The first thing you need to know about Merle’s Place is that there’s nothing corporate about it. Nothing corporate about the no-nonsense waitress who knows the menu backwards and forwards and is working the whole place by herself on a busy poker night. Nothing corporate about the well-worn but clean dive bar atmosphere with deep booths, dark wood tables and an old jukebox. And finally, there is nothing corporate about the food.
Which brings me to the second thing to know before you go to Merle’s for the first time: If you’re going to eat, get a sandwich.
ON THE MENU: The must-have items on the Merle’s menu are found under “Sandwich Creations.” Our server recommended the Reuben, served warm on soft, dark rye bread and piled high with delicious corned beef. Her other suggestion was the Turkey Bacon Ranch, also served warm with gooey gouda and wrapped in a garlic tortilla. We also tried the Streamliner, which is made of soft wheat bread piled high with turkey, alfalfa sprouts and lettuce with a layer of avocado spread. Patrons can also create their own sandwiches from a variety of bread, spread, cheese, meat and veggie options.
AMBIANCE: Merle’s has a homey feel. The main dining room includes many booths and large tables as well as bar seating. The back room has several pool tables, along with a shuffleboard table. There is also additional seating in the back room.
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PRICE RANGE: Sandwiches run $5 for a half or $6 for a whole and come with a side of green salad, chips or zesty pasta salad. There is also a “pick two” option for $6, which offers the choice of half a sandwich, a cup of soup or chili, or half of any salad. We tried the homemade ham and potato soup, which was creamy and flavorful.
SERVICE: As mentioned, there was only one server on the night we dined, but she was clearly very skilled and was attentive all night.