AP NEWS

Tavern Off the Green boasts pub menu near stadium

January 18, 2018 GMT

HUNTINGTON — There’s a new sports bar for Marshall fans with a familiar face behind it. Tavern Off the Green owner John Castlegrandi, affectionately known as “Caz” to his friends, has been a fixture in Huntington’s bar scene for years, and now works as gym and health teacher at Cabell Midland High School. The new pub, which opened in December, features an assortment of football memorabilia, including a large collection of professional, high school and college football helmets.

“This place used to be Giovanni’s Pizza Pub. Then it turned into Mancini’s under the same owner. I bought the space in August,” Castlegrandi said.

He said he had initially hoped to open by mid-October, but there were delays.

Most of the remodeling was done in the dining room area, he said. “The floor in the bar area was elevated, and we took it out. I didn’t like the look of it, and I thought it was a little dangerous. So I decided it would be better to have everything on one level. So we pretty much redid the dining room area.

“The kitchen needed a cleaning, a minor overhaul, and some new equipment. I kept some of the menu from Mancini’s because the guys in the kitchen were holdovers from there. They’re really good at what they do, so I talked to them about what direction we would go.”

Castlegrandi said he kept about a dozen items from the Mancini’s menu while making some additions.

The restaurant offers pizzas in 12-inch ($8), 16-inch ($10), and 18-inch ($13) sizes. Toppings ($1-2 per topping depending on the size) includes pepperoni, sausage, peppers, olives and jalapeno peppers. You can also enjoy a calzone in a 12-inch ($7) or 18-inch ($12) size.

“One of the things I chose to do was to try and replicate a staple of Huntington, which was Frank’s Steak Sandwiches. Frank’s Sandwich Shop closed about 22 years ago, and it was one of those places that everyone went and ate. I ate there two or three times a week. So I discussed it with Frank Volk’s daughter, Mary, and told her I was thinking of doing a Frank’s Steak Sandwich, and she said we had her permission. That was about four years ago, and the project never came to be. So now when this came I figured I’d go ahead and fit it in here.” Castlegrandi said. “We have tried to replicate the sandwich. It’s never going to be 100 percent the same because it won’t have Frank’s golden touch or Patrick Price’s golden touch from when he took it over from Frank. The biggest thing is I’m waiting for the buns. The buns that Frank used were from a company in Maryland. I’m waiting for those to become available. Right now we use buns from Brunetti’s Bakery in Kenova.”

A steak sandwich is $8 for a 6-inch and $11 for a 12-inch. There’s also a flaked ham sandwich ($6), a steak burger ($8) and a Italian Sub (6-inch for $6; 12-inch for $9).

Customers will want to check out Castlegrandi’s impressive collection of football helmets.

“I started collecting in 1986 when I was at my first bar. It started off innocently enough when I had a couple of my own and some players started bringing in their own helmets and asking if I would put them up. Then Woody, who was the equipment manager at Marshall at the time, would bring in helmets for rival teams he would trade with. After a while I got to the point where I had 50 helmets, and I wanted 100. Then I had 100, but I wanted 150.” Castlegrandi said. “Right now I have about 160-170. About 140 of them are visible. I have a whole row of Marshall helmets from different eras after the crash representing different coaches. I’m waiting on a Coach Holliday helmet that they’re giving to me from the last couple of years.”

The bar currently offers 10 drafts and assortment of 20 televisions for game day. Plans are being made to expand the draft selection and add a video lottery room.

Tavern Off the Green is located at 2002 3rd Ave. in Huntington, next to El Ranchito across the street from the Joan C. Edwards Stadium. The kitchen is open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday and noon to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The bar is open later whenever there is demand. Cash and all major credit cards are accepted. Free delivery is available in a limited area. For delivery, carry-out orders, or more information call 681-378-6848. You can find Tavern on the Green online at https://www.face-book.com/Tavern-Off-The-Green-279626125868681/.

TAVERN OFF THE GREEN

TYPE: Pizza, sandwiches, pub

ADDRESS: 2002 3rd Ave., Huntington

PHONE NUMBER: 681-378-6949

PAYMENTS ACCEPTED: Cash and all major credit cards

HOURS: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday and noon to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The bar is open later whenever there is demand.

WEBSITE: https://www.face-book.com/Tavern-Off-The-Green-279626125868681/