The Buckeye Hall of Fame Grill opened last November, and was one piece of the first phase of the much-discussed Grandview Yard development. Despite what the name might imply, the Buckeye Hall of Fame Grill has absolutely nothing to do with the Buckeye Hall of Fame Cafe which closed in 2009 and was demolished to make room for a new Springhill Suites hotel on Olentangy River Road.
As the name does imply, the theme at The Grill is the same as The Cafe: the athletic department of The Ohio State University located nearby. The walls are filled with OSU sports memorabilia of all flavors, and the dozens of flatscreen tvs are all tuned to various sports networks. The concept does seem to be aimed at a slightly more mature sports fan, which means that you’re highly unlikely to rub elbows with college students pounding cheap pitchers of beer at the bar. The Buckeye Hall of Fame Grill was meant for professionals, families and other customers interested in a slightly more refined experience.
With that said, by no means is The Grill a restaurant where you have to break the bank. On my recent visit I was able to take advantage of daily specials and happy hour prices to keep my selections affordable.
The Brutus Bites ($6.99) appetizer is a plate of eight bite-sized roasted potatoes lightly stuffed with bits of bacon and cheese and topped with a chile-lime cream sauce. The flavor combination is almost similar to an order of chili-cheese fries but with a much more sophisticated approach. The light and creamy sauce was star of the show and really gave the dish a nice balance. And with happy hour pricing knocking the cost in half, an order of these for only $3.50 was an extremely well priced way to start off.
The Caesar Salad ($5.99) includes the classic ingredients of romaine, parmesan and croutons as well as a few special twists such as roasted corn, asiago and avocado. Unfortunately mine arrived without the avocado but the waitress was quick to bring me a plate of pieces to put in my salad. The avocado and corn give the salad a refreshing taste.
The Guacamole Burger ($9.89) is seasoned with cajun spices and topped with guacamole, green chiles, pepper-jack cheese and a cream-based sauce in addition to the staples of lettuce, tomato and onion. The seasonings had just the right amount of spice to give the burger a Mexican flavor profile without straying too far from the classics that make a great burger. By default the burger is cooked to medium, which was actually prepared just slightly over medium, but didn’t really detract much from the overall quality of the combination of toppings. I chose onion straws as the side, which ended up being a little too thin and fragile for easy eating. Probably wouldn’t recommend them over the other side options (fries, mashed potatoes or slaw).
I should also mention that every Tuesday features a half-off burger special where all burgers (except for the larger two-patty burger) are all priced down to just $5. The burger size is slightly reduced from an 8oz patty to a 5-6oz patty, but the portion size remains pretty filling regardless.
The Blueberry Cobbler ($7.49) was one of several rotating flavored cobblers made from fresh seasonal fruits, cooked in individual cast iron skillets and topped with vanilla ice cream. The presentation was very cute, and the cast-iron cooking made for a nice crisp crust to contrast the gooey filling and the creamy quick-melting ice cream. I’d say that this is one of the better cobblers I’ve had in a local restaurant in awhile and would definitely order one of the other flavors available on my next visit. Delicious.
Overall I was quite impressed with the quality of food on the menu at the Buckeye Hall of Fame Grill. The hiring of Executive Chef Mark Johnson was an excellent choice, as his years of experience in upscale restaurant environments on the west coast really shine through in a venue that could probably get by with a more simplified bar menu and the scarlet and gray association alone. To many people, OSU sports means brats at tailgate parties and long days of drinking beer in the sun. If you’re looking for the foodie alternative that will also express your love for OSU sports, then you can find what you’re looking for at The Grill.
The Buckeye Hall of Fame Grill is located at 900 Goodale Boulevard at Grandview Yard. Hours, menus and other information can be found online at www.buckeyegrill.com.