Unique Ohio Restaurants & Eateries

Donut Trail in Butler County


Donut Trail in Butler County

Excerpt from a past edition of OhioTraveler.com

Ohio’s first and only Donut Trail, according to the Butler County Visitors Bureau, boasts one of the highest number of donut shops per capita in the Midwest.

The Butler County Donut Trail highlights small, family-run donut shops and invites visitors to explore the county through donuts. With one donut shop for every 20,000 residents, visiting a neighborhood donut shop is a favorite morning tradition across this southwest Ohio community.

Featured Donut Trail locations represent a combined 227 years of donut-making experience. With a loyal fan base, Butler County’s donuts inspire devotion.

“I would drive nine hours for a Milton’s pink donut, and do… since I live in Chesterfield, Virginia. Nothing beats sitting on my back porch with a couple of Milton’s and a cup of coffee on a Saturday morning. Just wish they had one in Richmond!” said Mike Bogan of Chesterfield, VA.

Tapping into the enthusiasm for these sugary donut confections was an easy choice for the Butler County Visitors Bureau.

“With a tremendous number of independently run donut shops, creating the Donut Trail was a fun way to highlight some of the unique and off-the-beaten path businesses that make Butler County a great place to live and visit,” said Mark Hecquet, Executive Director of the Butler County Visitors Bureau.

Participating donut shops along the trail include: Jupiter Coffee & Donuts, Kelly’s Bakery, Martin’s Donuts, Milton’s Donuts, Mimi’s Donuts & Bakery, Oxford Doughnut Shoppe, Ross Bakery, Stan the Donut Man, and The Donut Spot.

“Kelly’s Bakery is thrilled to be part of the Butler County Donut Trail. We can’t wait to welcome people to our store, our city and our corner of the Midwest,” said Kelly’s Bakery owner, Diana Ramsey.

The Butler County Donut Trail is now open for travel. A Donut Trail passport is available for donut fans to log their journey. Each participating donut shop displays a coded decal. Visitors who fill in the passport with all correct codes earn a complimentary Donut Trail t-shirt.

Click here for more information on the Butler County Donut Trail or to download the Donut Passport.

Frieda’s Desserts

Welcome to Frieda’s Desserts in Cincinnati.

  • Location: (Map It) 6927 Miami Avenue in Madeira (Cincinnati), Ohio
  • Phone: 513-272-0939

Frieda’s Desserts and Frieda’s Bakery is a place where Cincinnatians can experience the best sweets and cakes that Europe has to offer.  Frieda’s master pastry chef brings his family recipes to customers in the Cincinnati area, serving authentic pastries made from scratch.  Frieda’s is a sweet little place where European pastries are made with love.

Frieda’s Bakery is located in the heart of the Madeira business district, across the street from the Madeira Kroger, and just minutes from Cincinnati’s Kenwood Towne Centre shopping mall. Frieda’s is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday; closed Sunday and Monday. Bakery Owners: Master Pastry Chef Armin Hack and his wife Melanie Hack.

Golden Lamb Restaurant

Welcome to the historic Golden Lamb Restaurant in Lebanon.

The Golden Lamb has an appeal to history as it is Ohio’s oldest continuously operated hotel, and is on the National Historic Register.  It offers 18 overnight historic rooms.  All rooms have antique furnishings, a private bath, television and telephone, and each room is named after a famous guest that has stayed in the room.  The hotel has been visited by 12 presidents.  The inn also offers a tavern and a very popular restaurant for dining.  The unique history behind the Golden Lamb along with its antique furnishings gives in a unique feel and makes for an enjoyable stay.

Maid Rite Sandwich Shoppe

maidritegum2Welcome to the Maid Rite Sandwich Shoppe in Greenville.

  • Location: (Map It) 125 N Broadway St. in Greenville, Ohio
  • Phone: 937-548-9340 
  • Web: Click here

The Maid Rite Sandwich Shoppe in Greenville:  One of the most unique eateries around, the Maid Rite lures hungry visitors from hundreds of miles away just to taste the legendary sandwich made just right in a modest shoppe located in the little rural Southwest Ohio towne of Greenville.

If any one place can reflect the city’s heart and soul, it is this miniscule eatery with a big attraction. From the looks of the outside, nobody in their right mind would want to eat there. This is because the deco of the exterior red brick is adorned with chewed bubble gum of a wide assortment of colors stuck to the walls in such density it is difficult to find a new spot to add to the “Wall of Gum,” as locals fondly refer to it. Consider it a tradition and try a Maid Rite sandwich anyway. There’s nothing like it.

A Maid Rite sandwich can be compared to a very dry yet flavorful sloppy joe with a touch of onion, mustard and pickles.

Millrace Restaurant at Clifton Mill

clifton-millWelcome to the Millrace Restaurant  at Clifton Mill.

The Millrace Restaurant  at Clifton Mill hours of operation are February Through November open weekdays 9am – 4pm and weekends 8 am – 5pm. November 25 Through January open weekdays 9 am – 2pm and weekends 8am – 2pm. Closed Christmas, New Year’s, Easter &Thanksgiving Day.

Home cooking in a spectacular atmosphere, the Millrace Restaurant at Clifton Mill serves home-style cooking for breakfast and lunch. The pancake and cornbread mix are made right there at the mill. Fresh whole grain breads are baked daily along with homemade pies and cookies. Sit back and relax to the gentle sounds of the old mill wheel and the soft rhythm of the water gently cascading over the falls as you gaze out at the covered bridge and Clifton Gorge. Afterward browse through the gift shop decorated throughout with antiques from a bygone era. The Mill and Restaurant accommodate special events, parties, rehearsal dinners, etc.

Susie’s Big Dipper

Welcome to Susie’s Big Dipper in Piqua.

  • Open Open 3 pm – 10 pm daily (closed Sunday & Monday, fall thru spring)
  • Location: (Map It) 323 N. Main in Piqua, Ohio
  • Phone: 937-615-0700
  • Web: www.susiesbigdipper.com/

Susie’s Big Dipper in Piqua:  Enjoy the atmosphere of an old-fashioned ice cream parlor, complete with all types of hand-dipped ice cream confections, from cones (including homemade waffle cones), sundaes, shakes, malts, sodas, floats, coolers and made-to-order treats to homemade soups, sandwiches and “penny candy.”  Located right on Main Street, the parlor has table seating and offers board games for your enjoyment, as well as  free Wi-Fi.  We have now added soft serve ice cream as well! Ice cream pies or cakes (a layer of cake plus a layer of ice cream-your choice of flavors) available by special order. A perfect place to take the family!

Tastefully Delicious

Foodie fun is sprinkled across Miami County, Ohio.
(Excerpt from a past edition of www.OhioTraveler.com)

miami-foodiesFood is no longer a side dish to tourism, in many cases it has become the main course! It is best served at the regional level where originality and freshness are ingredients for success.

Miami County features seven wonders of foodie travel in Ohio. But it’s no wonder that family-owned and operated specialty shops simply know how to give you that extra touch that makes you want to come back again and again. The small town storefront is a treat in itself. Done right, it’s worthy of a snapshot to remember it by, much like a newfound friend.

Olive Oasis in Troy, Ohio has that allure. As you approach it from the sidewalk, it has a Mediterranean feel. