the area with some downtime again. I would probably dine earlier in the day as family--or request outdoor seating when visiting with the girls. While the food and the atmosphere is family friendly--there is always the risk of a not-so-family-friendly-fellow diner. If you go--the portions are large enough to share and the staff is friendly and accommodating. It’s about a 40 minute drive from Columbus--but, if you are in the neighborhood--it’s a fun, casual--and pretty tasty place to visit.
For more information:
Visit Red Oak Pub's Website
Disclosure: We were not compensated in any way for this review--we just found a restaurant that we enjoyed and wanted to share!