Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Foodie Review: The Bally Hotel in Bally, PA

The Bally Hotel
660 Main Street
Bally, PA 19503

Before I jump into what might be considered a review, I have to be up-front and say that my wife and I live 2 blocks from The Bally Hotel... we go there all the time. At any given time, I'm the Mayor of the Bally Hotel on Foursquare...  so with that in mind, here's my review!

We have been to The Bally Hotel dozens of times.  Being that we've been there a number of times, I'll go over some of the things we've experienced and some of the food we've eaten to give you a taste of the Hotel!

One of the great things about living in a small town like Bally is that there are places like The Bally Hotel.  Places all the locals know, places owned and operated by local folks who know the people.  They know what they like and they give it to them!  When you go to The Bally Hotel you feel like you know the people sitting at the bar, the people waiting the tables and making the food -- even if you don't.  Places like that are priceless!  It is a little noisy and not posh -- but you like being there nonetheless.

Another real big upside to the Hotel is they host really great community events.  The annual Saint Patrick's Day tradition known as Finegan's Wake is a week long celebration of everything Irish and an event you simply MUST attend at least once!  Music, coffin races, wake processional and great beer specials!  One of the newer ones is their Cars for the Cure -- which is a car show and block party that benefits breast cancer research!  The Hotel blocks off the road on the side for these events and it is really a great time!

Appetizers and Soups
The Bally Hotel's menu changes from time to time, but no matter what the menus says you can count on the Hotel to have a solid list of quality appetizers.  The crab dip is solid -- a little creamy but always well done!  The mozzarella sticks are big cheesy sticks of yumminess.  The deluxe nachos are everything you'd expect from a big plate of nachos and for a fun variation, try the Irish nachos!  Bacon wrapped scallops?  Oh yes!  Plus, big thumbs up on the calamari!  My wife gets the calamari tossed in buffalo sauce -- try it!  

As far as soups go, I don't know if I've ever had anything other than their French Onion Soup.  The FOSoup is that good!  I have a crock almost every visit!  They have chili listed on the soup menu, I don't consider it a soup.  It is good chili, not fantastic but you can't go wrong ordering it.

The only thing that I've had from the appetizer menu that I didn't care for was the potato skins.  They aren't bad, they just don't make them the way I like them.  They scoop out almost all the potato and fill it with toppings, it leaves them almost crunchy.  This is a preference thing - some people will love it!

Sandwiches and BurgersEvery cheesesteak on the menu is fantastic -- haven't had one I didn't like.  I love the Barnyard the best!  It is piled on with several different meats and cheeses -- it's enough to satisfy any appetite!  Another highlight is the Prime Rib Steak Sandwich - high quality meat on a roll.  The sandwich menu is quite extensive and has a number of speciality type options.  If you're in the mood for a quick sandwich, pick your favorite and go with it!  They come with chips -- so order a plate of waffle fries to go with it for a bigger meal.

The one thing I simply cannot recommend at The Bally Hotel are the burgers.  I've had more than one and they just aren't good.  They taste like they are frozen patties fried up on a griddle and it just doesn't work well.  I am surprised that the Hotel doesn't make the fresh, they make everything else with such a high quality of freshness and flavor the burger seems like an easy fit into that niche.  They just don't.

The entree menu is quite extensive from chicken to steak to pasta to seafood.  There is something for everyone.  What I like about the menu is that if you want a simple New York Strip you can get it.  If you want a New York Strip topped with Crab Imperial and Bernaise sauce, you can get that too -- and it's delicious!  Want surf and turf?  Yup -- you can get your Filet Mignon with Shrimp and/or Scallops!  They often have Prime Rib and racks of rib on special, too.

The chicken menu is one of my favorites in the area.  Sure, they have Chicken Parm -- but they also have Gaelic Chicken (my favorite), the Swiss Frenchmen, Chicken of Kings and the Hotel Classic Chicken which is a thigh with the bone removed and stuff with sausage and apples with an apple reduction.  The Gaelic is a sautéed chicken breast in a Chardonnay Red Sauce topped with garlic spinach & shredded parmesan cheese.  If you like Chicken Cordon Bleu, you will dig the Swiss Frenchmen.

Beer Menu
The Bally Hotel is, in fact, a bar and restaurant and they have an extensive beer selection.  They usually have Stella Artois on tab, which I like.  They also have Chimay which is one of my personal favorites and often hard to find.

I didn't mention much about cost so far, but all the entrees are priced right.  Your chicken dishes will run you between $11-$15, steak runs up near $20 and the appetizer menu sits between $5 and $10.  They have a really great kids menu, too!  I most certainly haven't covered every aspect of the Hotel here -- but I invite you to go and experience it yourself!

Atmosphere: 5/5 - The bar area is noisy, but its a bar... the dining room is not.  But no more Dave Matthews please...
Service: 4/5
Food: 4/5
Price: 5/5
Overall: 4.5/5

Pros: Food is very good - love the French Onion Soup, Buffalo Wings, Gaelic Chicken the most - everything priced right!  Good kids menu.
Cons: Burgers are a no-go!
Go Again: We go all the time!

Bruce is the author of four books: Sands of TimeTowering Pines Volume One:Room 509The Star of ChristmasPhiladelphia Story: A Lance Carter Detective Novel and The Insider's Story: A Lance Carter Detective Novel.  He also has a new novel coming out in November 2012, Towering Pines Volume Two: The Sound and The Fury.  Follow Bruce's Novel releases by subscribing to his FREE newsletter!

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