***Disclosure: I received absolutely no compensation for this review. I simply wanted to share an awesome experience and let all my NE OH friends know where they can go for great food and a rocking good time. All opinions are 100% honest and have not been influenced in any way.***
Anyone who knows me in real life is well aware of the fact that music has been a huge part of my life ever since I was a toddler. Some of my earliest memories are listening to my Dad's band practice tapes in the car and learning about great bands like The Doors, Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, and lesser known (but equally amazing) artists like Todd Rundgren, Yngwie Malmsteen, The Band, and Dream Theater. And of course, I often got to sit in on band practices, which was always really cool. Now, of course, I am old enough to be allowed into the establishments where my Dad plays, so I can be a real life groupie.
Being the child of a musician definitely had it's perks, that's for sure. I was exposed to music of all genres and eras, and I gained a huge appreciation for the arts. I sing, play guitar and piano, and it seems my whole life has had a "soundtrack". My favorite music? Technically, I like it all. My music collection looks like that of a schitzophrenic. I may be giving away my age here just a wee bit, but I have always loved hard rock, metal, and old-school hair bands. (Right now I am pretty obsessed with Sonata Arctica, but that's another post entirely.)
When Dan and I moved back to my hometown in Ohio last year, we were thrilled to learn that one of my favorite musicians not only comes from the Akron area, he actually owned an awesome restaurant and live music venue called Ripper Owens Tap House. (Yes, THAT Ripper Owens!) Sadly, we were only able to visit once before they closed. The food was awesome, though, and the crowd was friendly.
A few months ago, a little birdie on Facebook told me that Tim "Ripper" Owens would be opening a new, amped-up venue in another location. Needless to say, Dan and I were thrilled and patiently awaited the grand opening, which just happened to be a couple of weeks ago. (Yay!)
Tonight, we had the pleasure of visiting the brand new Ripper Owens Rock House located in Akron, Ohio. Even though it's a Monday and the place was anything but crowded, we had a blast, and I'd love to share our experience with you.
Who is Tim "Ripper" Owens ?
Well, to put it plainly, he's a Rock God. No, really. He is. Trust me here. Plus, he's from Ohio, which automatically makes him awesome. (Okay, I'm biased.) Anyway,Tim Ripper Owens has worked with some of the most influential names in the music business. Most notably, he took over lead vocals of Judas Priest after Rob Halford left the band.
He has also worked with one of the greatest guitarists in the world, Yngwie Malmsteen. If you have not heard of this Swedish sensation, check him out on YouTube. This man has some of the fastest fingers ever, and can really rock a guitar...Add Tim Ripper Owens' amazing vocal range and the results are truly magical.)
He is also known for his work with Beyond Fear, Iced Earth, and Dio Disciples, just to name a few. There's more, but hey...It's late, and I want to talk about Ripper's Rock House! Just trust me here... This guy is an outstanding vocalist and songwriter, and definitely worth checking out.
Much to our delight, we actually got to meet and chat with the man himself when we visited Ripper's Rock House this evening. He is a very hands-on owner when he's not touring the world, and he graciously came over to our table and talked with us for a few minutes. He was very friendly and down to Earth. It was a nice and rather unexpected surprise, and it totally made our evening extra special! He even posed for a photo opp with my husband! How freaking cool is that?!
Atmosphere Is Everything :
Anyway, when we arrived at Ripper's Rock House, we were immediately impressed by the layout and decor. There are a lot of fun, music-themed touches that make this venue truly stand out. For one, the handles on the doors are fashioned after a microphone and a fretboard. I should have taken more pictures, but I hadn't initially planned on writing a review of the place since this was date night and not "work". Next time, I will be sure to bring my decent camera and take a ton more photos!
The place is fairly decent sized and could definitely accommodate a large crowd. There's live music often, so I imagine the place gets pretty packed! Sadly, there was no music tonight, but on a Monday evening, that was to be expected.
There is a large stage and very high end sound equipment. Dan was very impressed by the sound system, and we can't wait to hear it put to good use during a live show. There are plenty of tables near the stage, so patrons will have a great view while enjoying a nice meal or drinks.
There is also a very generously sized full bar for those who prefer bar-seating. The bartender on duty tonight was extremely friendly, and made very good drinks. Dan just had his usual Blue Moon, and I had Top Shelf Long Island Iced Tea. (My drink was only $5.00, which is a great price for premium liquor in my area.)
I absolutely love the decor, too. It's not too over the top or commercial looking, which I definitely appreciate. I prefer locally owned small businesses over corporate chains, especially when they have as many personal touches as Ripper's Rock House does. On the walls, you'll find tons of music memorabilia, much of it signed by legendary bands and artists. There are also tons of photos chronicling Ripper Owen's musical career.
Of course Dan made me take a picture of this signed Pantera print! And I believe that's Anthrax underneath, but don't quote me on that!
Whet Your Appetite With Some Great Eats :
Of course, Ripper's Rock House has some fantastic food as well. The menu is very diverse, and there is something that's bound to please any palate. They even have a kids menu, which was a bit unexpected. One of the cool things about this place is that they have an actual chef rather than an inexperienced line cook. When I heard that, I got excited since I am a total foodie and love meals that require a level of skill to prepare rather than just a microwave like some of the bars we've been to. Oh! And the burgers are made from premium ground steak and have a weight of 1/2lb after cooking. I will definitely have to try one next time. The Eddie Jalapeno Trunk sounds especially tasty.
Ripper's has tons of great appetizers, including Sauerkraut Balls, an Ohio specialty, and even spinach dip and pierogies. We chose the Rockin' Combo Platter which includes mozzarella planks, chicken tenders, pretzel sticks with an orgasmic beer cheese dip, onion rings, and some of the best fried mushrooms I've ever had. They're enormous, and coated in a delicious tempura batter.
