As much hype as has been buzzing around the new Local 44, I'm going to have to hop on the wagon here and review it as well. The beer geek's paradise/pub grub haven (also known as a "gastropub") on 44th and Spruce opened New Year's Day to much acclaim and a lot, A LOT of business. We decided to hit the place up the Saturday after New Year's (a.k.a. January 3rd, a.k.a. the third day they were open) and my initial response was sheer and utter claustrophobia. At 9:30pm, the place was packed to the brim with a mixed crowd of, well, locals. Barely a body could squeeze past the bar, let alone even begin to think about getting a table. We quickly high-tailed it out of there, tails between our legs.
After quasi-writing the place off, I decided to give it another go a few days later. At the more quiet hour of 3:30pm, the place was near empty, service was prompt and the food ruled. Vegan options weren't super plentiful, but for a small menu the ratio was very admirable. We started off having the spinach potato croquettes with a creamy vegan dill sauce; the sauce really sold me and really made the dish:
Of course I had to try the seemingly infamous Oyster (Mushroom) Po' Boy with vegan remoulade. When I first read a review of this sandwich online, it was only called an "Oyster Po' Boy" and man, was I surprised and delighted when I realized the truth of the matter. Behold, my second favorite sandwich in the city:
I didn't get a Kenzinger, as the picture misleads you to believe, but a Victory Brewing Company Prima Pils, one of my favorite beers, and one of TWENTY that the Local has on tap (and two on cask!). I was also fortunate enough to try the taco trio, as we made a special request (yeah, I kind of hate when people do this too, but the waitress was totally cool about it) for 2 tofu tacos and one mahi mahi taco (for a friend). The taco kind of reminded me of a giant fish stick on a little corn tortilla, and was a little scant on fixins, however, still tasted pretty darn good. Did I mention the totally killer fries? No?
My recommendation: go there, early, like pre-5pm on a weekday early. It'll be worth it I promise!