By Anthony M. Fuda
This month our burger travels took us to a well-known pub in the city called Chesty’s Blue Collar Tavern.
OK, we see that smirk on your face when we say Chesty’s, but before you go running down to the ATM to get a fistful of dollar bills you have to listen to the story – and the only reason you’ll be using those dollar bills is because the prices at Chesty’s are so reasonable.
Owners Heather and Landon McCauley say the first thing you have to know is that Chesty’s honors all the soldiers who are willing to lay down their lives for our country. And that is part of why they give so much to the community and to all people in the armed forces. It is also why the prices stay so low because Chesty’s strives to keep their prices affordable for the average person.
So, why the name Chesty’s?
IF YOU GO
Where: Chesty’s Blue Collar Tavern, 20 S. State St., Girard.
Hours: 4 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday; 1 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. Wednesday; 3 to 10 p.m. Sunday.
Number of burgers: 2, ($4.50-$5)
Info: chestysbluecollattavern.; 330-545-802
Grade: 4 stars (out of five)
It is in memory of one of the most dedicated war heroes in history, Lt. Gen. Lewis Burwell “Chesty” Puller. He was an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps and the most decorated Marine in history. The only Marine to be awarded five Navy Crosses, and an enlisted man for 37 years, he served at sea for all but 10 of those years that included a hitch as commander of the “Horse Marines” in China.
Puller won a total of 14 personal decorations in combat, plus a long list of campaign medals, unit citation ribbons, and other awards. In addition to his Navy Crosses (the next highest decoration to the Medal of Honor for Naval personnel), he holds the Army equivalent, the Distinguished Service Cross.
There is only one burger on the menu, or two if you count the cheeseburger, called the Red Tail Burger, and you can customize each with cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, mayo, ketchup and mustard.
For 25 cents more you can add grilled mushrooms, and the meal is sided with chips and a pickle.
After we put our burger orders in, we took a stroll around the bar looking at each piece of memorabilia and listening to the different stories. The pieces come from friends, family and customers, who each have a story to tell.
The burgers arrived and we had to tear ourselves away from the displays to get down to burger business.
I had my Red Tail Burger with lettuce, tomato, onion, mayo and cheese. When I first saw one burger on the menu, my sensors were on alert not knowing what to expect. I was more than pleasantly satisfied. The burger was cooked exceptionally well.
It was juicy, and the toppings were fresh and crisp. Each bite brought more and more flavor and chef Shar Desimone did an excellent job on the grill, with a little help from Ron Dellisanti.
The burgers are more than worth the trip out, and this might be the only place you can fill my stomach for $5 – and I haven’t been able to do that since I was 5, and that was 45 years ago.
Scott remarked, “When we were first discussing and planning the Burgerguyz, this was the kind of place we were looking for. A small neighborhood bar with good burgers, Chesty’s checked all of the boxes for what we were looking for!”
JT added, “Heather and Landon are fantastic. What a wonderful tribute to our armed forces veterans. With all the uniforms, tactical gear, old photos and new prints, it’s like a military museum. It’s not a big menu at Chesty’s; it’s first and foremost a bar and it serves bar food. ‘It’s more of a convenience for our customers,’ I was told. I have to disagree, Shar. It’s awesome to get an old-fashioned, juicy burger! Sure, gourmet burgers are great, but a burger like this summons up memories of all the great backyard burgers I’ve had in my life. This is what a hamburger is. Traditionalists will really love this one.”
The entire crew at Chesty’s are some of the nicest people you will meet in the Mahoning Valley, from the owners to the chefs and bar staff. Heather and Landon like to support the armed forces in any way possible. They donate to the DAV (Disabled American Veterans) and do various events at the bar to celebrate all persons in the military.
Chesty’s is truly a bar for the blue-collar worker. The prices are beyond fair and there are specials throughout the week, especially on Tuesdays and Thursdays when you can get two tacos for $2.50 – and that keeps the kitchen hopping on those days. Chesty’s has entertainment three times a week with no cover charge.
Keep reading the Vindy food articles, now on Sundays. You can read past articles at Vindy.com or Burgerguyz.com