A friend of mine posted a picture on Facebook of himself feeding his face at a place called The Blue Canyon Kitchen and Tavern in Twinsburg prior to going “to a show.” I don’t know where one goes to a show in Twinsburg, but nonetheless I was intrigued by the name, and the fact I didn’t know it was there. I pretty much have heard of most restaurants in Ohio’s own four corners region…where Cuyahoga, Summit, Portage and Geauga Counties meet, one of the most beautiful areas in the state. We visit there a lot.
So I dutifully googled it, and what to my wondering eyes did appear but a web site filled with all sorts of wonderful things. Actually, I didn’t know what to make of it. Kind of lodge-y, west-y and for some reason doesn’t belong here-y…you get my drift. But it takes reservations, which is always a plus the weekend before Valentine’s Day. I decided to give it a go this past Friday night.
The weather outside was frightful, in Boston. It was overcast and with some snow showers here. But with the longer days…what the hey! It was dark as we approached the restaurant. As I got off I-480 at Exit 36 and looked to my left, I saw a slight blue hew. The electric blue lights got brighter and brighter the closer we got. As we drove in front of the restaurant we were blinded by electric blue lights. Wow!
I repeat the wow. It takes a lot to impress me when it comes to food and restaurants. From the minute you approach it on a rather pedestrian commercial street behind the Cracker Barrel next to the freeway, it is truly wow. I said wow when I drove up to the building. I said wow when I drove around the back of the building to the entrance. I said wow with valet parking. I said wow when I walked into the place. I said wow at the friendly greeting when we walked through the door. I said wow when the lady came up and asked if she could take our coats.
Somebody spent some bucks on this place and you can see every penny. It is a lodge style building perched on a hill landscaped to the nines. It looks like they even built the hill!!! There are electric blue LED lights all over the place. The driveway goes up the hill around the back. By the main entrance is complimentary valet parking with some very friendly and very cold guys doing the work.
Go through the doors you are met by a bevy of ta-da girls…but they were friendly and looked genuinely glad to see you. They have a coat check and they take your coats for you. Then you get to walk into this huge facility. It is done in lodge chic. To the right is an outstanding bar with a fireplace plus lots of dinner seating. Go into the restaurant proper there are two large dining rooms separated by a floor to ceiling open fireplace. The first is called the “kitchen”. It is one of the open kitchen concept places. The room toward the front of the building is called the lodge and has windows overlooking…well the freeway…but with all of the landscaping giving it some depth. Ceilings are high, and it is acoustically perfect with just enough background noise and music to make it interesting and just quiet enough so you can have a normal conversation. There are oodles of booths all around the place, all of which seem to be designed to seat 6 – 8 people, which is kind of neat.
Blue Canyon is billed as a moderately priced restaurant, which by any definition from Youngstown means pricey. The menu is semi ala carte. Meals come with an entrée and pre-selected sides to match the main event. Meals are in the $18.00-$28.00 range. Salads are extra with a side salad at $5.00. Drink prices are moderately high, with a basic Riesling at $9.00, but other interesting cocktails coming in at $7.00 - $8.00. But outside of Youngstown, and at some places in Youngstown, this is the new normal… and we should revolt.
The menu itself is limited…and I am surprised by how limited it is. But the choices are interesting, and the appetizers are terrific. We tried the iron skillet cheese bake and it was outstanding and large enough to serve four or more. For dinner my wife had salmon (with a root beer glaze) and she commented it was one of the best salmon entrees she has had in a long time. I had the grilled sirloin with the restaurant’s own steak sauce. It was perfectly done. Sides included green beans actually cooked the way they should be. My mashed potatoes were filled with parmesan and bacon and were really good. My wife’s mashed potatoes were somewhat plainer but just as good.
I read in other reviews that the service here was so-so. Couldn’t prove it by me!!! The young man who waited our table deserves a raise. I wish I could take him with me to the other places we eat.
I said Blue Canyon has a wow factor, and I mean that in every sense of the word. There is nothing about it I didn’t like, and lots and lots that I did. It is at the top of my list of places to go again. I have kind of held my meatball awards in abeyance as I really haven’t been any place I wanted to award meatballs. If my next visit is as good as this one was, this will be a five meatballer for sure!!!
(By the way, this is a chain of three restaurants...with the other two locations in Montana. If anyone can tell me how this gem of a place ended up 50 minutes from my house in Canfield let me know!!)
The Blue Canyon Kitchen and Tavern
Reservations recommended by phone or online at Open Table