A coney from Swig Restaurant. The green tinge is from a neon beer sign overhead.
A couple weeks ago on a Thursday afternoon, we headed down to Perrysburg, Ohio. We didn’t really have any kind of actual destination in mind except to visit their rather expansive (for a small city anyway) Perrysburg Farmers Market. Mary and some of her other city leaders would like to start a Farmers Market here in Luna Pier and they’d heard quite a few good things about the one in Perrysburg. For example, the Market’s web site includes a well-built interactive map of the area including exactly where the individual vendors are. Looking at the tech of the area we also found that, in the garden islands of the sidewalks, there was 110v service on the building side (for table vendors) and 220v service on the road side of those gardens (for food trucks), along with potable water connections. Vendors included florists, farmers, bakers, food crafters selling preserves, sauces and spices, alpaca farmers selling yarns and finished knit or needled clothing, and many others.
Walking toward the car toward the end of our walk, I spotted this:
More than anything else, the word “charcuterie” on the sign for Swig Restaurant and Bar caught my eye. Mary had bought me Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking and Curing by Ruhlmann and Polcyn for Christmas a couple years back, and I really love the subject. After discussing the sign and seeing how busy they were, it made sense that we said we’d hoped to come back and visit Swig sometime, if only to satisfy our curiosity.
Our anniversary is October 21st. Last week when we were trying to figure out where to go for an interesting anniversary dinner, the subject of Swig came up. It was an almost immediate decision, and we headed there for dinner that day to see what was up with the place.
Walking through the front door in the middle of the afternoon on a Friday we found the restaurant mostly empty, but the bar completely full of customers.
Behind the bar on the wall you can see the nineteen taps for the beers that were available that evening. The chalkboard on the wall in the right side of this photo is the list of those beers so customers can see what’s available from anywhere in the restaurant. While there were a few national and international favorites available, some of these beers were more regional. After finding a table and meeting our server, I ordered a New Holland El Molé Ocho Spiced Ale brewed in Holland, Michigan. This beer turned out to be richly nutty, very smooth, and remarkably easy to drink. I don’t drink to get drunk, but I could have easily had a second draught of the Ocho. Maybe even a third … Mary had an amber ale that was quite good and had a nice bitter to it, but unfortunately we can’t recall which amber it might have been.
We ordered three of Swig’s handmade sausages. I ordered a coney, understandably being quite curious about what it might be. We had served beer-braised Kielbasa with pierogi at our small living room wedding seven years ago and then also at our larger reception the following June, so Kielbasa is what Mary ordered at Swig with a side of their fries. And in keeping with the Polish theme I also ordered a Polish sausage with a side of breaded onion rings.
I really need to spend a few moments to talk about this particular coney, also pictured at the beginning of this post.
Swig’s menu simply describes it as:
Coney – mustard, onion, Coney sauce 2.25
Longtime readers will know of my history with the Flint coney, having grown up on it at Angelo’s, developing multiple recipes for minor variations on the Flint coney theme, and serving the non-organ-meat version at the Luna Pier, Michigan, beachhouse in 2008, with Caleb serving it again there this past summer in 2011. They’ll also know from my writings that the Jackson style coney from Todoroff’s is quite similar to the Flint dish, and that the Michigan hot dog as served in upstate New York is an offshoot of the Todoroff’s version.
Of course the wetter sauce of the Detroit coney, as usual, is completely outside this conversation and is unworthy of any consideration whatsoever. It’s just not worth my time.
So yes, I know my Flint coneys. And I’ll tell you what, what Swig is serving, by design or not, is most certainly a Flint style coney. Either Swig redeveloped it on purpose from scratch (except for the bun), or it was an inadvertant “Hey, we seem to like the same stuff” … or they found my sauce recipe online, stole it, and made a few changes, leaving out the ground hot dogs, increasing the chili powder and lowering the salt.
No, they probably didn’t steal it, really. But even if they did, I wouldn’t mind. At least I can go somewhere now in the Toledo area and enjoy a Flint coney without having to cook the dang thing myself, sauce and all.
But one of the coolest things is that, in case you’ve forgotten, Swig makes their natural-casing coney dog in their own charcuterie facility. This is considerably more work than in the Flint coney restaurants in Genesee County where the traditional dog is either the Koegel Vienna or Koegel’s more-specific Coney dog. Swig’s handmade dog was just right in their version of the coney, being similar to the Vienna, and I was very satisfied with it.
Yes, I’ll have more of your Flint style coneys please Swig, thank you very much.
The Kielbasa Mary ordered had been made as a bun-size sausage and apparently grilled on a flattop. It was nicely mild, and contrasted well with the house pickled peppers lying on top. There could have certainly been twice as many peppers to top it off, but the flavor, texture and moistness of the sausage really made it great regardless. The fries were as freshly-cut as the menu claimed, with a few still stuck together in a good clump from the cutting process.We finished almost all of them, that’s how good they were.
The Polish Sausage I’d ordered was somewhat spicier than the Kielbasa, with a great garlic flavor and a crisp natural casing. The sweet & sour cabbage is reminiscent of what Chef Tad serves as a side for most of his dishes at the Frog Leg Inn in Erie, Michigan, and is a great compliment to the Polish Sausage at Swig. The spicy mustard really pulls the whole thing together and is more than just a condiment, it’s an integral part of the sandwich. And while the onion rings weren’t quite the best we’ve ever had, their flavor fit in well with the rest of the meal.
It was unfortunate we were so full after all this food. After all, there’s Swig’s signature dessert, which we didn’t have the opportunity to try:
Chocolate Covered Bacon Sundae – Chocolate covered bacon, bourbon roasted pineapple, vanilla ice cream, Guinness chocolate sauce. Awesome. 5.99
Oh yeah, we’re definitely going back to Swig. It’s only a matter of when. And then … we’ll have ice cream …