I accompanied the husband to an overnight trip to Wapakoneta, OH this week. I was teasing him for being clingy and not wanting to sleep a night alone, but in the end, I was the one more enthused to join him.
Our flight from Newark was quick, as we were thoroughly entertained by a United Express flight attendant. So calling United Airlines! Whoever was manning flight UA 4186 last 21 March, give her a big hug and lots of commendations because she was absolutely caring and doting to each and everyone. That is not an exaggeration.
We arrived in Dayton International Airport a little after 6pm. We weren’t sure how far Wapakoneta was, but GPS said it’s about an hour from Dayton. Whenever we’re travelling, I try to find a local favorite to eat at. Top of the search was J. Marie’s Wood-Fired Kitchen & Drinks.
The restaurant interior was very impressive, like straight out of prohibition with a modern twist. It wasn’t one of those over-the-top hipster places. It was just a local hangout, with pieces of history all over the place.
The open kitchen was far at the back, far enough from customers to not smell like the food they’re cooking. But the highlight would have to be the wood-burning ovens. Large and imposing, they were wonderfully aged and situated in a spot enough to be recognized but tucked away from service traffic. Funny though, we didn’t really end up ordering their pizzas. With the long drive, we ended up quite hungry.
The menu is quite simple. I wish though that they highlighted the items that are cooked in the ovens. I mean, it is in their name, might as well capitalize on it. We can’t really leave our joy for sriracha chicken wings so we had to have that. It came with a side of red cabbage slaw and some dip that we forgot to ask about. I think it’s ranch.
The wings are tasty but absolutely not spicy. For me, that was a letdown since I was looking forward to that kick. It favored the husband very much since he’s been getting heart burns each time he eats spicy food. But he looked for the kick too. We saw that the wings were bathed in its sriracha sauce in the oven, so I guess that’s the closest dish we ever got to experience from that baby.
Our main course was the flank steak, medium rare like always. It came with the vegetable of the day (cauliflower) and potatoes with bacon and crumbled bleu cheese. Needless to say, it hit the spot so well. We asked for the chimichurri on the side, and that was a good decision. If you’re tired and hungry, you want just the essentials. I did have a bite or two with a pat of the chimichurri and it was good. It’s just that the meat was good on its own.
I looooooved the potatoes. But then, you must remember I love cheese. Having the crumbles tickled my fancy. However, the husband found the cheese overwhelming. With the fat and salt from the bacon and the potatoes obviously seasons, the melted crumbles of bleu cheese brought the side dish over the top to salty. He still finished it though, but not without pointing that out.
We refreshed ourselves with fountain soda (him) and the J. Marie signature lemonade. THAT WAS ABSOLUTELY REFRESHING. The tartness and the hint of strawberry… OH WOW. I just loved it. If I had more space in my tummy, I would have ordered another glass.
When we arrived at J. Marie’s, there was something going on, something that I’ve missed doing with my friends: QUIZ NIGHT. FRIGGIN’ QUIZ NIGHT WITH SERIOUS CATEGORIES LIKE ACTORS/PEOPLE WITH THE NAME ED, BEN/MATT COLLABS AND FIVE-SECOND NAME-THAT-TUNE NUMBERS. I swear I was thrilled. It made time waiting for the food easily fly by and I mean really fly. I didn’t even notice that we were waiting. For those who want to join, it’s every Tuesday night. I’m not sure when it starts as it is sponsored by a group of DJs, but it’s definitely a must-see or must-participate. Seeing Wapakonitans (is that right?) bringing their game faces on that night was a real treat.
It was a great night spent at J. Marie’s. Looking back now, I do wish we had tried the margherita pizza or one of their burgers. But a classic steak can’t fail you, especially when it comes with a side of potatoes, cheese and bacon.
Here’s the full menu as of 21 March 2017:
J. Marie’s Wood-Fired Kitchen & Grill
7 W Auglaize Street
Wapakoneta, OH 45895