You could spend hours debating old favorites versus new hot spots with your friends and family, trying to decide where to grab dinner this weekend.
Or you could try our Bites Nearby pick for the week, The Courtyard Café.
Wasn't that much easier?
Overview: A longtime fixture, this Brecksville neighborhood bar and restaurant continues to be a popular destination for residents.
Decor: Dark, small and cozy, maybe to the point of feeling a bit cramped.
The Drinks: The Courtyard Café offers various foreign and domestic beers, plus a full bar.
Appetizers: Classic favorites like Baked French Onion Soup au Gratin ($4.59), Grilled Chicken Nachos ($9.95) and the Rib Sampler ($9.95).
Entrees: With more than 60, there are almost too many options. They include the Grilled Chicken Pesto Sandwich ($8.99), the Homemade Lasagna ($10.99), the Grilled Fresh Mahi-Mahi ($19.99) and The Courtyard Burger ($8.29). And that's not to mention about 10 different types of pizza.
Sides: Guests can choose from options like the Spicy Cajun Fries ($1.89), Steamed Vegetable ($1.89), Rice Pilaf ($.99) and Garlic Bread ($2.49).
Desserts: Assorted tortes and cheesecakes ($4.49). Not a fan? Go for the Hot Fudge Sundae ($3.49).
Service: Sit down, seat yourself.
Address: 7600 Chippewa Road, Brecksville, OH 44141
Hours of Operation: Monday through Thursday: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday through Saturday: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Closed Sundays.
Cost: $$$ (on a scale of 1 to 5).
In a nutshell: Despite my visit being on one of the cruddiest, snowiest days so far this winter, the fact that the Courtyard was still bustling with activity speaks volume to the popularity of this 25-year-old establishment.
Essentially a restaurant wrapped around a large, circular bar, the Courtyard’s small, cozy interior gives it a whole “neighborhood watering-hole” vibe. Dark-wood paneling dominates here, and the walls are adorned with sports paraphernalia and items of local historical significance.
While the food isn’t without a few issues -- my Baked French Onion Soup au Gratin was somewhat tame, and my Smothered Chicken was a bit underwhelming in the looks department -- their fare is pretty good and the portions are generous. Case in point, their dinner rolls alone are roughly the size of softballs.
Overall, The Courtyard an ideal hangout spot for a night out on the town, though not necessarily for a special occasion.