But then, I hadn’t happened on 571 Grill yet. It’s the kind of spot you could drive by repeatedly without giving it a second look. It’s also off the beaten path so you would need to know it’s worth seeking out. The only hint that you are happening on something special is the packed parking lot surrounding it that hints of something special inside.
On multiple visits the craft draft beer was cool, crisp and delicious, the service was impeccable, friendly and prompt (I’m talking to you, Jess Pettit!) and the food was fully loaded, satisfying and dressed to impress. Even more impressive still is the fact that the ingredients are plentiful, fresh and, most, locally sourced from farm to table.
The half-pound two-handed burgers are stacked and packed with ingredients. The smooth, buttery patties are a blend of chuck, short rib and brisket cooked with a slightly pink center and served on a brioche bun. They have a classic cheeseburger, a bacon cheeseburger and a turkey burger, but the house specialties are when it gets interesting.
The flagship burger is the Haystack ($14.25) featuring applewood smoked bacon, smoked gouda cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, pickle, onion, jalapenos, onion straws and 571 sauce. Add an egg to make it a Henhouse for a dollar more.
The Vampire Slayer ($12.50) served on thick pieces of grilled garlic toast is topped with caramelized sauteed onions and mushrooms and house garlic aioli. The Mac Daddy ($14.25) is heaped with smoked gouda mac and cheese, additional cheddar cheese, crisscrossed with applewood smoked bacon and then slathered with BBQ sauce.
The glazed donut bacon cheeseburger is just as billed. Grilled glazed ooey, gooey donut plus their blended burger topped with applewood smoked bacon, smoked gouda cheese and 571 sauce ($13) is a savory sugary dream.
Thursday is burger day at the restaurant with the opportunity to grab one of their burgers and their great crispy hand cut fries for $10.
Throughout the week the restaurant features specials like Rueben egg rolls and their popular Texas Twinkie, a large charred Anaheim pepper stuffed with horseradish cream cheese and smoked brisket wrapped in candied bacon and smothered in queso.
You know something’s good when it’s so delicious you don’t want to quit eating it. The food at 571 is so good that it’s sometimes hard to pump the breaks.
Even the fried mac and cheese balls ($10), (a dish I almost never like because the flavor dissipates in the fryer, if it was ever there in the first place), are crunchy, cheesy, smokey fried perfection. They are flavorful with a zippy zing, but not too spicy for those who are sensitive as long as you steer clear of the jalapeño slices crowning the top of each magical rich cheesy sphere.
It’s a low-key unpretentious rustic tavern with corrugated metal siding, wood beams and no frills concrete floor serving up bar food that it’s hard to deny the perfection of. With just 14 tables and a small bar the seats are limited, but each one is worth waiting for.
The smoked wings and generously topped pizzas with crispy cracker crust and sweet spicy tomato sauce are also quite good, but the burgers are where it’s at. Choose from one of their ever-rotating craft draft options and you are in business.
Just don’t order too much or you may never stop eating.
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HOW TO GO
What: 571 Grill & Draft House
Where: 12389 Milton Carlisle Road, New Carlisle
More info: 571grill.com or (937) 845-0089
Take home: The tender, tender, tender lettuce used at 571 Grill is fresh Davidson Family Growers Hydroponic lettuce that’s available by the pound to take home. It will be $3 for a 1/2 pound and $5 for a pound. Their homemade ranch and Italian salad dressings are available for $5 a pint.