Having a go-to neighborhood hangout — somewhere you can go for good service, good food and good people — is a must. In Rocky River, that was the Beachcliff Tavern for many residents before it closed in 2018.
Friends and business partners Brian Vesy, Bryan Metzger, Bill Mosier and Greg Carlin took a chance on the space reinventing it as Old River Tap and Social in July 2020 hoping to recapture that communal vibe. While you’ll find a smattering of classic bar food alongside elevated takes such as golden beet hummus and barbecue burnt ends, there’s more than meets the eye.
Executive chef Victor deAnda covers a lot on the plentiful menu — there’s even brisket and wagyu steak. The social fries ($10.64) are made for sharing with layers of lardon (a nugget of bacon that’s delicious), cheese sauce and crispy onions for a poutine-like experience.
Where deAnda really shows his hand is with the entrees such as the chicken paprikash ($17.48), a dish you won’t find in many bars. But here, it’s loaded with tender house-made spaetzle and juicy pieces of smoked chicken. Even the Old River Burger ($14.64) is a study in creativity. Almost too much for one bite, the combination of thick-cut bacon, fried egg, pepper jack cheese, crispy onions and a house-made steak sauce is a beautiful mess of flavor and textures.
With a top-notch beer list, ample seating and tasty eats, this is bound to be your new weekend spot. 19245 Detroit Road, Rocky River, 440-857-0399, oldrivertapandsocial.com