“They’ve got transfusions,” my girlfriend said in a seemingly calm voice. I looked up to see the mischievous grin spreading across her face and knew her tone was hiding her genuine excitement. She let out a tiny squeal and I immediately went to texting the boo, convincing him that the short Uber ride to Pinhouse on Central Avenue was well worth tearing him away from the comfort of Hogwarts Legacy.
No matter the event or occasion, I’m usually the boo’s No. 1 scout. As the less-introverted of the two, I suss out the venue, examine the drink and food options, and determine everyone’s level of inebriation. If the formula feels just right, I give him the green flag to venture forward. A b-day with girlfriends at an unfamiliar bar definitely called for a bit of recon. First up, snacks.
“There will be a food truck there,” rarely puts my mind at ease when I’m heading to hang with friends at a brewery on an empty stomach. In fact, it usually conjures an obsessive-compulsive desire to hide leftovers in my purse or frantically Google every potential option en route. But a quick review of Pinhouse’s IG delivered a post featuring two odd-looking Korean corn dogs. The first was dusted in neon red Hot Cheetos and the other was peppered with small chunks of potato.
My interest piqued, I prepared to venture into the unknown while hangry.
Though Pinhouse’s neighbor, Lulu’s Maryland-Style Chicken and Seafood, closed its doors at the beginning of the year, I remember thinking it didn’t feel lonely as I pulled up, just waiting to be full.
“Pinhouse, live music, self serve, and duckpin” inscribed on the creamy white brick provides a stark contrast to the black-framed windows surrounding the front door on a sunny day.
Instead of going straight in, I opted to take the stairwell to the left of the entrance down to the “back patio” area where my friends and the b-day girl were waiting.
From the front parking lot, you may not realize Pinhouse is two stories, but as you round the corner at the bottom of the stairs, the showstopper IMO is a charming double-decker walkout patio on the backside of the building.
At 3 p.m. on a Saturday, it was obvious that I wasn’t the only one thinking it was a wee bit early for day drinking despite the warm weather. There were only a handful of patrons peppered throughout, but for some reason, it still felt cozy — like hanging in a rich homie’s backyard complete with TVs, background music, plenty of seating, table umbrellas, cornhole, and of course, puppies. Needless to say, the “vibes” were a go.
Even on an “I-think-I’m-shvitzing-sitting-still” warm weather day, this cold-natured baby’s eyes are always drawn to a snug corner like the one my friends were waving me over to from right next to the patio fireplace. But after a few minutes of hellos (wherein I confirmed we were still on a sober-ish pace), I noted the scrunched brows and sweat sheen building and knew not to get attached while touring duckpin bowling and the 70+ taps that *fingers crossed* held a cider I would like.
That’s when I realized something was missing from my new outdoor living room: the food truck. Gasp! Dare I ask if it was coming soon? I shuddered at the thought of hearing, “No sorry, they’re not here today.” Hanger settled in as the b-day girl confirmed my fears that Cutting Board CLT was actually at Resident Culture. *insert a blood-curdling, “Noooo!” before a fade to black*
But before my hangritude could rear its ugly head I went to the food truck’s IG to confirm which Resident Culture they were going to be at and it was at the Plaza Midwood location just across the street. (They’re at Pinhouse on Thursdays and Saturdays, Resident Culture on Central on Sundays, and Hopfly in South End on Fridays for future reference.)
Crisis averted, I volunteered as tribute to pick up an online group order. The food bag was secured and the boyfriend was on the way.
Upon my return, I delivered the greasy bags with corn dog sticks protruding and everyone’s now tipsy squints were teeming with excitement. I unwrapped the foil as carefully as if I were Charlie holding the golden ticket to reveal a hot, crispy wiener the color of Red Dye 40 filled with meat and oozing cheese.
Grunts of satisfaction were the only sounds of note between each crunchy bite. When everyone finally lifted their heads, all that was left was squished mustard and ketchup packets and one of Tide’s worst enemies: Hot Cheeto dust.
Become a Nerve Member: Get better connected and become a member of Queen City Nerve to support local journalism for as little as $5 per month. Our community journalism helps inform you through a range of diverse voices.
This work by Queen City Nerve is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.