Aug 16, 2016
One might expect a restaurant called The North Pole to feature and entire menu of Christmas-themed offerings. Eggnog ice cream, anyone? What about reindeer sausage (sorry, Rudolph)?
But thatâs not what youâll find at The North Pole Restaurant and Party House, 243 South Swan St. Instead youâll see a manifest of classic American comfort food. And at the center of it all is the signature dish: meatloaf.
Surrounded by a residential neighborhood, The North Pole is housed in the former St. Nickâs Club. And it maintains the community feel.
âWe try to keep it as a family establishment,â said Chris Bardol, who runs the restaurant with his sister, Jennifer, and their father, Raymond. âWe try to keep things homemade and family friendly.â
Thatâs why they go with comfort food. And is there a better example of American comfort food than meatloaf? Not likely.
The meatloaf â all 1 pound of it â comes on a platter with two huge scoops of mashed potatoes. Itâs all slathered with brown gravy to make the dish look like an erupting volcano. Itâs the kind of plate your grandmother would serve you, especially if she, like most grandmothers, believes a full belly is a happy belly.
âI want people to order this and say âWow, thatâs a lot of food,ââ Bardol said. âI donât want them to say âThatâs it.â Theyâre getting their moneyâs worth.â
The meatloaf is prepared traditionally with chunks of onion and bell peppers. Itâs seasoned well with a crunchy exterior and moist interior. Then thereâs the gravy, which is thick and rich.
âWhen my mom made it, it was always ketchup. It was just meatloaf with ketchup,â Bardol joked. âWe had to learn how to make the gravy.â
A staple on the American dinner table, meatloaf is not seen as much in restaurants as it once was. But the North Pole keeps it to help create its family atmosphere. And itâs one of the top sellers.
Bardol, who has a culinary arts degree from Robert Morris University, worked with a friend in the restaurant business to create the recipes for the meatloaf and all of the different sauces served in the restaurant.
âWe try to keep it a family environment,â Bardol said. âYou donât have to dress up to come here. Bring your family for a good meal at a reasonable price.â
The meatloaf sells for $10.99.
By MATT KRUEGER, Batavia Daily News