Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Foli's Place. Go There.

"You could have eaten at your place, but we are glad to have you at ours," and isn't that the truth about a neighborhood bar and restaurant? So claim the owners of Foli's Place (on Brinton Road right near the Wilkinsburg exit of 376 in Braddock Hills), a bar and restaurant that is actually one of the places that I am going to miss the most when we move ahhhht of Edgewood this week. Fortunately I work quite close, so I will still be able to enjoy its offerings from time to time.

Eight years ago when I started going to Foli's to gather for happy hour(s) with coworkers, I rarely tried more than one or two items on the restaurant menu. You know how happy hour(s) go... they are more about the "socializing" and less about the eating. Albeit, the few things that I had tried were delicious. Then, two and a half years ago when JTP and I moved within a few blocks of Foli's, we started going more regularly weekly for dinner (meaning, we went whenever I didn't feel like cooking), which provided me with an opportunity to try nearly everything on the restaurant menu. We prefer to sit at the bar*, but it's perfectly enjoyable to eat in the casual dining area too.

As for the interior, Foli's is as authentic as a local bar should be with beer taps lining the wall, Pens and Steelers banners flying, a cooler of sixers waiting to be purchased, and a juke box readily available to blast ahhhht some tunes. However, Foli's has some personal touches and a big fireplace in the dining room that add a definite homey touch to the local bar-esque atmosphere.
What's a local joint withahhht Pens and Steelers decorations? Not a local joint! 
So, after eight years of eating Foli's food, here are the restaurant menu items that I find to be the best:
  • Monster Mess ($7.95, corned beef, swiss, lettuce, tomato, coleslaw, and fries on fresh Italian bread), which is my favorite menu item. It's a take on the traditional Pittsburgh-style sandwich; in my opinion, it's better than big-name rival Primanti Brothers' corned beef version. It's true that I will eat corned beef just about anywhere that serves it, but I do think that it's important to know the good stuff when I taste it. This is the good stuff. 
  • White Pizza ($13.95 for small and $18.95 for large; garlic olive oil sauce, tomatoes, mozzarella and Italian seasonings), which is my second favorite menu item, and absolute favorite white pizza in Pittsburgh. Here's a hint that I stole from my friend DJP: ask for it "extra crispy." Check ahhhht Pittsburgh Magazine's mention of this notable pie: "25 Superb Pittsburgh Pizzas".
  • Pizza with pepperoni and hot peppers ($9.95 for a 6-cut small and $11.95 for a 12-cut large with a charge for additional toppings) that JTP and I order regularly. The crust is on the thinner side, and the red sauce complements the cheese and toppings nicely. It's hard to eat just a few slices and we think that this pie is worth the higher cost. We promise. 
  • Sirloin Steak Salad ($10.95; 6 oz. steak; sauteed mushrooms, onions, and green peppers; fries; tomatoes; and cukes), which is what I most commonly order these days. Sometimes I forego the cheese and fries so that I can really enjoy the sauteed mushrooms, onions, and green peppers with the steak (I prefer a pink middle). For dressing, I go with either Foli's "house" balsamic vinaigrette or peppercorn ranch. 
  • Onion Rings ($3.95) that are thick cut, lightly battered, and deep-fried to crispy goodness... perfect with a beer. 
  • Famous Fresh Cut Fries ($1.95 for small, $3.95 for large) that are the closest thing to Kennywood's Potato Patch Fries that I've found locally... also perfect with a beer (and some Heinz, of course). 
  • Teriyaki wings (6 for $4.95, 12 for $9.95, 24 for $18.95) that are a bit pricey for wings, but the quality is a solid return for your investment... sweet and tangy flavor, meaty, and crispy. 
  • Green Beans ($1.95), which I usually get as a side with my wings. This is weird I know, but these beans are fresh and sauteed in garlic and olive oil for just long enough to maintain the perfect firmness.
  • Breadsticks ($3.50), which are a perfect complement to a salad and ideal for sharing. I've actually heard my friend BGM yell about how much she likes these! 
  • Handmade Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Sandwiches ($4.95 each). This needs no explanation because Foli's had me at "handmade chocolate chip ice cream sandwiches." 
Foli's also has weekly food specials, and JTP was a frequent flyer on Pasta Night (Tuesdays).

(3 stars, 3/4)

Foli's Place on Urbanspoon

*If you are sitting at the bar on an average night, there's a very high chance that you will run into Dick Groat and Bill Hillgrove. This of course makes eavesdropping perfectly acceptable. Also, all of the bartenders are great, but Lisa is our favorite.

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