Dining out: La Center Tavern gets back to basics

Under new ownership, basic bar fare takes spotlight



Why: Newly reopened after an ownership change, the La Center Tavern offers a straightforward bar menu served in one of the town’s original buildings.

Atmosphere: The bar and backbar establish the La Center Tavern as a place to go and hang out, watch the game and perhaps unwind after conquering the challenges of the day. All ages are welcome until 8 p.m., though the walkway next to the bar is separated from the bistro-style dining area by a nylon pull tape, clearly designating the bar side for the 21-and-over crowd.

What I tried: I decided on the pizza, topped with half pepperoni and the other half cheese, and my dining companion settled on the BLT.

Sadie & Josie’s Bakery, also in La Center, supplies the tavern with the pizza dough, which renders a very soft crust pizza. Although I prefer a crispy crust, those who don’t will enjoy the pie’s texture. In addition to the cheese, which is mostly mozzarella with a bit of cheddar, toppings are limited to pepperoni, sausage and Canadian bacon, though you won’t find them listed on the menu. The pepperoni slices are large and mild. The sauce is sparsely applied and it has a fresh tomato-y quality.

My dining companion was satisfied with the BLT. The sandwich was made with sourdough bread and it had a good balance of ingredients. The tomatoes were fresh and the bacon was thick enough to be sandwich-worthy.

Highlights beyond what I tried: Deep-fried appetizers, such as mozzarella sticks, chicken strips and popcorn chicken, are typical. Entrees include a patty melt, fish ’n’ chips and a pulled pork sandwich. Basic garden and Caesar salads are on the menu, and sandwiches include grilled cheese, turkey and ham and cheese in addition to the BLT.

Other observations: Since the change of ownership, the vibe of the La Center Tavern has taken on a more family-friendly feeling. The menu now offers simpler fare than in the past, when items such as shepherd’s pie and Irish stew were offered.

Cost: The most expensive menu item is the Cheese Pizza for $10.99. Other menu items are all under $9, with most in the $5 to $8 range.

Hours: Noon to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, noon to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday.

Telephone: 360-263-9920

Where: 107 E. Fourth St., La Center.

Health score: The La Center Tavern has received a preopening inspection and is due for a routine inspection in the near future. For more information, call Clark County Public Health at 360-397-8428.