89Ate- Delicious Grinders and a Throwback Experience from JR Grinder in Canfield
If you only know two things about the staff at 898 Marketing, it should be that we love the Youngstown community and we’re totally obsessed with food. It’s not uncommon to hear, “what should we do for lunch,” within an hour or two of coming into work (and sometimes, even the day before). Usually Brady hasn’t even finished his morning bagel before the lunch discussions start. That’s where the idea for 89Ate was born. It’s an opportunity for us to feature the amazing local restaurants that we love while giving in to our foodie desires.
On Main Street, just past downtown Canfield, sits a small sandwich and milkshake shop where Katie’s Korner Ice Cream once sat. That restaurant, JR Grinder, is more than just a sandwich shop though; it is a time capsule that harkens back to the diners of the 1950’s and 1960’s. We almost felt ashamed that we didn’t pull into the parking lot in a hot-rod, and were surprised when a waiter/waitress on rollerskates didn’t come to take our orders.
Inside, the mid-20th century influence becomes even more clear, with its colors, tile countertops, and cartoon hot dogs painted on the walls. As we sat down to eat, though, with “Rockin’ Robin” playing in the background, one thing became clear: the only thing better than this restaurant’s aesthetics is its food.
The JR Mac for Brady
This sandwich is JR Grinder’s take on the McDonald’s Big Mac, featuring roast beef instead of a hamburger patty and taking the form of a sub sandwich. Every bite of the JR Mac tastes like what I wish the Big Mac could be. Normally I don’t like pickles on my sandwiches, but the pickles on the JR Mac were so good I was looking forward to biting into the next one. And the best part of the sandwich is the thousand island dressing! I’ve had a lot of sandwiches with thousand island throughout my days. If there’s a sandwich made with thousand island, I will always order it. But this was the first sandwich I have ever ordered where I did not need to ask for extra dressing.
Sliced Chicken Parm for Bill
I love JR Grinder’s dedication to the sub/hoagie/hero format. Their “Specialty Grinders” menu features extremely inventive takes on classic sandwiches and when I saw the Sliced Chicken Parm grinder I was instantly intrigued. The sliced chicken was very flavorful and the addition of green peppers and banana peppers made for a delicious combination. This was a great and probably healthier substitute for the more traditional fried chicken parm sandwich offered elsewhere.
Chipotle Turkey BLT for Zach
Everything about this sandwich is fantastic. Usually, a traditional BLT is best left alone as-is, but the turkey takes it to another level. It doesn’t dominate the crispy bacon, juicy tomato, and crunchy lettuce. It fits perfectly in the sandwich with the other traditional BLT elements. The chipotle sauce definitely takes this sandwich up a notch as well, giving it some enhanced flavor and spice.
The French fries though. Oh man. Their fries are some of the best I’ve ever had. They are just crispy enough, and just salty enough to create the perfect fry. They are an excellent sidekick to any JR Grinder hero sandwich. Finally, the surprise piece of Dubble Bubble Bubble Gum wrapped in with the plastic silverware is the icing on this nostalgic cake.
We each finished our meal with a bowl of Katie’s Korner ice cream which really tied together the 50’s diner experience. JR Grinder is a fantastic local restaurant and made for the perfect first stop on our 89Ate journey. We hope you enjoyed this taste of local cuisine and let us know on social media who we should feature next using #89Ate!