Dine or Decline: Hotel Solsville’s A.E. Dixon’s Irish Pub

Dine or Decline: Hotel Solsville's A.E. Dixon's Irish Pub

Maggie Carey

Once again, Mother Nature wreaked havoc on my plans to try out a restaurant in New Hartford. Due to the inclement weather, my roommate and I postponed our plans in favor of a closer ven­ue the following day. After a lengthy search on the Internet for a restaurant that is open on a Sunday and located close to Colgate, we settled on Hotel Solsville’s A.E. Dixon’s Irish Pub (7243 Valley Rd, Madison NY). I never could have foreseen the evening that lay ahead of me during the 10-minute drive over.

When my GPS reported that we had arrived, my roommate pointed out that we were at a biker bar. However, we quickly became aware that this was no ordinary biker bar, as 10 snow­mobiles revved their engines and sped down the road, Central New York’s version of a biker gang. My roommate and I entered the bar laughing to find a crowd of 20 people, all over the age of 40, ripping shots, clapping and screaming the lyrics to the blaring jukebox that apparently was programmed to play every classic country and ’80s karaoke song. We are talking about a medley of AC/DC, Michael Jackson, Kenny Chesney and Toby Keith. Our waitress later explained that despite the fact that it was a Sunday night, none of them have work tomorrow because it was President’s Day and they wanted to celebrate. Why does this group of 40-year-olds have wilder plans than me, a second semester senior?

Comforted by the knowledge that “Jug behavior” does not have to end at our graduation in May, my roommate and I made our way to the extremely casual dining area. Here we found a menu titled “Snowmobile Menu.” Struggling to keep a straight face, we looked over the list of fryer items ($1.99 to $8.99) and decided for the sake of providing a high quality review it would be best if we ordered the Hodge Podge. This included a sampling of every fried piece of deliciousness on the list, with sides of honey mustard, barbeque sauce, ketchup, ranch dressing and marinara sauce. The French fries, onion rings, fried mushrooms, chicken fingers, breaded ravioli, mozzarella sticks and jalapeno poppers were each delicious. We were delighted to find that the appetizers were perfectly crispy without being too greasy.

Even though our appetizer was large enough to be our entire meal, we greeted our entrees with giant smiles. My roommate ordered the grilled buffalo chicken sandwich with sweet potato fries. The grilled chicken was sand­wiched between a toasted homemade Kaiser roll, lettuce, tomato and the ultimate buffalo sauce. Needless to say, this sandwich did not disappoint. The term “sweet potato fries” also does not do justice to the beefy wedges of sweet potatoes that were piled high next to the sandwich.

My cheeseburger received similar accolades as the hand-packed burger was succulent per­fection. It was one of those burgers that was stacked so high you are unsure how to attack it. I paused for a second, then went with a classic maneuver. I cut it in half, pressed down on the toasted homemade Kaiser bun to make the burger, melted cheddar cheese, lettuce, to­matoes and onions a more compact and man­ageable size. As I dug in, success never tasted better. I would be lying if I said it took any convincing for my roommate to try the burger. Let the rave reviews continue.

What started out as a relaxed Sunday night dinner out at a casual pub turned into an ad­venture filled with a snowmobile gang, a group of 40-and 50-year-olds reliving their college glory days and some fantastic fried food. Simply put, A.E. Dixon’s Irish Pub offers the clas­sics done right. However, it is important to note that my roommate and I only looked at the Snowmobile Menu. Hotel Solsville also has an impressive dinner menu that offers a medley of beef, seafood and Italian favorites. After looking over the menu on our way out the door, my roommate and I have selfishly decided to try out the tempting dinner menu at a future date. We have also vowed to inquire about the “farm raised frog legs.” I will be sure to let you know how that adventure turns out! As for the pub menu, we highly recommend A.E. Dixon’s Irish Pub for a lively friendly dining experience filled with satisfying bar classics (though I cannot guarantee that my rowdy friends will still be there celebrating President’s Day).