Visitors to the “new” Stop 45 Tavern & Wine Bar restaurant have almost the same reaction after stepping through the front door of what looks like a relatively small establishment: Wow. Who knew this was in here?
From the outside, the white one-story building that formerly housed Michael’s Ice Cream at 153 Lear Road is almost hidden, but walk through the door and you’ll find an expansive space that has two bars, plenty of tables, an inviting fireplace and a jukebox with favorite tunes.
The restaurant was expanded and owner Tom Curry,(now The Quarry), has remodeled the restaurant.
My guest and I took a place by the window overlooking a small patio with patrons enjoying outdoor libations. The Stop 45 menu offers a variety of simpler items including appetizers, wraps, paninis and salads.
Salads include house ($4), Caesar ($5), grilled chicken ($9) and taco ($8) salads. Patrons can select from a selection of $8 wraps or paninis including grilled chicken, roast beef, Italian, BBQ pulled pork, corned beef and meatball.
The tavern also serves personal, large and extra large pizzas. My guest ordered a 7-inch personal pizza with sausage and mushroom. (The restaurant also serves specialty pizza including classic meatball, Meatza pizza, pulled port, Hawaiian and Mexican.) I opted for an appetizer that was a little off the beaten path: roasted red pepper hummus.
The menu is balanced out by a selection of $9 appetizers including grilled and Buffalo chicken flat bread pizza, steamed mussels, the Ohio cheese plate, Ohio meat and cheese plate ($11), slider trio ($6), boneless chicken wings ($6) and nachos ($7).
While waiting for our order, my guest and I enjoyed cold beers. Stop 45 offers a nice selection of bottled beer including the newly arrived Yuengling for the long-suffering fans of the Pennsylvania brew.
My guest’s 7” pizza proved to be a good-sized portion of cheese-covered goodness. Baked until the edges were golden brown, the pizza was covered with plenty of sausage and mushrooms as well as cheese. He ended up taking half of it home.
Ordering the hummus was a good call. As a bit of a hummus snob, I can discern a good hummus from a really good hummus. The red-pepper hummus was spiced to perfection and the portion was on the larger size with plenty of pita. The appetizer would have been an appropriate size to start off a table of four.
One guest told Patch, "We order salami-pepperoni and Middlefield Ohio cheeses with a bottle of Santa Margherita. Sitting on their patio on Friday afternoons enjoying the Pinot Grigio cheese is our weekly guilty pleasure."
Curry showed off an impressive list of California wines. While the restaurant has a sizable bar area and makes specialty drinks, a separate area provides seating for those looking to share a bottle of wine. Thanks to recently amended laws, Stop 45 can reseal an unfinished bottle of wine and send it home with patrons, making a nice bottle of Chardonnay a good call.
Food and drink aside, patrons will enjoy the surprisingly large space the restaurant offers. The front room boasts a beautiful fireplace that Curry said will have arranged seating near it once the cold settles in. Low, warm lighting create a more intimate setting than one would expect from the outside and a well-crafted bar area is just the place to settle in and catch a game or gather with friends.