Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Mac's Tavern

Dinner the other night with the fiancée at Mac's Tavern on Market.  We wouldn't normally go out of our way to eat in Old City on a Monday night, but she had gotten a groupon for $40 worth of food and drink, so we decided to give it a try.   Mac's is owned by Rob McElhenney of It's Always Sunny fame, and is in the former Skinner's space between 2nd & 3rd.  Other than a coat of paint and a good cleaning job, the space hasn't changed much since it was dive bar, and that's a good thing.  Old City is desperately lacking good neighborhood spots that aren't havens for the masses from DelCo and South Jersey. Mac's is along the same lines as Charlie's & Sugar Mom's - no pretension, just a good vibe and cheap beers.

Alas, no milksteak or jellybeans on this menu.  There is an It's Always Sunnyside Up breakfast item and Sweet D's Sausage & P's on the sandwich list though, if that's your thing.  We stuck with more standard fare and a few drinks before catching a movie around the corner at the Ritz.  Gravy fries started off the meal.  Thick cut steak fries with a roastbeef gravy, covered with melted mozzarella and a last minute addition of grated "parmesan" cheese that seemed to come from one of those shaker cans. Despite the shady looking parmesan, the fries were pretty tasty - a nice philly take on poutine. The fiancee had the caeser salad with grilled chicken and I went for the roast pork with sauteed baby spinach and provolone.  The salad was good, but nothing memorable.  The roast pork was surprisingly well done.  Served on a fresh ciabatta roll, the pork was not as juicy as John's or Tony Lukes, but more of a complex oven roasted flavor that lent credibility to an otherwise generic menu.  All the sandwiches are served with a side of fries and spicy little aioli dipping sauce.

While it's not the most inventive menu on the block, there is something to be said for getting the basics right. More than that, Mac's has a good selection of beers, enough flat screens so that everyone can get a good view of the game, and a friendly staff.  Pretty much everything you want in a local, but rarely find in this neighborhood.

-T. Kaso

Mac's Tavern
226 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA(267) 324-5507

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