Chow down for charity at Maer’s BBQ

Dominick Constantino, Staff Writer

A new restaurant has come to downtown Wilkes-Barre. Recently moving into the former location of Tony Thomas’ Deli, Maer’s BBQ off the Square can be found  at 50 S. Main St.

For a BBQ restaurant, Maer’s has a lot of menu options. I was debating between a pork BBQ and a sandwich called “The Monster.” The Monster is a half-pound bacon cheeseburger served between two grilled cheese sandwiches and topped with lettuce and tomato. I love hamburgers and especially love grilled cheese so I was leaning toward this. However, I figured since I was at a barbecue restaurant, I should try one of their barbecue sandwiches.

My pork barbecue was delicious. It came on a toasted bun with a high pile of pork. I’ve eaten at many different places that serve barbecue and Maer’s definitely wins the award for putting the most amount of meat on a bun. The pork itself was nice and tender. I topped it with Maer’s own barbecue sauce, which was sweet with a subtle smoky taste. I was getting full just eating the sandwich!

Sandwiches and wraps at Maer’s come with fresh-cut chips and a small side of coleslaw. The chips were wonderful. The barbecue rub seasoning on the chips made them really tasty. Fresh-cut chips that I’ve had in the past had no taste and some were even soggy. This was not the case with Maer’s chips. I really enjoyed their thin and crispy texture.

I like creamy coleslaw so I was hesitant to try Maer’s, which is dry with some sort of clear dressing instead of a creamy mayonnaise-based sauce as many of us are used to. I did try it nevertheless and have to admit it was pretty good.

Beacon Advertising Manager Brittany Battista joined me, ordering a buffalo chicken flatbread. Her flatbread was topped with grilled chicken tossed in a spicy buffalo sauce with cheese on top. She thought it was going to be similar to a sandwich, but she described it as being more like chicken-wing pizza. The flatbread itself was the perfect size. The toppings on the flatbread were a little spicy, but very good. If you like something with a little kick to it, then you should definitely try this.

The service here was phenomenal. Our waitress was very nice and was constantly checking on us. Throughout our meal, several other employees stopped by and asked us how our food came out. The atmosphere was definitely warm. It was easy to tell that the employees truly care about everyone that walks through the door.

Other items on the menu include ribs, brisket, burgers, salads and a variety of appetizers, including barbecue-stuffed quesadillas. The restaurant has great hours for college students, open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. most weeknights and to 3 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.

Until Saturday, Feb. 18, Maer’s is  running a promotion to raise money for the American Cancer Society. They are challenging Wilkes students to go head-to-head against other local colleges to see who can eat the most barbecue, with the winner earning a $40 gift certificate and free drinks for their entire school for the month. For more information (including the full menu), visit facebook.com/pages/Maers-BBQ-off-the-Square.

3.5 stars out of 5