One of the great pleasures in this world is a really great pub.
A cozy atmosphere, happy voices, good food, and a pint or two make for the perfect afternoon or evening, and we have one of our own right here in Macon.
Bearfoot Tavern, once located on Cherry Street, rebranded itself as a gastropub by making consistently high quality food and serving it in a beautiful space filled with wood and dark colors. Large-patterned wallpaper, brick walls, and a large circular bar transport you to a country public house in Gloucestershire.
We started, as everyone should, with the pimento cheese fritters served with red pepper jelly. These gooey balls are addictive, so you may need more than one order. After that, I needed something a little healthier, so I got the chopped salad topped with pan-seared salmon and a dill ranch dressing. My friend got the fried pickle-brined chicken breast (think Chick-fil-A) and made a sandwich with the Texas toast and bread and butter pickles that come with it. Delicious!
Our margherita pizza was fine but would have been better with a crispier crust and more basil. The calzone's description -- ricotta, sopressata, ham, pecorino, and pepperonata -- made it a must for next time. As a sweet red pepper fan, I liked the sound of the 3 Little Piggies pizza, too, with ham, sausage, sopressata, caramelized onions, and buffalo mozz.
All the burgers are good here, so we tried the Billington (Mercer's first President, from 1833-1840) topped with bacon, cheddar, and a fried egg. It was delicious but the J.L.Dagg (Mercer president from 1844-1854) has everything I like on it: chèvre, homemade pepper jelly, candied bacon, and spinach. The Dowell (Mercer prez from 1928-1953) is also a big seller for out-of-towners, with pimento cheese and a fried green tomato.
For dessert, we tried the sinfully named Irish whiskey Bailey's bread pudding and the Milky Way Tower chocolate cake. Both were wonderful, but a little pour-over sauce would have make the bread pudding perfection. If I had to choose just one, I'd pick the chocolate cake, gooey with caramel and ganache. Either one is only six dollars.
So put on your wellies and pop down to your local. Bearfoot Tavern is great for all ages and budgets.
Restaurant: Bearfoot Tavern
Address: 468 2nd Street
Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday
Payment: credit card, cash
Kids Menu: yes
Noise Level: low
Wheelchair accessible: yes
Health Rating: 95
Price range: $8-$18
Rating: 3.5 stars