Friday, June 18, 2010

First Thoughts On Twist & Turn Tavern

Highland got a new restaurant when the Twist & Turn Tavern opened, promising a neighborhood pub.  I haven't visited yet, but Amber emailed with some first thoughts.  She went Tuesday night for half-priced burgers, which sounds right for a neighborhood pub.  Of course, one of the burgers was bison:

I went to Twist and Turn Tavern with my boyfriend and his sister for half-price burger night.  First of all, the burgers were really good. I had the mushroom and swiss Angus burger, ordered medium, and it actually CAME medium!  I was so pleasantly surprised, as that rarely happens. My boyfriend tried the bison burger, which he loved, and his sister seemed to like her turkey burger as well. The onion rings are obviously made there and definitely have a lot of beer flavor in the batter. Not so sure the sweet potato fries were fresh, but they were good.
Now the bad: the restaurant is obviously new. The table next to us ordered five burgers, but the server only put in the order for four. The guy without food ended up leaving without eating, and they brought out his food in a to-go box later. Here's hoping they comped it, too. Two of our meals came with the sides reversed, which the server acknowledged but made no effort to fix, so we awkwardly picked up our burgers and shuffled plates. It was no big deal, but I was surprised that he didn't offer to take it back to the kitchen to fix.
The place was packed by the time we got our food. It's not super big inside, and the tables are very close together and cramped. Many people came in and ate at the bar since they couldn't get a table. Unfortunately there isn't really any place to stand and wait for a table without being uncomfortably close to someone eating. I think the restaurant would benefit from a vestibule being built on the outside, as some tables are pretty close to the door and I can see it getting really cold in the winter. The restaurant was also VERY noisy--it's all wood inside, so there aren't any sound dampeners. It was nearly impossible to hear our own table for conversation.  The service was also very, very slow, but that's to be expected during the first week of service.
We're uncertain if sides are charged or free with burgers--we got two with sweet potato fries and one with onion rings, and only one of the fries was charged ($2). We didn't ask because we were in a rush to get out of there (and, honestly, didn't want to have to pay a few bucks more if they were mistakenly left off the bill. We are bad people.).
That said, the food was pretty great, and for $5.50 a burger on Tuesday nights, I will definitely be back.
Looking forward to hearing others' opinions!

And so am I.

Twist & Turn Tavern
13380 Clarksville Pike (Rte 108)
Highland, MD  20777

NEAR: This is on Rte 108 just north of Rte 216.  It's an easy ride from Laurel, Fulton, Clarksville or points west.  And easy enough from Columbia.  If you go to Highland, check out Boarman's Meat Market at the corner of Rte 108 and Rte 216.  They make their own sausage and crab cakes.


Anonymous said...

We were there last Friday, and it was packed and loud. We were told a table would be ready in 15-20 minutes, but we actually ended up waiting in the bar for about 50 minutes. The beer selection was OK and is served in huge 22 oz. glasses, which eased the wait somewhat.

The food was probably the biggest disappointment. I had a steak sandwich which was a little undercooked and was missing the side of au jus. My wife's turkey sandwich on the other hand was awful.

I'm going to chalk it up to their being new, and I'll certainly return. Hopefully by the next visit they'll have settled down and can focus on what looks like a promising menu.

Trip Klaus said...

I went by to have a beer at lunch on the 10th. They were packed and I sat at the bar for 15 minutes and nobody even tried to serve me so I left. Which was ok since the beers they had were woeful.

I'll return to give the food a try, but not very promising.

Dianne said...

I checked out their website and their 'happy hour' prices are double what The Second Chance Saloon charges. I guess I'll stay in Columbia.

Gene said...

I went there about 5 PM on a Thursday. Crowded, loud, with poor accoustics. I ordered a gin and tonic and it was light on the gin as I watched the bartender make it. Not good. I didn't eat but looked at the menu. $11 for hamburger seems kind of steep for a sports bar. It's good to have a place like this on the way home from work. I hope they can make improvements and be successful. Right now, I won't go back.

Anonymous said...

Twist and Turn is awesome. Yeah, the service needs to work on some kinks, but it's only been open for 3 weeks! The food is upscale tavern, and the atmosphere is always fun and relaxed. A great addition to Highland! The historic pictures of the town on the walls are neat. The decor is tastefully done and ties in the local history of the community. I definetly WILL and HAVE recommended it to friends and family, and am already looking forward to stopping by again!

Anonymous said...

The Tavern concept works for me, but the food is poor at best. I've brought several of my friends on different days and none want to go back. They all complained about the food. I'll wait a few months before I give it another try.

Mo said...

We stumbled on this place this past weekend, on Sunday. It was a great place to catch the beginning of the game - a few TVs, no crowd, and wing/app specials. The bar had a nice feel to it.

The food was alright - what we had was nothing special, the burger was maybe a little more expensive than I usually see. ($11 for beef, though it does come with up to 3 free toppings). The wings were probably the best thing we had - spicy and crispy, on special 8 for $6.50 (normally $9).

They do make their own chips, which are way better than the fries. Go for the chips. They are tasty.

I was not thrilled with the service. It might have been inexperience on the part of the server. It took us about 90 minutes to get in and out, because the kitchen backed up - with only about a dozen people in the restaurant, this tells me they probably need another person in back, too.

If you're going this winter, bring a sweater. It's a small place, so you feel the draft when the doors open.

Anonymous said...

I live nearby like most of the patrons. It is nice to have a place to go where everyone knows one another.

They serve homemade potato chips at the bar while offering up a full bar with a good beer selection.

The food is decent and as one would expect from a pub or tavern. They hit especially well on the burgers; and the fish & chips are great too. The burgers are cooked to your liking and they won't leave you hungry. I've also had the steak and it did not disappoint.

A great local watering hole. It is not a place that many will seek out from far away places, however, if you are seeking a place where meeting friendly people is a priority, then this place will certainly not disappoint.