Don’t Whistle Past The Whistle
Tips, Burgers, Wings, Ribs, and A Great Bar Pie
By The BaldOne
The time has come for us to welcome The Tin Whistle to the wonderful world of Salem Digest. We have been featuring local eateries for four years now, and finally…. finally Salem Digest has come to The Tin Whistle. It is our pleasure to collaborate with them in an effort to make both this little local social media entity and their wonderful little Jefferson Avenue restaurant the best that we can be.
Nowadays you hear a lot of place call themselves a neighborhood spot. It’s a wonderful term that has been hijacked by modern marketing minds in order to create a certain aura for a restaurant. That is all well and good, but the fact is that true neighborhood spots have become few and far between. The Whistle is one of them. Situated in the middle of the Castle Hill neighborhood, they draw many of the locals who live within walking, or very short driving distance. Various folks from all over the city are also known to populate the bar. If you want to experience the old Salem crowd, you will certainly be able to do that. But, the new Salem crowd, at least those that want to exprience all that Salem has to offer knows The Whistle too.
The space is small with a two sided bar that seats about 12 centered in the front of the room. Booths and tables are on the right hand side, with a couple of high tops on the other side, where you will find a small pool table and the dart board. You could call it quaint or rustic. You can even say that it appears unpolished. We describe it as an austere and homespun spot where you can put your feet up and not feel out of place.
The menu features some items that are typical and expected in local pubs. Burgers, steak tips, and starters like chicken wing, potato skins, and nachos. The Whistle however, exceeds those expectation with some other additions. Their salad selection starts with the typical garden style plate, but also offers a Caesar, grilled romaine, and a chicken kabob. There are a variety of burger creations available, along with a Steak Tip Sub that can be had “Whistle Style” with peppers, onions, and mushrooms, and also Chicken Kabob Sub or wrap Wrap. Entrees include their classic Whistle Steak tips, a Cajun Chicken Alfredo, and Baked Mac & Cheese.
A bar pizza is also available, and we want to talk about that. You can get one your way with a custom choice of toppings, or you can get one of their four speciality pies. On our first visit not that long ago ,we went for the Bacon Double Cheeseburger Pie. Yes you read that right, Bacon Double Cheeseburger. This pizza comes with ground beef topped with American and mozzarella cheeses, tomatoes, and bacon. The sauce underneath all of that is called Cheeseburger Sauce, a mixture of mustard and ketchup, and pickles. It was surprisingly good. The next time we get a pie it will be the Shrimp Scampi, a white pie with garlic butter.
On another visit the cheeseburger and steak tips were on the agenda. Knowing how to cook a burger, especially one hand rolled to order is critical today. No matter how you order it, you want it done right. The Whistle knows how to do a proper medium-rare. If they mis-step, which happens to the best, don’t be shy. Our burger was tasty and juicy. Instead of fries we asked for a side of the steamed broccoli which they prepare with a healthy dose of diced garlic. In a world where everybody wants to declare everything the “best” we don’t play that silly game. The term itself when it comes to food is subjective at best, regardless of what any of the experts or nattering nabobs may declare. These marinated tips at The Whistle are as good as anybodies and surely better than most.
Our last visit was with the Ladies Night Out group, as notorious and infamous a group of characters that have ever graced our city. We visited on a Thursday, which is Rib Night. The Baby Back Ribs are without a doubt a star of the menu. Tender, very tasty, and worth every moment needed to wipe the sauces from you fingers. We highly recommend the house-made Bourbon BBQ sauce for both the ribs and the chicken wings which are also very good. They also serve a Carolina Gold mustard based sauce which pleases #TheBaldOne greatly.
The Whistle features a full bar with cold beer, a wine selection, and great cocktails. A fresh selection of draft beer and ciders are there for your consideration.
Our plan is to continue to explore The Whistle moving forward. If you’re old Salem and owe them an overdue visit, get on it. If you’re newer to town, then it’s time to experience some great food at an old place that is keeping up with the times by offering great food.