We had a very hard time choosing our entrees and probably drove our server nuts since it took awhile. There is so much to choose from! Sure, there's typical pub-style food like burgers and sandwiches, but they also serve heartier meals like steaks and pork porterhouse. There are even Italian specialties like eggplant or chicken parmesan, chicken or shrimp alfredo, and pasta primavera. Oh, and there's pizza, too. So obviously, choosing was no easy task! Luckily, our server was very well-versed about their extensive menu, and was able to make some great recommendations.
I chose the "Judas Priest That's A Monster Philly". (Yes, that is really the name!) I love a good steak and cheese, and this did not disappoint. I had asked for just steak, cheese, and mushrooms, and specifically asked for no onions. Unfortunately, it arrived with onions on it. I didn't complain because that's just not in my nature, but surprisingly, I enjoyed it anyway. The onions were very thin and cooked perfectly, so they didn't make me gag. This, my friends, is a rarity! Onions and I generally don't get along! The steak was nice and tender, seasoned perfectly, and it was smothered in gobs of gooey mozzarella and provolone cheese. The fries on the side were also fantastic. Probably some of the best I've had in a long time. They were nice and crisp while being hot and tender on the inside. Yum!
Dan, being the carnivore that he is, chose a full rack of ribs with a side of fresh cole slaw. The ribs at Ripper's Rock House are very unique because you can choose to have them basted in their signature cherry bourbon BBQ sauce OR one of 36 inspired wing sauces. (Yes, they have 36 wing flavors, as well as a World Tour of Wings. More about that in a bit, though!)
Dan chose to have his ribs prepared with a mango habanero sauce. I thought this was a bit odd for ribs, but told him he had to let me try them anyway. The combination of mango and habanero is amazing, and I cook with it myself at home. A nice balance of sweet and lingering heat.
Now I love some good ribs, too, but I realize not all ribs are created equal. More often than not, I end up disappointed by ribs that are dry, tough, or not properly seasoned. So I didn't have sky-high expectations here.Much to our delight, these ribs were killer. They were fall off the bone tender and perfectly seasoned. Surprisingly, the mango habanero sauce worked very well on them. They were definitely different than your typical BBQ ribs, so if you're adventurous, definitely try these with one of the wing sauces. Different is good, right?
World Tour of Wings :
Okay. Now for the really fun stuff. Ripper's Rock House has a World Tour of Wings. Each of the 36 flavors have been inspired by places Ripper has visited while touring the globe. (And this guy has been everywhere!) Each place has it's own local cuisine and unique recipes, and these 36 sauces reflect just that. Want Thai? Maybe African? Perhaps you like Hungarian, Greek or Australian? Or maybe you love regional favorites from right here in the States? Well, the World Tour of Wings has you covered no matter what you fancy!
If you sign up to take the World Tour of Wings, which is only $10, you'll receive a WTOW packet and a dozen wings of any flavor to get you started. Once you complete the tour, you get a t-shirt and invitation to a private, members only event. I am assuming that this includes seeing Tim Ripper Owens perform live on stage, but I am not entirely sure. Guess I will have to complete the tour and find out for myself!
Admittedly, and probably foolishly, we did not try the wings this time. I know...I am kicking myself for that! Rumor has it, they're pretty darn amazing, and with 36 sauces to choose from, there's everything from mild to wild. Some of the sauces I'd like to try the most include the Gonzo's Baked Cheese, Cheesy Sound Czech, and the Little Italy Parmesan Dry Rub. (Can ya tell I love cheese?!) Dan on the other hand likes his wings like he likes his ladies: Hot, hot, HOT. He would love to try the Metal Gods Indian Vindaloo, Fire in the Hole, and Wild Wasabi. These are rated as being very, very spicy!
There is one sauce that is Tim Ripper Owens' own recipe...Ripper's Scream Machine. This is the hottest of the hot, and is not for the faint-hearted! Our server offered us a cup full of this fire and brimstone to sample, and Oh. My. God. Talk about heat! This sauce will make your eyebrows sweat and clear your sinuses in about 2.4 seconds. However, despite the extreme heat, the Ripper's Scream Machine has a very tasty and complex flavor profile. It's definitely vinegar based, and has a blend of some of the best and most flavorful peppers in the world. If you can stand the heat, I would definitely recommend giving this sauce a try!
Overall, we had an amazing time at Ripper's Rock House. The food and drinks were fantastic, and the staff was very friendly and laid back. I also really loved the music-themed decor and the rock and roll atmosphere. This would be a great place to come and see live music, which we plan on doing very soon. This is definitely one of Akron's best places to go if you're looking for a rocking good time. And who knows? Maybe you'll get lucky and meet Tim Ripper Owens himself, just like we did!
How to Connect With Ripper's Rock House :
Ripper's Rock House is located at:
2727 Manchester Rd.
Akron, OH 44319
You can check out the awesomeness that is Ripper's Rock House on their website. It's currently under construction, but you can sign up for their All Access VIP Pass in the meantime. This will help you stay on top of all the concerts and promotions Ripper's Rock House has to offer!
You can also check them out on Facebook. (You know you're there all the time already playing Candy Crush, so stop on by and give them a "Like".)
To learn more about Tim Ripper Owens, he's got a website, too! Check it out for tour dates, an extensive bio, and more!
PR Friendly Mama!
I'm Brandy, a happily married, proud mama of two munchkins and a teen. You can read more about me HERE. If you're interested in building a working relationship, please feel free to e-mail me at: NewlyCrunchyMamaOf3@gmail.com
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