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Commence Eats: Ideal Tavern

Welcome to the first post in a new series we think you're going to enjoy! At Commence Fitness, we believe in everything in moderation. We also believe that you shouldn't have to remove yourself from social outings or not enjoy your life because you have a goal in mind. In Commence Eat's, we'll be taking you out around the area and letting you know our prime picks and what to avoid if you want to have a night out but not hinder your progress.

First up is one of our local Southington favorites: Ideal Tavern.

IDEAL TAVERN: 142 Center Street, Southington, CT

Ideal is the place to go for a casual but classy night out, a meal that's creatively prepared and absolutely delicious. As a "gastro-pub," there are a lot of cocktails and foods that would fall under the typical bar-food sprawl however, not all of them gain the bar-food reputation as far as health goes.


An assortment of small plates, flat breads, salads, burgers/sandwiches, different mac and cheeses and larger plates. There is always a specials menu with generally a pasta and fish dish, along with a risotto. The menu changes every few months.


There are a lot of options when it comes to making a better choice at Ideal. Whatever your dietary preferences, you can find something that works for you. Ideal Tavern is great for keto, low carb, high carb, high protein or vegetarian diets.

Small Plates: Crispy Brussels Sprouts and Ricotta Meatballs

These are our top two picks for small plates when it comes to maintaining a healthy diet. The Brussels sprouts are crispy but not battered and have a light sauce to dip them in, along with some Parmesan cheese. Brussels sprouts have a lot of fiber so they are a good choice nutritionally.

The ricotta meatballs plate comes with only a few small meatballs in a marinara sauce. While likely filled with some breadcrumbs, these beef meatballs are filling and tasty without being super greasy or fatty.

What to Get for Dinner: Ideal Burger with a side salad, salmon or chicken entree, or a salad

While the burger is definitely not the leanest meat we've ever had, you can't really ever go wrong with a burger. A lot of protein! This one comes with a lot of toppings that you can either put on the side or include. It's very filling which won't leave you looking for dessert. We've also gone bun-less and it tastes just as delicious. The burger comes with fries but ask for a side salad to avoid the extra carbs and fats from the fried potatoes.

Salmon and chicken breast are always a good option for staying in the nutrition alley. These meals are very tastefully prepared with the protein, a carb (potatoes) and some vegetables. You can customize these if desired by asking for no butter, less sauce or no salt on top.

The Ideal House Salad is always a good option: add chicken or fish and you've got yourself a delicious meal. Ask for dressing on the side to avoid a heavily dressed lettuce.

What to Leave Alone If You're Being Conscious:

Mac and Cheese, Fish and Chips, Short Ribs, Risotto, Potato Flatbread

Some of these are probably no-brainers when it comes to minding your nutrition while others might have you wondering. We include the short ribs as they are cured in brown sugar and also have a brown butter mash. Short ribs are inherently a pretty fatty cut of meat which means the ribs + the butter + the oil of cooking everything will have you indulging in a lot of dietary fats.

Risotto is a type of rice which means it is very starchy. In a restaurant bowl of risotto, you're easily eating somewhere around 2-3 servings, which will rack up the carbohydrates. Risotto is generally prepared using butter, cream or a lot of cheese. Inherently, there isn't any protein either.

Potato flatbread sounds delicious but is completely carbohydrate dense. Bread, covered with potatoes--not too much to say besides sugar rush! This meal also doesn't have any additional protein besides the grams you'll gather from some bacon and cheese.


Stick to things that don't include "simple syrup," sodas or juices.

Dessert: Dessert is definitely not essential however, if you want to get some dessert, we highly recommend the flourless chocolate cake. It’s decadent and it only takes a few bites to feel satisfied.


Be sure to let us know if you've been to Ideal Tavern, will be going and what your favorite meal is!

To learn more about Ideal, visit their website at

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