The 'Dead End Canal Yacht Club' has many members from Ohio. They had been keenly interested in the showdown between two waterfront restaurants on San Carlos Island over who better celebrates their State. The two players were the Nauti Turtle whose Ohio day fell on Tuesday, Feb. 26. Big Game Waterfront Grill's celebration followed on Feb. 27. Which one scheduled their date first is of no great importance to this writer. It won't be revealed in this column because I don't care.
I was drawn into the Ohio Day controversy a year ago because I'd wondered in this column why 'Cincinnati Chili' was the primary celebratory food item served at last year's event at the Big Game Waterfront Grill? I was only repeating comments from several northeastern Ohio 'DECYC' members. I did extensive research and presented it to the owner who is originally from Wisconsin.
What I found in my research was that Ohio is quite a diverse place in people and food. Most of the inhabitants are farmers or some other rural enterprise. That leaves some cities like Columbus, Cleveland, Dayton, Toledo, Akron/Canton and Stubenville. I know I've left out a lot, but I'm reading off a website and besides, who has time? So if you can wrap your head around this diverse landscape you can understand most of Ohio.
I wasn't a big fan of 'States' days until I noticed that two celebrations of Ohio Day were only a day apart. This took on an air of excitement, not as big as whether the field goal would win the Super Bowl but certainly a point of interest. If the aforementioned Super Bowl fell the day after the World Cup finals, how could they top 70,000 rabid Barcelona's brawling fans and British hooligans? I'm sure creative producers could fix it where Janet Jackson would have several additional wardrobe malfunctions during rehearsals and this fact would be leaked to the press. "Will Janet's brassiere stay up during the half time show?"
"Hey, I don't minds two Ohio Days," said Y-town Guido. "Complain all youse want. Me and the boys have fun!" Which is a good philosophy. Next year there might be three in the same week and the year after, the whole week will be dedicated to O-H-I-O! How do they love to spell stuff? Short words only!
I can report there wasn't any salacious competition between the two participants. No wet t-shirt competition or bikini contests. They're from a good solid mid-western state. A couple of waitress and bartenders tried to make their Ohio State shirts more alluring by tying the bottom, front or back, into knots but that was it. Good wholesome fun.
In fact the only controversy was within the 'DECYC' when a Steubenville-er disparaged the lack of sexy attire by saying, "You can tell most of these people are farmers!"
'Toledo Dave' took him to task, severely! "I lived in Toledo for 50 years and I've never plowed a field." Like I said this is a diverse state.
There are only a few places in Ohio where this writer is familiar. One is the Ohio Turnpike, which I regarded as one of the best in the nation. It made getting to Chicago easy even though it was expensive. Lake Erie was another familiar place because it had great sailboat racing, and I did a little of that before I came to my senses and discovered power boating. Lastly, there is a place in Youngstown that my brother introduced me to, called the 'Golden Dawn.' No, it isn't a Chinese place. It's so good and cheap that it's the only restaurant in the world where I'm 'tempted' to pick up the check.
My point, I'm not highly qualified to judge Ohio days. That is why I circulated a questionnaire last weekend among the participants. Within both celebrations, there were 'DECYC' tables where members could squeeze in and take a breather from the frivolity. The questions were broken down into a simple 1 to 10, with 10 being the best. I disqualified myself and I didn't eat at either place so not to skewer my reporting.
"I give the 'Turtle' a 4 and the Big Game a 9," said Cleveland Tony. "The 'Game' went out of its way to make us all feel welcome. They even had a 'Cleveland Polish Sausage' sandwich along with Pizza Burgers and Cincinnati Chili!"
'Toledo Dave' was very impressed with the entertainment at the Big Game, "They had 'Gatlin' entertaining for crying out loud. They're huge in 'Put'n Bay' and we go see them all the time on the islands. I didn't care about the food, I came for the 'Gatlin' and the brew!" He gave the "Big Game Waterfront Grill a 10, even though Dave is from northwest Ohio.
There seems to be some lingering resentment towards the 'Turtle' from a dispute arising over Ohio college and pro-football teams. No comments were requested but there were a few remarks about it scribbled in the margins. Both places tied on their view with 8s. No surprises on the parking, Big Game won out over free valet. "You could plant a crop of corn in their parking lot and a crop of soy beans in their overflow lot," said one Ohio-an on the questionnaire.
Everyone had a good time at both venues. In my one and only personal observation, Gatlin brought the entire crowd at the Big Game to their feet with a rousing rendition of the old standard, YMCA. It all goes back to their love of spelling, O H I O with their arms! So, who won the "Battle for Ohio?" The numbers haven't been crunched, nor will they because privacy policies forced their destruction. If you were there, you know who. Nevertheless, our Ohio club members are excited about next year! Possibly, the Bayside Bar and Grill will compete? Nah, sadly it's Ohio Day there all 365 days.
Boatguy Ed is a manufacturer of the worlds finest anti-fouling bottom paint, www.supershipbottom.com. A past Commander of the "Dead End Canal Yacht Club" and the former television producer of the Boating Show on TV, the Dining Out SWFL show and Boater's Treasures TV show. NEVER, EVER TRY TO BUY HIM A DRINK!
This column is meant for educational purposes only. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. Void where prohibited. Some assembly required. Do not read while operating a motor vehicle or heavy equipment.