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Cheap Eats

I don't think anybody would object if I described the large dining room at the Fairview Inn as pretty much charm-free.

While the bar was all dark wood, glasses of beer and friendly people, the large back room was utilitarian, with a vinyl tiled floor, half-timbered walls with a clean coat of paint on the upper half. That's about all. But hey, it's what's on the plates that matters, right?

On a recent chilly Saturday, John and I left the dog show at the Fairgrounds and drove around the corner to the Fairview Inn, which is under new management. The place opens at 7 a.m. with an amazing breakfast special -- egg and toast for 99 cents -- so the server was a bit tired, but he was quick in delivering our lunches.

We started with an order of breadsticks ($2.75), four 8-inch-long, steaming, delicious sticks served with a warm cup of tasty marinara sauce. The butter- and herb-drizzled sticks were an excellent complement to my small Greek salad ($3.50). It filled a dinner plate -- they must use platters for the large Greek salad -- and besides iceberg lettuce with shredded carrots, included green olives, tomatoes, onion and feta cheese with an oil dressing.

John's small cheese and pepperoni calzone ($5.49) was similarly sizable, and he was glad he hadn't gone with the large for $6.99. "This is just the way I'd make it if I were making a calzone," he said happily.

I enjoyed half of a hot sub, a Sicilian, for $3.50. Full-size hot subs range from $5.50 for the fried bologna to $6.45 for the Italian sausage, chicken finger, and chicken, sausage or steak. The Sicilian included a patty of Italian sausage, spicy and tender cappicola, a layer of salami, provolone, peppers, onions and hot sauce. Although the generous application of hot sauce made the last few bites a bit drippy, the sub was generous and satisfying.

The Fairview Inn's specialty is pizza, and the menu offers a White Pizza or Greek Pizza, a cousin to my salad, for $12.99; Steak Pizza and Chicken Pizza, with mozzarella, blue cheese and diced breaded chicken, are $13.99.

The menu also lists wings, fingers, cold subs and tacos ($1.95 for veggie to $3.95 for steak, chicken or chicken fajita) as well as dinners, including chicken parm for $6.49 and meat loaf for $6.99.

The Fairview Inn menu boasts of Friday seafood dinner specials, and we'll be back soon to check out those breakfasts, too.

The Fairview Inn is open daily from 7 a.m. until about 11 p.m., serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. There are several steps to the door.

Fairview Inn

4552 Clark St., corner of McKinley Parkway

646-6300

Review: 3 1/2 pennies (Out of 4)

"Generous portions of good food."

-- Anne Neville

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