You don't need to tell Westsiders that DAMIR'S DELHI HOUSE, (6344 Gracely Drive, Saylor Park, 513-941-5888) is a gem -- they've known that for about 124 years. The restaurant, originally opened as the Delhi House, has been serving food, drink and even ice cream (during Prohibition) in the same location since 1881. The current owners hail from Eastern Europe and continue the establishment's tradition of serving up hearty roadhouse fare.
The first floor of the building is divided into a bar area and dining room by full-length wood and glass, providing a less raucous atmosphere to aid your digestion, as well as an outlet for any voyeuristic tendencies you might harbor. The dining area is reminiscent of the ubiquitous taverns of northern Ohio with its knotted wood paneled walls liberally peppered with historical photographs, a drop ceiling and casual furnishings
The menu has a northern flavor as well. There's plenty of fish, including one of their bestsellers, a Fried Cod Sandwich ($5.50 for 9 ounces or $7.95 for 14-18 ounces). Other options include hoagies, steaks, country fried chicken, grilled pork chops, homemade chili and the Big Damir Burger ($3.45). Named after the owner's son, it offers two quarter-pound beef patties with cheese, tartar sauce, lettuce and pickles.
Our bubbly server informed us that we had arrived during happy hour, so we washed down our spicy half-price buffalo chicken wings (usually $3.85 for eight pieces) with $1 cold drafts. For dinner, I succumbed to the call of the cod, which came with rye bread and tartar sauce. I rounded out my meal with a side of homemade cole slaw ($2). The mild, deep-fried square of fish and cole slaw made a deliciously squishy sandwich. Mr. Husband's keen taste buds pegged the tartar sauce as homemade without a glance at the menu.
Since they were out of the salmon, he settled on the Chicken Spinach Salad ($7.25) with, what else, a basket of French Fries ($2). The chicken was a little overdone, but the salad was fresh and colorful with tomato slices, onion and a honey vinaigrette. Slathered with a generous portion of ketchup, the fries were scarfed down in record time.
Our tummies full of fried goodness and our heads fuzzy with good folks and good cheer, we made our way back along Route 50. But watch out, West side -- now that we found Damir's, you're going to have to share it with the rest of us!