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Olney Ale House, Sandy Spring


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My family is in Olney so I have gone to Mannequin Pis on 2 occasions- both for their monday price fix menu. Is the quality considerably lower then than the other nights/menu items? I have found the mussels to be perfectly fine but it never knocked my socks off- so I haven't been back for the full menu. Should we try another night? We've been hesitant to do so.
For a casual meal, the Olney Ale House is right across the street from the theater. I must confess, I haven't eaten there for years but I always enjoyed the atmosphere and beer selections.
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For a casual meal, the Olney Ale House is right across the street from the theater. I must confess, I haven't eaten there for years but I always enjoyed the atmosphere and beer selections.

Like Derek, I hadn't been to Olney Ale House in years, but I've always enjoyed the atmosphere and beer selections, having been many times in the past.

Somehow, even though large portions of Olney have been bulldozed, Olney Ale House retains the feel of a roadhouse tavern. It's a very comfortable, laid-back pub-like restaurant that's equally welcoming to senior citizens and bikers (on Fujis OR Harleys).

They currently have 108 (coincidence?) bottled beers on their list, and 18 more on tap.

Unfortunately, the atmosphere and beer selection is where my love affair with Olney Ale House comes to an abrupt halt. Ever since this thread cropped up, I've had this vague, gnawing recollection that I hated the food there, but I couldn't quite remember why. Now, after having endured lunch there today, I remember why.

The Oatmeal-Molasses Bread ($3.25 for a small loaf) today was just as I remember it being before: heavy, dry, bland, and overcooked. It sounds really good - "freshly baked oatmeal-molasses bread" - but it isn't, and I can say the same for their Beef Stew ($10.25) which they claim is made "every day from scratch."

But unlike the bread, the beef stew is aggressively bad. It's horrible. It's the worst homemade beef stew I've ever eaten, and that includes some incredibly awful versions I've had in Irish pubs. Olney Ale House's beef stew has never been good, but what I had today was Dinty-Moore bad, with its shredded, pinkish beef in packaged vegetables and brownish gravy. I took about four bites, mostly of the potato, and could eat no more.

And they have a lot of nerve charging $13 for their Pot Roast Special, with it's lifeless meat buried in brown gravy, poorly seasoned whipped potatoes, and a little dish of frozen slices of carrots and green beans which tasted like a bag of Bird's Eye plain, unseasoned vegetables, ripped open, barely steamed, and served without anything at all to flavor it - a side dish you get in a nursing home.

We waited over twenty minutes for the order, too.

This is the worst food I've had in a long time. The only positive is that I had my mom in tears on the way home she was laughing so hard, because I was ranting on-and-on about how the beef stew tasted like dog food, and if she put it out on the back porch, it would still be there the next morning because even the animals wouldn't eat it.

On the list of "restaurants you want to love, but just can't," Olney Ale House ranks very high. There really is a charm to the place, and the numbers are certainly there for the beers. But the food!

Cheers,
Rocks.

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We had an equally bad meal there, maybe 10-12 years ago, before a show at the Olney Theater. The same bread, and it seems like they haven't changed the recipe. The "Slow Roasted Prime Rib" special was an overcooked, dried out end cut of sirloin. They couldn't understand why I wanted it sent back. Our replacement burger and something else were not a whole lot better.

They're always busy, but I can't for the life of me figure out why.

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I haven't been in a couple years, but this place is an Olney landmark - been there for a really long time. And as an Olney native, it was very good a really long time ago. I remember going there over 15 years ago for a special meal or two. We couldn't wait to slice into their fresh breads of which oatmeal molasses was always the regular offering, but there were also a rotating list of 2-4 other choices each day. And the portions were really huge - I remember very good fried chicken. Sadly those days seem to be gone. In the last 5 or more years, the place has kept some of the regular menu, but cut back on its homey, from scratch cooking. I remember the last time I went I was shocked at how bland the bread was. Now, I must say again I haven't been in awhile so try for yourself - but my family in Olney doesn't keep it on their regular restaurant rotation.

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I haven't been in a couple years, but this place is an Olney landmark - been there for a really long time. And as an Olney native, it was very good a really long time ago. I remember going there over 15 years ago for a special meal or two.

Had to be longer ago than that, I dated a waitress there 15 years ago and remember three things about all of the evening I sat there, one was the great beer list, two was the horrible food, and the third was well this is a family site so I will leave that one be. I do remember hearing rumors back in the late 80's that the food was decent.

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Had to be longer ago than that, I dated a waitress there 15 years ago and remember three things about all of the evening I sat there, one was the great beer list, two was the horrible food, and the third was well this is a family site so I will leave that one be. I do remember hearing rumors back in the late 80's that the food was decent.

I have a memory of going there with my big brother, after a concert at Merriweather Post Pavillion. I felt all grown up 'cause I got to go to a rock show and he bought me a beer, don't tell mom, but he wouldn't let me share a joint. I was twelve or thirteen, so that would make it 1977 or '78. And I think the place was already well established.

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Well, one good thing about OAH is that a group of ten can snag a table post-lunch on a Saturday and stay for two and a half hours without denying waiting diners a seat.

Another good thing is.... hm. Okay, not much else to say about that. Two bites into my reuben, I'm thinking "this isn't too bad". Two bites later, I'm thinking "on the other hand, this isn't very good", and maybe two bites after that I've given up and am nibbling on the not very good french fries off Mr P's plate. He said that his burger was "surprisingly not bad", but that's the highest praise either of us could muster for our meal.

But, nice pub setting for a group gathering. Cozy, friendly (the wait staff were great).

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This place could really use a visit from Gordon Ramsey or the Restaurant Impossible people. Its a nice space, nice people work there, a town of people who would love more options in town (and could support more options for dining)... and yet the food...

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