You are not a connoisseur. You are not a gourmet. You are not a foodie. You are an Eaterarian. You like to find those out of the way eateries with great food, an unassuming atmosphere, and where having a laugh with my friends isn’t considered inappropriate. You usually find these places by accident. It would be great if you had a list, maybe even a map of places like that. A list of all the great diners, little local places, and stand-up eateries – all within a few minutes of each other. Places with those ‘best-ever’ breakfasts, works-of-art burgers, authentic throwbacks, and just plain, comfortable food.
Sound like you? The good news is you can find all of this in Marion County as you travel the Eaterarian Trail. Nine incredible, unique eateries that are truly local, totally comfortable, and memory making. Here’s the rundown.
So often, a great local restaurant is as much about the owner as it is the food. Such is the case at Baires where Marcela Barrios is as likely to be sitting talking with customers as she is in the kitchen creating culinary adventures. Breakfast and lunch are the mainstays at Baires, delivered in traditional comfort food and an occasional Argentinian twist. All meals are prepared from scratch and with an eye toward the healthy, without sacrificing taste and texture.
Small, but mighty describes this local favorite that recently moved from Richwood in northern Delaware County to its current home on the east side of Marion. No surprises here as your comfort food favorites on the menu will have you planning your next visit before you leave.
Colonial House Restaurant
Traditional family dining and a robust menu of comfort food favorites make the Colonial House a weekend favorite. But don’t wait until then – you might just slip in to a table without a wait Monday through Friday.
Courtyard Grub and Pub
In the shadow of the County Courthouse, the Courtyard Grub & Pub is a prime example of what a bar and grille should be. However, it should more properly be called a grille and bar as the emphasis is on the food. You would expect burgers to dominate the menu at a place like this, but honestly, you may not expect such an incredible selection of unique, perfectly prepared beef on a bun. Consider their bacon cheese burger, listed as the Parole Burger on the Courthouse-themed menu. Topped with aged cheddar and two slices of thick cut bacon, the burger itself is partially made of ground bacon.
The G & R Tavern
Where’s Waldo? More importantly, where’s the G & R Tavern in Waldo? Famous for their bologna sandwich and mile-high pie, the G&R serves up the epitome of comfort food. People come from down the street and across the nation to order the first thing on their walled menu; the famous bologna sandwich. Fresh sweet pickles and onions lie atop a fried ¾ inch slice of the G&R’s homemade-recipe bologna. But leave some room for dessert. With your choice among 6 flavors, each slice of their homemade cream pie stands nearly five inches tall with whipped topping. It certainly is one dessert big enough to share!
When you think of a diner, you think of bacon and egg breakfasts, homemade soups and grilled sandwiches for lunch, and comfort food dinners. That is exactly what you get at the Marion Diner, plus a little more. The Diner sits on the south edge of Marion, but locals travel from all over town for their traditional breakfast menu that includes 15 omelet selections. The place fills up at lunch time as diners look forward to one of the many offerings from the Pit Smoked Sandwiches section of the menu. Ribs, chicken, and chops bring them in for dinner with large portions and steaming side dishes.
Some of the best food finds are in nondescript buildings. This is true of Marion’s Shovel Restaurant on the city’s west side. Inside, an atmosphere of casual comfort gives you a sense of what is to come – large portions, great combinations, and an efficient staff. Lunch choices include a large variety of sandwich choices, plus chili, vegetable beef, and ham and bean soups. But the stars of the menu are the burgers. Several versions of the Char can be had, as well as a Prime Rib burger that is taller than it is wide.
Stewart’s Root Beer
Imagine an old-fashioned root beer stand. Ice cold root beer floats, cheese burgers, foot-long Coney’s, milk shakes and more all delivered to your window by car hops. Stop imagining and head to Stewart’s Root Beer Drive-in just north of downtown Marion on Main Street. The menu includes 22 sandwiches choices, six of them burger variations. The root beer floats are made with the original recipe root beer and come in frosted mugs – the perfect cooler on a hot summer day.
Victor’s Taco Shop
Feeling saucy? Next time you are in the mood for Mexican cuisine, try Victor’s Taco Shop. This quaint little joint on the corner offers you an authentic meal at a great price. Choose either the walk-up window or two, yes two – drive thru windows. Each meal is made to order which gives you just enough time to scroll through your newest stories on Facebook while you wait at one of their picnic tables. Feeling daring? Try the largest Chimichanga you have ever seen.
For more on the Marion Eterarian Trail, see the full article here.