Last week, we introduced you to Aurora, Indiana, a small river town on the western edge of Greater Cincinnati.
Today, thanks to Third and Main, we're back for seconds.
In the "hidden gem" sweepstakes, there's no restaurant more deserving — that is, more gem-like — than this Aurora staple. It sits in a gorgeous brick building that would be at home among Pendleton's row houses. More importantly, the beer and wine lists are fully stocked, the servers are friendly, and both bar and patio settings are delightful.
But then we come to the hiddenness. Third and Main is, indeed, off the beaten path. West Side folk will have less trouble getting there than Downtowners or those as far as Loveland. But wherever your starting point, you'll want to block out an evening.
Start with the bacon cheeseburger potato skins, which are every bit as wonderful as they sound. Then head for the charred tomato bisque, which comes with several delicious grilled cheese bites.
If you're in the mood for a burger, you're in luck. Third and Main's are a blend of Angus beef and fresh-ground short rib. They incorporate the ingredients in the patty, so (for example) you'll be enjoying that blue cheese and portabella with every bite. And that example — blue cheese and portabella — would be the winner here were it not for the sublimity of the poblano cilantro and queso blanco burger.
As for the entrees, their weekly special got high marks from the wife. It was a garlic and citrus-rubbed wild bronzini with Mediterranean orzo. I went for the seafood pasta; it was delicious, as were the two Chesapeake Bay oysters we ordered. (I believe the word you're searching for is "gluttony.")
ODDS N’ ENDS
It’s obvious a lot of thought went into the interior design of Third and Main. Everything from the exposed brick to the old photographs to the restored bar (c. 1891) evokes a sense of history.
The outdoor patio is top notch, especially in the June weather. The owner says it was designed to be reminiscent of a southern garden, though I would liken it more to the patios you’d find at an English pub near Slough or Staines.
Lastly, Third and Main often has live music in the evening on weekends. I didn’t get to experience it first hand, but the music has gotten positive reviews from those who’ve seen it. Could be worth planning your dinner around.
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For more information about Third and Main, visit their website.