I’ve written about O’Reilly’s before to acclaim their burgers and heap on accolades about the wings. I also wrote about a Clintonville cocktail I tried to invent with some inspiration from O’Reilly’s and I’ve mentioned a few epiphanies that occurred in the booths there.
Although O’Reillys has been around just over thirty years and I’m a life long Clintonvillian I’m a late comer to the place, having only started visiting ten years ago. I found a post from 2011 where I mention an awareness of their daily specials but it has only been recently that I started to explore them. The daily specials are offered Labor Day through Memorial Day and are posted on a board weekly. The specials are offered Monday to Saturday and change each week. The only constant I have noticed so far is the presence of the two chili dogs and chips. This is offered one day each week with the day changing each week. Other specials I have seen, but not quite weekly include: stuffed green pepper soup, tuna noodle casserole, meatloaf with mashed potatoes and veggies (vegetables at O’Reilly’s are typically canned green beans or canned corn), Sloppy Joes, Meatball Sub and Chili Mac with a side salad and roll. There are other specials to choose from as well. All are priced well under $8.
During the summer the specials disappear but Tuna and Egg Salad return. I’m still deep in my investigation of the daily specials but initial research has been promising. Something not related to the food but equally important is the vibe. Enjoying one of these meals, especially at lunch time reminds of the community feeling that I experienced when Cindy King was still with us serving Chicken and Noodles, with a side of commentary and advice from behind the counter at Nancy’s. There are regulars that come to experience a “family” meal with the staff and other regulars. Many of the recipes at O’Reilly’s have a back story.
Many of the recipes are based on what was on the menu at placed called Tangos, which was popular in the 70’s/80’s, the recipe for tuna salad came from Cindy King’s mom, the “crack sauce” for the sweet potato fries was passed along by Tim Lessner from Tip Top Kitchen and Cocktails. Most of the staff has stories are well, many have been there for decades and many knew Marty, the owner, when then they were kids. There is a lot of history at O’Reilly’s and it is just not on the walls, it is in the relationships among those that work there.
There are two of the specials I’ve tried during my research to date, the first is meatloaf with mashed potatoes, corn and a roll.
The second special is chili macaroni with a salad and roll.
I’ve also branched out (a bit) on my exploration of the regular menu. The two most noteworthy items are the chicken tenders and the Italian Sub. The chicken tenders have never disappointed me. They are always substantial and while a choice of sauces are available, the best option is buffalo sauce paired with a side of blue cheese. As for the subs, Mrs. Gourmand fancies herself an expert on subs and this is one of her favorite in Columbus (the best for her so far seems to be at Thurman’s, while I’m still inclined towards Susie’s Sub Shop). The O’Reilly’s sub adheres to all of the rules for a good submarine sandwich: the bun is toasted, the meat is grilled, the ingredients are ample and there is just enough crunch to the bread and the cheese.
One final note, O’Reilly’s finally has a local craft beer on tap, Brass Knuckle Pale Ale from Four String Brewing. I’m looking forward to seeing more local beer on the draft menu there. As for what to do in between bites. The Galaga video game I mentioned in a previous post is gone but there is still plenty to entertain guests. There is always the option to people watch as well as a mix of board games and a few books including The Complete Irish Pub Cookbook. You won’t see any of those recipes on the menu but you will experience the feel of an Irish Pub at O’Reilly’s.
I hope that I have given you at least one reason, if not more to give O’Reilly’s a visit.