I had looked all over Macon for an acceptable Philly cheese steak sandwich, and, finally, I have found it.
In fact, although Philadelphia reigns as the place to go for cheese steaks, the Red Eye Tavern isn't far from being one of the best I have had. I'd been to the Red Eye on weekend evenings when the place turns into a popular watering hole, but had yet to see it during the daylight - let alone try the food.
But my first venture there was so successful, I figured there would be a downside at some point. If there is one, I still haven't found it.
Of course, as a bar, it is filled with bodies and smoke during the evening hours, so a concern of mine was that it would be just as cloudy (and stinky) during the day. But remnants of the night happenings are scarce, and smoke smells aren't a concern.
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The food offerings range from typical appetizers such as hot wings, ultimate nachos and chili cheese fries to mozzarella sticks and onion rings. The Red Eye also offers chicken salads and wraps, as well as hamburgers and chicken sandwiches. There is also a daily special and a number of desserts.
As mentioned, my first try at the Red Eye was a great one, thanks to the Philly cheese steak and french fries I ordered. To date, I had tried such sandwiches in other restaurants here, and they ranged from dry to questionable cheese to the size of my pinkie. Not this one though. The paper lining came soaked with cheese, meat and mushroom juice, and with each bite, a piece of the overstuffed sandwich fell out. The cheese was perfect, as was the greasiness factor of the sandwich. I chose the battered fries (you can pick battered fries, regular fries and onion rings), which came out smoking hot.
I wanted to keep eating the Philly cheese steak on my proceeding trips, but I next chose the fried chicken breast. The chicken was so large it didn't even fit on the bun (more than worth the $6.49 price) and, like everything else before, was hot when served. The "regular" fries were the equivalent of large potato slices, and delicious plain or with cheese and chili over the top (an appetizer that seems expensive at $5.49, but the price is again meager when compared to both the quantity and quality).
The hot wings were the best among the appetizers, as they seemed almost breaded but were fried and sprinkled with an appetizing sauce. Also worth a taste were the mozzarella sticks, which were larger than the average mozzarella stick served.
In all, this hidden gem (placed down a flight of stairs on the corner of Cherry Street and MLK) is worth a try, mainly because the combination of the food and the friendly wait staff make it the best new place to hit Macon.
Red Eye Tavern
401 Cherry Street
Phone: (478) 722-0005
Hours: Lunch: Tues.-Fri. 11:30-2:30 p.m.; Dinner: Tues.-Thurs. 4-8 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 4-9 p.m.
Payment: Cash and credit
Kids menu: No
Noise level: Moderate
Wheelchair accessible: No
Latest health rating: 93