The pie’s the limit

South Park Tavern: pizza, wings and other things

By Paula Johnson

Photo: Pepperoni pizza at South Park Tavern

Recently I got together for a girls-just-wanna-have-fun lunch with DCP Editor Extraordinaire Sarah and Wanda Woman, aka She Who Rides Herd On Us All. It was a Friday, the workweek’s end, and we were a hungry lunch bunch looking to munch on some good pizza, bar food and beer. (Before returning to the office to work really super hard for the rest of the day in case someone higher up might be reading this.) Our requirements were the above mentioned, plus wings. For Sarah, always wings.

So off to South Park Tavern our merry band did go in search of all those things at this casual friendly bar, a place where we could wind down before winding up the rest of the day. Located on Wayne Avenue in Dayton, South Park is noted for a good selection of craft beer, plus a reputation for decent, made from scratch pizza dough. Live music is featured in the evenings, with the beer taps mounted on a large wooden guitar behind the cozy bar.

South Park Tavern’s menu features a variety of sandwiches and salads. Most interesting is the South Park Signature Sub with various Italian meats and cheeses and house made sub dressing ($7.99), and the Cubano ($7.99). Their take on the Cuban sandwich is intriguing with the addition of what South Park calls their own mojo sauce made with traditional Cuban spices. I look forward to trying those on a future visit but on this day it was all pizza. But first, some beer.

The ale’s have it

South Park Tavern’s beer and ale list is updated daily on their Facebook page, and the website BeerAdvocate has a South Park Tavern profile featuring information about the beers they’re serving. Wanda Woman squealed with delight when she spotted her favorite Ace Pineapple Ale. As Sarah mused about the Hoppin’ Frog Hollow Double Pumpkin Ale, our efficient server offered a taste to settle her choice. We both found Wanda Woman’s Pineapple to be a little too lollipop tasting, but when I tasted Sarah’s sample I ordered the Pumpkin Ale too. We were off to a fine start with drinks so it was time to try some appetizers.

Half-baked

If I had read carefully the description of the Loaded Tavern Fries ($7.99) I would have skipped them. That’s because these fries, though topped with cheddar cheese, red onion, tomatoes, bacon and banana peppers, with salsa and sour cream on the side, were baked. No. Just no. They were reminiscent of the fries you get in a TV dinner, with that pasty dry odd baked flavor. French fries which are not fried are not fries. It’s like white chocolate. Be honest. That is not chocolate and those were not fries. Same deal with the jalapeño poppers ($5.69). They were baked as well, and would have greatly benefitted from a dip in some hot oil. South Park’s website proudly proclaims they deep-fry nothing. While admirable, I would suggest they eliminate foods from their menu that cry out to be fried.

Winging it

But all was not lost. Sarah’s wings arrived with spicy garlic wing sauce on the advice of our server. A long list of sauces is available including Cajun, Baja, Asian, Italian and Cowboy BBQ to name a few. We ordered six for $5.49, and could easily have eaten more. While not overly garlicky or spicy, the sauce had an almost curry like flavor profile with notes of cumin. Our resident wing aficionado was smiling.

Upper crust

We decided on two 9-inch pies to share, one traditional pepperoni and one from the specialty gourmet pizza menu, The Cheeseburger Pizza. All pizzas come in 12-inch, 14-inch or 16-inch sizes as well. The menu states that the dough is hand tossed and made fresh daily, and indeed we found this to be pretty good pizza crust. Our favorite was the traditional pepperoni—good slightly sweet sauce topped with ample cheese.

The cheeseburger pizza was topped with ground beef, onion, tomato, pickle, bacon, ketchup and mustard sauce, and cheese. We all liked it, but wished the ketchup and mustard sauce was more like a big mac sauce (and maybe top the pie off with some toasted sesame seeds for a little extra zing). This pizza was a good effort, and it left me wanting to try some of the other gourmet choices like the Rueben, Santa Fe, or Chicken Cordon Bleu on my next visit.

So did girls have fun that Friday afternoon at South Park Tavern? Yes, they did, and arrived back at the office fortified and ready to finish another productive workday. All agreed that it wouldn’t be a half bad idea to make South Park Tavern a regular thing to sample another slice and some more wings. And beer and ale!

South Park Tavern is located at 1301 Wayne Ave. in Dayton. For more information, please call 937.586.9526 or visit southparktavern.com.

Dayton City Paper Dining Critic Paula Johnson would like every meal to start with a champagne cocktail and end with chocolate soufflé. As long as there’s a greasy burger and fries somewhere in the middle. Talk food with Paula at PaulaJohnson@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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Dayton City Paper Dining Critic Paula Johnson would like every meal to start with a champagne cocktail and end with chocolate soufflé. As long as there’s a greasy burger and fries somewhere in the middle. Talk food with Paula at PaulaJohnson@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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