By Sara Newberry
Full Circle Tavern (FCT) has been open in the Cedars neighborhood since 2013 and has become a neighborhood favorite. I have a feeling they’re looking at the same outcome for their new location in Lakewood Village. Occupying the space once home to the beloved Angelo’s (pour a Chianti out for Angelo’s) and, briefly, an outpost of beer-lovers haven The Gingerman (remember when they were the only place to get “weird” craft beers? Remember when craft beers were considered unusual?), FCT has already become a popular spot for parties as well as a destination for a casual weeknight dinner.
Both times I visited there were large parties in the dining room, celebrating birthdays or engagements, which bodes well for their staying power.
The menu is filled with bar food standards: there’s a burger, and several iterations of French fries, fried pickles, a few salads … nothing that’s breaking any new ground. But that can be comforting, especially when it’s done well, which it is here.
Fried pickles and pickled okra are a solid start to any meal, and here they have crisp, crumbly breading and are served with a just spicy enough chipotle ranch. Fried cheese curds are also a treat, resembling the fried mozzarella sticks of my childhood. A housemade marinara is fine for dipping cheese into. Poutine is a traditional version — none of the pulled pork or short ribs you’ll find elsewhere.
Sandwiches and burgers make up the majority of the dinner menu; you’ll find a mix of the familiar — a fancy grilled cheese and a BLT — alongside more uncommon choices like Thanksgiving on a Bun and po-boys.
The Spicy Fried Chicken sandwich, which arrives with honey mustard and pickle slaw, definitely has a kick, but isn’t so hot that I was in pain while I ate it. The slaw, creamy but tangy with vinegar, cuts the heat as well.
A buttery brioche bun pushes the sandwich to the next level. The Italian Stallion is FCT’s version of the French Dip, with savory Italian beef and provolone standing in for the roast beef and Swiss on the classic version.
A rich, salty broth is served alongside for dipping. FCT also offers two po-boys, a shrimp version and a crab cake version called the Jacques. We tried the crab cake version. While the cakes were crisp and well-flavored, they were mostly filler and not nearly enough crab.
The house burger at FCT is ridiculous, containing a pound of meat, cheese curds, bacon and a fried egg. While I’m sure I will give it a whirl at some point, this night I decided to exercise a tiny bit of control and chose the “build your own” option, adding grilled onions and Swiss cheese.
I was told that burgers at FCT were cooked medium, but mine was well done and then some. It was still tasty and well-seasoned, and the fries served on the side were crisp and salty.
Service is friendly and casual; I felt like a regular the first time I walked through the door. While the downstairs dining room is kid-friendly, the upstairs dining room and deck are adults-only, so FCT can be a destination for both a family dinner out and a date night.
Full Circle Tavern is definitely filling a niche in the neighborhood, occupying a space kind of halfway between White Rock Ale House and the Cock & Bull.
It’s just enough of a bar that you don’t feel strange just having a couple of drinks, but not so much that you don’t feel comfortable bringing the kids.
Full Circle Tavern
6341 La Vista Drive
11 a.m. to 10 p.m.,
Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., and Sunday
11 a.m. to 4 p.m.