Local: Hopscotch and Vine
Every once and a while a man will find himself trapped in the soul crushing prison that is a family holiday party. And sometimes, just sometimes, he has the chance to escape with a good friend and seek the solace that only booze can bring.
That’s what happened last Sunday, Easter Sunday, to be specific.
The trouble the trio of us ended up having was that everyone was closed. Trust me, we weren’t being picky. We tried everything we could think of and that includes Tilted Kilt and Buffalo Wild Wings.
We even stopped inside an Applebee’s. It was open and I had the chance to look around, take in a snap shot of what Hell looks like, down a White Russian and decide that we weren’t spending our night there.
(The Applebee’s concept focuses on casual dining, with mainstream American dishes such as salads, shrimp, chicken, pasta, and “riblets” which is considered Applebee’s signature dish. *Citation from Wikipedia. Hideous photo is an exact representation of what happened to me there. I promise).
After that we tried a little place in the middle of nowhere that happened to be open and entirely empty. Craving food as well as drink by this point we were forced to leave because their kitchen wasn’t open. Another White Russian later and we’re on the move.
So we cruised to downtown Plainfield where I knew of a pub, Uptown Tap, that’s pretty decent. Low and behold, they decided not to be open either.
Things were looking very grim at this point when we pass by a classy little place that looked more winery than bar. Any port in a storm. (Pun or something entirely intended)
We head inside and we’re greeted by the owners of Hopscotch and Vine and their neighbors. They told us their kitchen was closed too but after some near suicidal depression on our part they offered up some options that we could eat. Impressed by their willingness to let us in and feed us, we stayed.
The interior of the place has a very “bistro” like set up. White table clothes, rustic colors, walls free from typical restaurant clutter/decor. It was just plain nice, simple and purposeful. No silly themes, no sports paraphernalia nonsense. Refreshing in the pub/bar scene.
They turned out to have a lot more to offer than just wine. Their Whiskey selection was actually very impressive. Like, VERY impressive. Me and my friend Tom were Whiskey guys and this unexpected Easter Egg was particularly welcome. After talking to the owners and having a good laugh with them they decided to open up the grill for us.
I can’t tell you what a great move that was. They really earned our loyalty at that point. With the whole menu available we happily attacked a few more drinks to make it worth it to them.
The burgers were outstanding. They had no problem cooking me a really excellent rare burger stuffed with salsa. The rest of my party went the burger route too. All of them amazingly done.
They accommodated my taste for Whiskey Cocktails too. The owner made a wonderful Sidecar. My friends were also pretty knowledgeable when it comes to beers and they had great things to say about the selection offered by Hopscotch and Vine. I tried an Allagash White which I thought was pretty enjoyable.
They told us that they stayed open to get all the traffic the other pubs were missing out on and closed up multiple times but each time they did people came along looking for drinks. They took everyone even though they could have closed anytime. Really savvy loyalty builder there too.
Hopscotch and Vine is most definately a place I’ll be going back to and suggesting to friends in the area. It’s only been there about five months. It’s one of the newer restaurants that filled in the void left by the Downtown Plainfield Apocalypse that drove away most of the business there some months back. I hope they can capture some of the returning patrons that are filtering back there now and I certainly hope to see that restaurant become a cornerstone of Downtown Plainfield for years to come.
Great job to the staff and the owners. You won us over.
Hopscotch and Vine can be found at 24947 West Lockport Street Plainfield 60544. http://hopscotchandvine.com/Contact-Us.html