I have been debating with some people over whether I should call Piscazzi’s Merchant Tavern in the valley a “family restaurant.”
See, my cousin’s husband’s nephew (who likely would not recognize me if out and about) owns the place. My cousin argues that I could refer to the owner simply as my cousin’s nephew, but that feels weird because I don’t know if my cousin’s husband sees me as a cousin. With so many things, my neuroses get in the way. It would be easier to claim a familial relationship with the Mediterranean salmon salad and the toasted angel food cake at Piscazzi’s Merchant Tavern because I love those things just as much as I love my cousins.
All I am trying to say, dear reader, is that you can trust my journalistic integrity as a famous bathroom reviewer (“Everyone knows that and it almost wouldn’t even have to be said.”). I would never give a place a higher rating than it deserves just because the owner may or may not be my cousin’s husband’s nephew. It’s not like I’m getting free toilet paper out of these reviews or even symbolic/karmic toilet paper (if that’s a thing).
The bathrooms closest to the bar are not unisex, or at least are not labeled as unisex. They are single-person bathrooms, so they might as well be unisex. The room felt oddly quiet. Walking in the bathroom, I felt completely and immediately shut off from the mostly Black Keys soundtrack in the dining room. However, I could hear the wait staff perfectly. So if I could hear them, I bet they could hear me. Comforting. The walls in here look thin, like this room is an addition, but I’m not a wall expert so don’t take my word for it. I think all bathrooms should have exhaust fans or at least the sound of an exhaust fan.
I swore the last time I was here, the bathrooms were unisex. Is there a second set of bathrooms by the other dining area? I almost asked our waiter but I didn’t want anyone to get suspicious and think they were getting a visit from Urine Luck or the bathroom police. I get weird about asking questions, which is part of what makes me a perfect bathroom reviewer.
One thing I love about the Merchant Tavern is all the vibrant and big artwork hanging around the dining areas. Because of this, the bathroom artwork looks more conventionally like “bathroom art” than I would expect. I would like some more adventurous artwork in here.
Next to the toilet is a black and white photo of the West Point Market. An ad for Norka soda is painted on the side of the building in the photo. This feels pretty “Akron” to me, and I am okay with that. If I owned a place in the valley, I would have juvenile artwork, like pictures of the main outfall sewer pipe on Merriman and Riverview roads.
This bathroom has all the normal stuff: toilet, sink, paper towels, soap and trash can. Everything works and nothing smells bad. The toilet paper was well-stocked. I didn’t see any extra rolls in the thin metal shelf in the corner, but I bet they are hanging out somewhere. The thin metal shelf had a few empty wicker-type baskets, which partially proves my pointless theory that people like to have empty baskets sitting around for no reason.
Overall, I like this bathroom (my cousin paid me $2,000 to say this) and it felt decently clean for a Sunday evening. I’m awarding a 4 out of 5 toilets.
Piscazzi’s Merchant Tavern
1824 Merriman Rd
Akron, OH 44313
Emily is actually perfectly willing to accept karmic rolls of toilet paper.
Brubaker’s Pub in Montrose
Well, here we are, another month, another bathroom. This time, I decided to go back to my 20s and really class it up at Brubaker’s Pub in Montrose. I’d say it’s an old haunt of mine, but having gone there five or six times a year a while ago probably doesn’t actually classify it as such.
Anyone who has been to the different Brubaker’s locations around Akron knows they are not one in the same. While the downtown location has stepped up its game and now seems to have a shinier interior with a classier crowd, the Montrose location is still the same as it was before.
The night I went to Bru’s–that’s what we called it back in the day — the clientele consisted of a few middle-aged loners and then a group of friends who were engaging in a lot of alcohol-fueled PDA that made me worry they would fall off of their stools. The customers were few, but it was a Wednesday.
In the dark, Brubaker’s in Montrose is fine. It is a standard bar trying to be an Irish pub and not succeeding. In the light, I think it might be a little gross. The bathroom, however, is always generously illuminated by a flickering fluorescent light panel on the ceiling. Unfortunately, this bathroom isn’t one you want illuminated. Or maybe it is so you can avoid it. Then again, you’re at a bar, so you don’t have many other options.
Brubaker’s women’s bathroom is not a diamond in the rough. It’s a rough in the rough. There is some trickery here that I don’t appreciate. The door opens to immediately reveal a stall wall, and this makes one assume there are more stalls next to this first one. For some reason, the designers decided to put a single toilet stall with a door inside a room that can only accomodate a single toilet stall. Why in the name of the toilet gods would they not have just made this a single stall bathroom? You end up with three to four women standing in this miniscule space, getting run over by the entrance door because here’s a bathroom promising to deliver more than what it actually has. Top this off with the subpar cleanliness and the pretty boring 1980s aesthetics of the space, and you have a bathroom that doesn’t hit the mark. It isn’t the worst, but it isn’t close to the best.
The colors are ugly, green and dingy beige-ish yellow. The cabinetry is struggling. The toilet paper isn’t even on the roller. There are two pieces of velcro on the wall near the TP roller that I spent some time wondering about. The one above it, I thought, maybe was for a sign–that’s logical. However, the second piece of velcro is directly next to the roller, and unless someone was trying to velcro the toilet paper to the wall, then I don’t have any idea what the purpose of that piece could be.
More puzzling than the velcro is the collection of holes above the toilet roller — making it look as if someone attempted to install the thing multiple times before getting it right. Maybe the holes are like home improvement problems: some of those small details just never get taken care of but are always noticed. This reminds me of the fancy yellow and black pliers that held up the shower curtain rod in my parents’ home for over 10 years. You could never not see those Stanley pliers when you showered, but you always forgot about them when you were done.
You can never not see the Brubaker’s women’s bathroom in Montrose, but you might want to forget it when you’re done. This bathroom gets a 1.5/5 toilets for its existence.
4005 Medina Rd
Akron, OH 44333
Marissa sometimes worries about the number of germs on rolls of toilet paper in public bathrooms. Sorry if she has now added to your own public bathroom list of worries.