Lisska Bar and Grill: Crossed off My Bucket List
Posted by cmh gourmand on July 10, 2015
For the last two years, on my way to Actual Brewing and over the last year on my way to pick up tools at the tool library (worst name ever, Rebuilding Together Central Ohio) I have passed by a bar that looks lost out of time. Lisska Bar and Grill probably looked ancient when it was a day old. From the outside, it looks like a neighborhood joint one might find in the hills of Pittsburgh or the east side of Cleveland. It is old and battered now, like the neighborhood it resides in.
In my mind, I envisioned the inside to look like the Nick’s bar (a bizarro Martini’s, from the alternate universe of a world without George Bailey) of It’s a Wonderful Life, with people slumped over tables with empty shot glasses and empty eyes. In spite of that vision, I still had a nagging interest in the place. In June, Lenny Kolada from Smokehouse Brewing shared that he spent part of his birthday at Lisska enjoying a $3 burger with his wife Joan. That sealed the deal for me. The place had food as well so I had to check it out.
I finally made it. It was what I expected and maybe more than I expected. It is definitely a beat up place. It features a large area to sell lottery tickets. Next to that is an old, old bar with a lot of booze piled on the back shelves. The bottles do not look like they move much but the frosty cans of Bud Light look like they do not linger long in the cooler. Sliding down that sight line, is an old grill area that efficiently churns out what you see below.
Intermixed among these areas are some bits and pieces of furniture one might expect to see at a third hand flea market. There are some Polish themed jokes, a pencil sketch of an ancestor or grandfather of the proprietors in a 19th century Austrian uniform showcasing a sharpshooters medal and a long, narrow photo of an amateur football team from 1933. The place has a lot of character. The characters that come through the door come for the wisecracks as an entrée and the food as a side. The customers are mostly long in the tooth and have probably been coming here since it opened decades ago. Listening to the banter going back and forth from the counter is well worth an investment of time to walk through the door and linger a while. And the food, is not bad and reasonably priced. The standouts seem to be the homemade desserts (pies, spice cake and cookies were spotted) as wells as soups and chili.