Although I operate on an anti-chain agenda, I don’t always practice what I preach. (My roommates can attest to the occasional Taco Bell bag in the house.) My go-to comfort food dish comes from a local chain: Rusty Bucket. The Bucket, as I tend to call it, falls in a grey area. While it is most certainly a chain of restaurants, it got its start in Columbus, and has only spread to Michigan. (Then again, that’s how it starts.)
I go to the Bucket when I’ve had a bad day, when I’ve had too much to drink the night before or when I’m just too tired to think of anything else. And I always order the same thing.
This beautiful work of art is called Gary’s Three-Way, named after one of the owners. Although it shares a name and a concept with the Cincinnati creation (chili atop a pile of spaghetti), it’s nothing like it. The chili on this Three-Way is absolutely perfect. I love, love, love the dollop of sour cream on top, as well as the greasy mess the cheese and meat leave on the plate. The toast attains a level of both crispiness and greasiness in the same bite. Honestly, there’s nothing I would change about this meal.
This dish, my friends, cures all wounds. Broken heart? Gary’s Three-Way. Too much wine last night? Gary’s Three-Way. Coworkers think you’re a liberal nutjob? Gary’s Three-Way.
This also tastes great with a beer or two, but be careful. Too many and you might be back the next day for more medication.