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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Quaker Steak and Lube - Sharon, PA. / The Lube is Back

On the banks of the Shenango River in beautiful downtown Sharon, Pa. you will find the ever famous and infamous Quaker Steak and Lube. Starting out in 1974 in a converted garage with the goal of preserving the golden age of American muscle cars, it has since expanded into a major franchise operation with restaurants all through the United States. But the original “Lube” is little changed over the past 36 years.

When we moved back to the area in 1975, it was THE hot spot to frequent. In addition to the wings, ribs and burger operation in the converted garage, the owners ran two other restaurants surrounding the common parking lot, one of them heavy on the seafood offerings. Sunday and holiday buffets became the norm, and I spent numerous New Years Eves driving to and from Sharon to celebrate with my friends. It was a different time and place, and a lot of fun.

The Lube operation now concentrates on its bread and butter items…wings, ribs, burgers, onion rings and all sorts of sauce accompaniments. It is cholesterol heaven. Don’t be surprised if the food police raids the joint during your dinner. Get those hot wings with a Lipitor chaser!!! And if you go for lunch, you have a lunch buffet offering burgers and hot dogs, wings, and selected other items for those who are in a rush or simply want to chow down.

Here’s the skinny. For years, the Lube had the best wings in town. Then I don’t know what happened. The wings got skimpy. If they put a sauce on them, you couldn’t tell. The steaks were tough. The ribs were all bone. I noticed it a little bit in Sharon. I noticed it a lot in the Austintown operation. I tried once, twice, and three strikes you’re out. I stopped going there, and gave the Austintown restaurant a bum review.

Then a friend of mine suggested we meet at the Austintown restaurant for some conversation, and I decided to go. I ordered some wings…and wow…they were pretty good; much, much improved. Then I had the occasion to be in Sharon on business with my son (OK, we were going to Kraynaks for Christmas lights), and we stopped in the Sharon restaurant for lunch…and wow again…the food was much improved. What happened?

I don’t know, but the wings were big and plump; the sandwiches bountiful; and there was meat on the ribs. Maybe they saw the light and took my recommendation. I would rather pay a dollar or so more for something worth eating, than completely blow a lesser amount for something that is not. And…and this is important…there was actually sauce on the wings; not some skimpy drops at the bottom of a paper lined basket.

I am thrilled to death that the Lube is back. The miserable ta-da girl who greeted us there before has been replaced by someone actually smiling and genuinely glad to see you. During our visit the manager actually walked around asking if everything was alright. The wait staff was just outstandingly friendly and helpful…both in Sharon and Austintown.

My cholesterol level and aversion to the fried foods that I love but don’t love me back may keep my visits to the Lube to less than I would like, but Quaker Steak and Lube is back on the list. Hey, could you pass me some more blue cheese dressing for the wings?

A much improved 3 1/2 meatballs!

Quaker Steak and Lube
101 Chestnut Street
Sharon, PA 16146(
724) 981-WING (9464)
(724) 981-7221