The Village Pump has been a Kelleys Island mainstay for 30 years, and with good reason. The servers treat guests like family, the shoreline location is lovely, and the food is consistently outstanding. Not to mention, this eatery is always the first to open on the island each season (usually around March 1), so it's no surprise that the Village Pump has become a reliable go-to for both locals and tourists. During our early summer lunch-hour visit, the place was hopping. Fortunately, there's plenty of seating in this former combination post office/barber shop, but it's hard to imagine how crazy it must get in here on July weekends.
As far as appetizers go, the fried green beans ($5.95) were some of the best we've ever had. The breading didn't kill the flavor of the vegetable, as it does all too often at other restaurants, and a side of creamy horseradish sauce provided a subtle kick. The perch sandwich ($8.95) was equally impressive, with a light breading and homemade tartar sauce that complemented the mild fish beautifully. But, the real catch of the day was Richie's Famous Lobster Chowder ($8.95), a rich, slightly spicy concoction of lobster, corn, celery and (we assume) a heap of cream. Richie was so proud of his masterpiece, he even came out and introduced himself as the guy who makes the chowder.
We were completely satisfied with our meal, but it would have been a shame to leave the Village Pump without ordering the specialty Brandy Alexander ($5.50) for dessert, an indulgent mix of brandy, half-and-half, nutmeg and creme de cacao that will hold us over until eggnog season.