Thursday, April 09, 2009

Baseball Place No. 45: Joe DiMaggio's Italian Chophouse; and 45A) Montgomery Inn

There’s no truth to the rumor that we tried to open the frame holding a Tom Seaver Reds jersey at the famous Montgomery Inn so we could rub our hands on its polyester glory.

Oh, sure, we contemplated it. That was back in 2002 at we embarked on our second Executive Game, taking in games in Dayton and then Riverfront – OK, Cinergy Field, if you insist -- in its final year.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Josh Pahigian is taking us to Joe DiMaggio’s Italian Chophouse in San Francisco for spot No. 45 in his “101 Baseball Places to See Before You Strike Out.”

Damned if I know why.

It’s not like DiMaggio ever set foot in the place. He died in 1999, and the restaurant opened in 2006.

The company owns it specializes in celebrity themed restaurants. Josh says this is the most upscale of the company’s places. It sounds like the memorabilia consists of old photographs.


I’m starting to doubt Josh’s cred as a Red Sox fan. He seems to be bending over backward to list Yankee shrines, even pretend ones like this.

Naturally, I have no intention of checking out this place, so I’m offering up:

Alternative Place No. 45A) Montgomery Inn, Montgomery , Ohio

Like I was saying, we headed to Cincy for our second Executive Game, and Will noted that it would only be proper to start our adventure at the most famous rib place in the state.

And while there are several Montogmery Inns now – and even concession stands in Great American Ballpark – Will insisted that we needed to dine at the original, where Ted “Rib King” Gregory first concocted the amazing sauce to coat the pork.

After picking up Scott, we headed over to Montgomery, a Cincinnati suburb. The restaurant is kind of unassuming on the outside. But the interior is a spectacular show of wall-to-wall framed jerseys, most of them signed.

It’s almost hard to hold a conversation in the place because my eyes were constantly drifting some new treasure revealed above someone else’s table.

The waitress came and took our orders, and both Will and Scott requested a side of Gregory’s special sauce and suggested I do the same. Don’t the ribs come covered in sauce?
We dined at the Montgomery Inn concession stand at Great American last year. This is a pulled-pork sandwich, with an extra container of sauce, of course.

The side cup was for dipping, they replied. Of course, they were correct because that sauce is amazing. I was dipping the chips and bread, and would have probably dipped my salad, too, had I saved some.

The one slight disappointment was that I didn’t see a jersey for the greatest played every to step on a mound wearing a Reds home uniform, and that would be Tom Seaver. Everyone else was there.

But why would I doubt? Tom was in a place of prominence, a high-traffic area near the door. Alas, it was well-protected from out sauce-stained fingers.

We had a great time in Dayton, and I don’t think any of us hit a concession stand for food after our Montgomery Inn visit.

And Cinergy/Riverfront the next day was a thrill. It was looking almost Shea-like with its outfield seats removed and the new park rising just beyond the wall.

There was much joy when I discovered bottles of Montgomery Inn sauce in my local supermarket.

I confess that when I’m grilling at home, I fill a little cup with sauce and take it out to the grill with a slice of bread, dipping away as dinner cooks.

The Executive Board gathering in 2002: Will, Scott, me, Steve and Jim.


Anonymous said...

With no due respect, Josh is a Joe D. twit.

May I present, Alternate Site 45B: The Cape Cod Room at the Drake Hotel, Chicago.

The Cape Cod is a schmance joint and pretty dang good. My current galpal treated me to a birthday dinner a few years back, but the thing she particularly wanted to show me was the bar. For on it, carved into the wood more than 50 years ago are the initials JD and MM for, well, if you don't know, why are you reading this blog? Apparently America's First Couple of the Fifties had spent an evening at the Drake and the bartender asked them to inscribe their initials with a penknife. Done, and you can see something the legends actually did as opposed to tchotchkes you can find onlin or at any really big card show.


Mets Guy in Michigan said...

Sweet! Oh man, we need to check that out nest time, after we find the batcolumn.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I know where the batcolumn is. It's close to the train station where my commuter line originates.