Climb a mountain of nachos at the Tipsy Nickel


In late 2022, Miya Warvel, co-owner of the Wooden Nickel II in Dansville, purchased the former Darb’s Tavern & Eatery in Mason and rechristened it the Tipsy Nickel Bar & Grille, opening for business in April 2023. Under the direction of her daughter, Brandy, the new Nickel promised an expanded and elevated menu.

Although I’d never been to Darb’s, I was pleasantly surprised to see its original stained-glass sign on the front door as my friend and I entered. The Tipsy Nickel’s log cabin exterior could be easily missed as you speed down South Cedar Street, but once you step inside, there’s no mistaking the place. The ambiance parallels — and honestly outshines — our region’s other elevated bars. Cozier than Tavern 109 and Henry’s Place but with better lighting than Zoobie’s, I might compare it to the Creole Burger Bar & Southern Kitchen, but with a lower ceiling.

We chose a small booth at the far end of the restaurant, where we could observe the other diners and the long bar, and received excellent service from friendly staff. I was immediately delighted by the wonderful selection of cocktails and wine. The new twist on an old-fashioned seemed like it could naturally be advertised as the bar’s signature drink, given its history. Although tempted by the spirits, I went for a cabernet, which was generously poured and easily sipped.

When it came time to order our entrees, I selected the BBQ brisket nachos from the appetizer list. Because most of the meals were in the $16-and-up range, I assumed that $18 nachos would accommodate one or two people. But as you’ll see in the photo, it was more than enough for a whole party to share.

The thin cantina-style chips were just strong enough to hold up the very tender brisket, tangy barbeque sauce and luscious lump of black-bean-and-corn salsa. Topped with arugula, pickled red onions and plenty of white cheese, I did my best to make a dent in the hulking plate of nachos over dinner. For a shareable, this dish will satisfy many palates. But I might suggest that the cooks consider a spicy avocado crema or another side of heat for those of us who prefer to treat dinner a little more like a sauna.

The next day, I found the brisket somehow even more tender than the night before. I plopped a pile of chips onto a plate and zapped them in the microwave for a delicious, memorable lunch, even if the ambiance was now, sadly, my desk.

BBQ brisket nachos


Tipsy Nickel Bar & Grille

117 S. Cedar St., Mason

11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday-Monday

11 a.m.-11 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday

(517) 676-6943


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