Vintage Wood Fire restaurant – Erie, PA – Reviewer: Scott

Hello! Welcome back to Fat Guy Approved.

Many in the Erie area would be familiar with Sticks and Bricks food truck if they have been out to any of the summertime events here. They were always a solid decision for a great pizza. The owners now operate Vintage Wood Fire restaurant and catering as well and have greatly expanded their food offerings in their new location in Millcreek (3826 W 26th St – right near Powell Ave).

I drive past there fairly often and stopped in for lunch a few times recently. This review covers those three visits in the span of about three weeks. The owner, Keith Groff, recognized me from my repeated visits and took my order at the front counter each time before preparing my food.

After reviewing their extensive menu on my first visit I decided on the meatball sub with an order of mac and cheese. A good meatball sub is not always easy to find; few places seem to get all the elements correct so I find it to be a good indicator.

6″ Meatball Sub

Nicely toasted bun.  4 well-sized meatballs on a 6” sub (aka ‘the Subway standard’).  Sauce was a proper thickness and not watery, too sweet, or too acidic.  Meatballs themselves were tender, well-seasoned, and held together well. No real issue with slippage off the bun (held in place partially by a blanket of cheese).  Very much an above average meatball sub; one of the better ones I have had. Will definitely get this again!

Macaroni and Cheese (appetizer portion)

Very cheesy and creamy.  Not too salty.  Noodles perfectly cooked and not mushy.  The portion size of the appetizer is pretty large for one person as a side dish; better for sharing if two people get a main. Will have to try this with their barbecue offerings at some future visit.

10″ Small Pizza – Vintage Triple Decker

Pizza did not disappoint! Dough and crust were excellent – Chewy with crisp outside; everything you want in a fresh dough pizza. A slight char from the brick oven. Generous amount of toppings – pepperoni, sausage, and bacon. The 10″ pizza ended up being a nice meal size for one person (if you are me). This is a very solid pie and I highly recommend it.

An important message from your friends at Fat Guy Approved:

Life is too short to be buying pizza from some other ‘pizza places’ that use a premade shell! (Looking at you Valerio’s, etc). If you are paying for pizza get real pizza like what is described above; not toppings thrown onto a cracker and fed through a conveyor oven. Unless maybe you are having a kid’s birthday party or feeding a bunch of other people you don’t like much or who don’t know any better. /rant

*we now return you to your regularly scheduled food review already in progress

Smoked Wings – 10 Honey Cajun Parmesan

After reviewing the wing flavors on offer I asked for a recommendation and these were suggested. I am not a chicken wing purist and will try just about any flavor combination as long as its not ‘burn your face off’ levels of spicy. Life is not always a food challenge though it can feel like that sometimes. The honey cajun parmesan could have had a bit more cajun seasoning and it would have been fine by me.

Skin was not rubbery but not crispy either (this is normal for a smoked wing). The smoking process desiccates the skin but is not high temperature enough to crisp the skin like a deep fryer or render out the sub-cutaneous fat in most cases.  Wings were a good size and meaty. Not terribly smoky but again that is the nature of a smoked wing; between the skin acting as a barrier and the short time on the smoke it just cannot get that much of the smoke flavor penetrating the meat.  Wings arrived quickly as they would have been smoked ahead of time and maybe kept in a warmer? That is what typical BBQ places do with their meats, at least. The sauce I found to be pleasant if too mild for my tastes. Will try something different next time. While not bad wings by any stretch I would say they were my least favorite menu item I have had so far.

Available Wing Sauces:

Sweet BBQ, Vintage Hot BBQ, Honey Cajun Parmesan, Parmesan Garlic, Dry Ranch Rub, Dry Cajun Rub, Mild Buffalo, Vintage Hot Buffalo, Honey BBQ, Dry Cranch, Butter & Garlic, Dry Cranch Parmesan, Butter & Parmesan and Plain

In today’s world of chicken wing prices that have never returned to ‘normal’ a dollar a wing at a restaurant is certainly doing okay. That is current price at Vintage Wood Fire at time of this review. Wing orders are in 10 wing increments.


The food is well prepared and you can tell they really care about the quality they are putting out. Vintage Wood Fire has a good variety of menu options available too – really something for everyone. I will definitely be stopping in for more lunches as time goes on and definitely recommend you give them a try. I have already pointed a few people their way who had not heard of them yet. Lets try to change that!

I have not tried their BBQ offerings as of yet but plan to in the near future.

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