Hangout Review: Julian’s Bar & Grill


Kristen Cadham

Outdoor seating at Julian’s Bar & Grill, located at 299 Chestnut St. in Meadville.

Julian’s is by far one of the best hidden gems Meadville has to offer, yet some students do not know about it. It is only a fifteen-minute walk, five-minute drive, or, if one prefers, Julian’s also boasts bike parking. The restaurant is located on a corner which allows it to have space for these accommodations.

Julian’s Bar and Grill on Chestnut Street has been through a lot to be where it is today. In 2014, according to the Meadville Tribune, it was bought by D.J. York who put it under his Pale Horse Corporation. However, the trouble was that the former owner, Cindy DeMarco, had the rights to the restaurant’s name due to her Julian’s Inc. business title. The problem was resolved when DeMarco dissolved her corporation in favor of a new one. The restaurant has been booming ever since.

The restaurant was remodeled by York and is better than ever. The layout expresses the excitement and edginess that the owner may have been going for compared to the old version. Just inside the door, there is a dark wood, brick design and rock’n’roll decorations. The huge remodelled bar blends into the rest of the restaurant. It feels like an easy transition between “bar” and “grill.” Even during the pandemic, they kept the original aesthetic elements in place so that it would not lose what customers are familiar with.

Skaina Pierre, ’23, discovered Julian’s during her first-year — before the COVID-19 pandemic — after moving into her dorm. Her roommate, who was from the area, had suggested it as a place to eat. Pierre said she frequently returns to Julian’s.

“I’ve been there a lot with friends, definitely a lot more last semester, but everytime I go it’s always really chill, always [has] good food and we always have to-go plates so it’s always been a good experience,” Pierre said. “I feel like it’s a restaurant that people might know about it, but once you know about it, it’s definitely one of your go-to’s for good food all of the time.”

Similar to Pierre, the first time I visited the restaurant was when I was headed to Allegheny for the fall semester. My family and I went on TripAdvisor and found Julian’s. After spending about two days driving to college, we were more than ready to eat their burgers that they were known for. When we got to Julian’s, they served us outside in a well-furnished area located on the side of the building. The cool energy of the interior flowed freely to the temporary seating area. It was decorated with hanging lights and even had a stage for musicians to perform on. We felt very safe due to the outside atmosphere, tables being distanced and employees wearing masks.

This semester, my friends and I went there as well. A group of us were excited to try the fried pickles and mozzarella sticks as appetizers, before doing anything else. The latter was my favorite due to the warm texture of the bread and cheese combined. To make it better, the saltiness of the seasoning added flavor to the neutral bread. A lot of care was put into making them. Moreover, the fried pickles were also interesting to try since I had never had them before. They were a mixture of tanginess and chewiness which offset the pickles on the inside. It was a pleasant experience to have been introduced to something new. Overall, it was delicious to try the appetizers and it was a good warm-up for the actual meal.

Feeling adventurous, I decided to order a side of fries and “Pa-Joe” Burger which had American cheese, red onion, lettuce and tomato. Furthermore, I was delighted to try their lemonade. It was homemade which made it special instead of being the bottled kind one could get at Brooks. The servers worked swiftly in making sure our food and drinks were on its way. When the steaming hot meal arrived, the portion size was more than enough. Putting the side of ketchup and mayo on the burger and then dipping the fries into it as well made the taste even better.

Julian’s quality and service is amazing. Every time I went, I had never seen servers move as fast as they did. They were on top of everything no matter how busy it would become. Julian’s offers pick-up orders as well, but going in-person would is well worth the short venture off campus. Afterall, the homemade lemonade students could get is far superior.