219 Louisiana Ave., Perrysburg
“Hot dogs” are more than a ball game or a roadside stand at one of Perrysbug’s newest downtown restaurants. Swig: Charcuterie and suds for the curious opened this past May in the former Petit Fours location. For you non-foodies, a charcuterie is a place that smokes, dries, and cures its own meat. At Swig, all sausages and hot dogs are ground, seasoned, smoked and cooked in house EVERYDAY.
Owners Jim Hodulik (the man behind Stella’s in Perrysburg) and Tony Bilancini wanted to offer customers affordability, in a place with a different feel. “We felt with the economy as it is there was a need,” said Bilancini. For only $1.50, you can have a homemade all-beef, 90% lean hot dog smoked in natural casing. For those of you who don’t embrace the all-American dog, I’ll tell you more about their unique menu in a bit.
Bilancini sums it up, “It’s a restaurant that just happens to have a bar.” There is an inviting three- sided bar on one end of the restaurant with artwork and flat screen TVs. The front end is the dining area. The black and stainless steel tables and chairs sit on a black and white checkered floor, creating a retro feel, while a juke box begs customers to choose their favorite tunes. Large windows naturally light the dining area. Customers also enjoy Swig’s good size, outdoor patio to enjoy the long summer days or early autumn afternoons. Swig doesn’t transform a bar scene until much later in the evenings; keeping it a great place for families to stop and grab a quick bite for lunch or dinner.
Outside of the basic dog, they offer the Chicago Style Hot Dog, Bratwurst, Coney Dogs, Polish sausage, Gyro Sausage, a Fish “Dog,” a Gypsy Hamburg, and plenty more. All sandwiches are served on a hot dog bun, and come topped with sauerkraut, grilled peppers, creamy coleslaw, or whatever suits your fancy. (They have an extensive list of “Tasty Toppers” if you would prefer to make your own creation.) All of Swig’s special sauces are made in house, too. You can’t find roasted onion chipotle ketchup just anywhere, you know!
If you really aren’t into dogs or sausages of any type, salads and soups are available. Reversed Hot Wings, anyone? They’re tossed in Ranch dressing, and served with a side of sauce. We tried the Swig’s Soup for $3.50. It’s a beer and cheddar cheese soup with browned and crumbled bratwurst. It’s a huge bowl, so be ready to share. Hand cut fresh fries were of generous portions and hit the spot with salt and vinegar for only $2.75. “We hand bread our onion rings,” said Bilancini. That would explain why we couldn’t eat just one or two.
Though there isn’t a kids’ menu, we ordered the kids hot dogs, soda, and shared the fries and onion rings. The kids ate for less than what most restaurants charge for an actual “kids’ meal”. I tried one of Swig’s unique items — a Chicken Sausage sandwich. My chicken dog was seasoned with sun-dried tomato and herbs, and topped with tomato, cucumbers, fresh onion, and aioli for $3.75. My husband finally decided on the Fresh Kielbasa sandwich that came with Swig’s homemade spicy brown mustard for a mere $3. We managed to devour plenty of food with little damage to the wallet.
Now that your mouth is watering, you’re probably wondering just what kind of “suds” Swig’s offers to wash down their hot dogs and bratwursts? Bilancini refers to their beer selection as “an adult candy shop.” They do “musical taps,” meaning that they switch out their beers on tap periodically. No, it’s not switching out the Bud Light for the Miller Light. You’re going to find imports and selections from micro brewers across the U.S. If you still can’t decide, you can order a sampler of five and see what wets your whistle. As with everything on the menu, even their special beers are reasonably priced.
Bottom Line: What kid doesn’t like an all American hot dog and tasty fries? Swig has found a unique niche with its neighborhood restaurant and bar that provides great fresh food at an affordable price. Your kids will stay entertained selecting and listening to their own music on the juke box, too.
Karen Zickes is a mom of three active children and freelance who resides in Holland, OH. She can be reached c/o firstname.lastname@example.org.