When Germantown Craft House suddenly closed in December, owners Beau Kerley and Pat Hagan had a plan: to reopen the restaurant with a more laid-back approach and more affordable pricing.
Contending that the new restaurant had “cannibalized” the original Craft House in Crescent Hill, the plan was to open a fast-casual concept called The Devil’s Due that focused on smoked meats. That plan was scrapped as well, leading to the opening Jan. 23 of Goss Ave. Pub.
With paper menus, along with a chalkboard version near the bar area, the focus has gone from Southern-inspired entrees in the $15-$20 range to quality pub food with most everything coming in at less than $10.
The interior of the place hasn’t changed a lot, but the approach certainly has — even the Facebook page is adorned with a neon Falls City Beer sign, perhaps welcoming in the Germantown neighbors who remember when that was the definitive hometown beer.
I stopped in for dinner with my girlfriend Cynthia on a Saturday night to find the place not full but still active. Once exclusively craft beers from the region, the 50 taps now pour a blend of local, craft beers from here, there and everywhere, and mass-market beers as well. Heck, they even have Hudepohl and Miller High Life on draft. Anything goes.
The menu is succinct, with a couple of bar snacks, a couple of salads, some soup, and several sandwiches. There’s even a “pick two” option for $6.95 if you want to dine on the cheap. On the day I was there, the dinner special was a third of a rack of ribs and two sides for $12.95 — not a bad deal.
We started with buffalo chicken dip, which was served with pretzel crisps in plastic, recyclable containers, emphasizing the laid-back approach. Heck, even our ice water came in clear plastic Solo cups.
The dip was a thick consistency, with chunks of chicken ranging from marble sized to nearly golf ball size. The dip had good buffalo sauce flavor and moderate heat. It made for a solid bar snack, and it paired well with my Falls City Hipster Repellant IPA.
For her dinner, Cynthia chose the pulled pork sandwich with cheesy corn bake as her side. I opted for a fried cod sandwich with a side of french fries.
Our food came out just as we were finishing up the dip, and was served on metal trays lined with plain brown paper — no frills. Both sandwiches were visually appealing, which is always a good start. Cynthia’s ample pork sandwich was topped with thick slices of bread-and-butter pickles and thin slices of red onion.
The sandwich was solid, although we both noticed a lack of smoke flavor — definitely designed for the less adventurous palate. At one point, she also was disappointed to find a sizeable chunk of bark-covered fat, which is not her thing.
Of course, she quickly placed it on my tray, which made me a happy diner, albeit at her expense. Still, she fell in love with Kentucky Dip, a vinegar-based sauce that was one of six on the table.
She also gave high grades to the cheesy corn bake, which is exactly what you think it is: cheese-drenched corn. It was indeed tasty and had a favorable consistency — as in, not mushy.
“Cheese and corn are really good together,” Cynthia surmised. “If you think about it, that’s what a Dorito is.”
My fried cod sandwich also was solid, a thick crust with a minimum of grease and clean, flaky fish. It was served on thick rye bread along with a side of chunky house-made tartar sauce, which was quite delicious and fresh. It even added an element of crunch to the sandwich.
Halfway through the meal, my bread gave way to the sauce and slowly seeping grease, leaving me to finish with a fork. No complaints on that, just a note to keep napkins on hand.
The fries were shoestring cut and skin-on, fried crispy. Also a solid accompaniment, although not quite as tasty as the cheesy corn. But kudos to Goss Ave. Pub for having Louisiana Style Hot Sauce on the table, which I prefer over ketchup.
The menu also has stuff like wings, burgoo, a burger, a jumbo beef hot dog, a chicken sandwich, and even a couple of vegan items, including a “Not Dog.”
The Powerhouse Salad looks like an intriguing item as well, if that’s your thing. And if fries, coleslaw and baked beans don’t get it done for you on the side, others include cucumber salad, braised greens and roasted spaghetti squash.
All in all, the service was friendly and efficient, the food was solid, and the atmosphere was laid-back as promised — and we only spent around $30 once we each had a beer with our dinners. Not necessarily a destination place, but certainly a place I wouldn’t mind having in my neighborhood.
Goss Ave. Pub, located at 1030 Goss Ave., is open Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to midnight, and Sunday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.