***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.***
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 ?
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 :
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.
Whet Your Appetite With Some Great Eats :
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 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 :
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!
How to Connect With Ripper's Rock House :
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!