The last time I was near Alibi’s located at 10 N. Pitt St., in Carlisle, I considered venturing inside, but decided against it, not knowing what to expect. What kept me away before drew me in this time.
The addition of windows to the facade was a welcome sight and quite an improvement. We were able to see customers eating, drinking and socializing as we pulled into a parking space across the street. I learned later that the windows were installed in 2016 as part of a renovation and found it hard to believe that I hadn’t been back there in four years.
As we entered around 6 p.m., plenty of people were gathered around the large bar, and all the window seats overlooking the street had already been taken. The bartender acknowledged us immediately and invited us to take a seat anywhere. We decided to retreat to the back of the establishment. The arch-filled area with vaulted ceilings was far enough away from the jukebox, the flat screen TVs and the boisterous bar crowd to allow us to converse in normal tones.
The food and the atmosphere are casual at Alibi’s, and the waitress gave us a few minutes to peruse the menu before taking our order. “Starters” include items like toasted ravioli, mozzarella sticks and chicken fingers with ranch or buffalo dipping sauce. Wings are served with dry rubs like Old Bay and jerk seasoning, or sauces ranging from mild to what I assume is punishingly hot by the designation — napalm. Those interested in visiting on a Thursday night can take advantage of the wing special when they are offered for 50 cents apiece.
Handhelds include a selection of wraps with ingredients like turkey and chicken, burgers topped with items like bleu cheese and pepper jack, grilled cheese with ingredients like apple and brie, and flatbreads with toppings like grilled chicken, house-made pesto and more. Additional sandwiches include old favorites like Reubens, Rachels and BLTs.
Few menus are complete without a selection of salads. At Alibi’s, customers can choose from six salads topped with ingredients like chicken, flat iron steak or fried goat cheese and poached pear. If that doesn’t appeal, there are always the old standbys like Caesar and garden salads.
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Chili also appears to be a mainstay on the menu, so my husband and I decided to share a bowl ($5). I also chose a fish-and-chip dish, which was highlighted as a specialty of the house ($12). My husband ordered the garlic Parmesan wings ($11), along with a New England-style IPA called Joose Juicy made by Ever Grain Brewing in Hampden Township.
The 15-minute wait went quickly as we shared the refreshing, delicious, citrusy and just a tad piney Joose Juicy, which I have since decided ranks in my top five favorite beers of all time. When our dishes hit the table, we were quite pleased with our selections.
My husband declared the wings, which came as a baker’s dozen, to be plump, juicy and delicious, with a strong and flavorful taste of garlic and Parmesan as billed. We also enjoyed the outstanding chili, which was heavy on meat and lighter on beans, but so delicious that I would recommend that they enter a chili competition—that is if they haven’t yet done so.
My fried, whitefish filet was a good-sized portion with a delicate and delicious flavor. It was perched atop thick, hand-cut, savory, house-seasoned fries. Speaking of which, I haven’t enjoyed a good fry in a very long time and there’s really no excuse for it. After eating one too many anemic, half-cold fries, it was nice to enjoy the ones that were offered that evening.
After experiencing the food and the top-notch service at Alibi’s, I’m hoping more people will venture in to grab a bite. I realize that many of those who are local are familiar with what Alibi’s has to offer, but I’d hate to think how many others may have stayed away in the past when they were prevented from peeking inside. Sometimes a small change does make a big difference.
Alibi’s is open for lunch and dinner seven days a week.
Next up: Lunch at Olive Oil Grille in Camp Hill.