The happy unexpected is always something my spouse and I appreciate on our travels, especially when it comes to food. The Firefly Grill In Effingham, IL (which I wrote about here) definitely qualifies, as does Sandusky’s Small City Taphouse and its combo of sushi and craft beer.
As a matter of course, I have gotten familiar with the usual haunts my wife’s side of the family frequents on a regular basis. It’s easy to expect the typical with any eatery out in the rural parts of Ohio, but when it comes to Fremont, the seat of Sandusky County, a nice surprise awaits if you drop by Van Ness’s Time Out Sports Bar.
Known as Time Out to the locals, the sports bar/restaurant opened in 1992 and is most decidedly a family affair, being co-owned by Dean Van Ness and his parents Dennis and Joan (who ran the food operation as a catering business for a quarter-century prior.) The bar has all the requisite decades worth of sports memorabilia from Fremont and surrounding areas on its walls, but doesn’t ape the traditional multi-screen and overbearingly loud sports bar model. It’s a model that many (including my wife and I) can really appreciate.
Yes, you can get the typical bar grub within Time Out, and if you do, you’ll almost be certainly satisfied with your order, whether you pick out the wings (the barbecued ones seem to be most popular with the locals), burgers and sandwiches, and freshwater fish like perch and walleye prepared in any number of ways.
And it would be easy to keep it at that level, except the folks here don’t - sous vide aren’t words you’d normally associate with a rural Ohio bar, but you’ll find those two words on occasion featured on the menu.
Other more refined touches like a roasted garlic and Parmesan asparagus topping for your burger, or the wildly popular Hot Garlic Parmesan Boneless Chicken Fingers, or the various gourmet style soups make appearances throughout the year. Many of these creative creations feature numerous local food producers such as Polter’s Farm, Frank’s Kraut, and Roots Chicken.
|The highly popular Hot Garlic Parmesan Chicken Fingers (above) and |
a little bit of the more refined with the Roasted Squash
Add in some live music events and the welcoming vibe that comes often with a family-run institution, and you've got plenty of reason to stop by for a bite and a brew if you find yourself in the city best known as the home of former President Rutherford B. Hayes.
Van Ness's Time Out Sports Bar
2004 Lake St. (Google Maps)
Fremont, OH 43420
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