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Otto’s Pub and Brewery

Vegetarian Chili

Here I am, forced by a new listing on Happy Cow into finally reviewing my favorite watering hole. Who better to review Otto’s Pub and Brewery for Happy Cow than a vegetarian Pub Club member? I have hesitated to do so because, although the times I have spent at Otto’s are most enjoyable, it falls short as a vegetarian dining experience.

In just a couple of weeks Otto’s will celebrate the first anniversary of its bold move to a bigger location. It has paid off in some ways but a lot was lost in and around the time of the move. The cozy, sometimes crowded, wooden pub was left behind for not one but two huge bars. The main, Arthur’s Bar, snakes around the one dining area that has a few high top tables and booths that line the windows. The overflow, Otto’s Bar, is open during the busiest times for bands and Firkin Fridays. Gone are the days of literally rubbing elbows with everyone you did(n’t) want to raise a glass with. Now, if you so choose, you can be nearly invisible, down one of the many excellently crafted micro brews (filtered with isinglass, I presume), and exit into the ample parking area before anyone you know can make it around to slap you on the back and buy you one.

Nachos no Black Bean Ragout but finally heated

Prior to the big move, Otto’s would have seasonal menu changes and with each came the excitement of what new vegetarian creations Chef Tim would be adding. I fondly remember the Helles Battered Tofu that went perfectly with a side of Asian Slaw. Appetizers of the past like the Hummus Plate or (for lacto-vegetarians) Cheese & Fruit Platter are but distant memories.

Tiny Bruschetta

As reflected in my End of Summer mini review or Soups & Suds, you can get an idea that I have eaten plenty of times at Otto’s and have a history there.

The new location is decidedly family friendly with some thirsty parents not bothering to get a table for their kiddos but having them sit at the bar with them. Note to those patrons, a bar stool not the most comfortable place for someone under 5′ to sit and eat. I am under 5′, when I am at the bar, I drink – if I really want to eat, I get a table.

Veggie Quesadilla, one of 4 slices

The Wi-Fi has been really reliable since late July and it even reaches out to the cute patio area. There is a vast lobby and gift area to wait if you come at a high traffic time and plenty of seating so the wait is never all that bad. The new large screened tvs in all 3 dining areas always have a variety of sports to watch. The back dining area, best suited for families in my opinion, allows you a great view of the wood fired pizzas being made.

Gladly, they have more than settled and as of March 2012 have added multiple vegetarian and vegan specials every Wednesdays. Read the updated review here and let it be known Otto’s is much more vegtarian friendly because of their efforts.
At the time of the original review, I could go back and forth on the good and the bad longer than a Wimbledon tennis match. They have a veggie burger (good) but don’t offer it in the “Quick Lunch Menu #4” even though it says any style burger (bad). They have regular veggie options (good) but they aren’t clearly marked as you try to sort them out on the vast menu (bad). The wait staff is attentive and friendly (really good) but they can’t always get information from the kitchen if a special is vegetarian (really bad). The new brunch items have a vegetarian option (good but not if you are vegan) but were poorly prepared (bad, not grilled as described and important veggie ingredients missing). Otto’s has had plenty of time to settle into the new digs.

Winner Pennsyltucky Veggie Awards 2011 Best Veggie Burger.

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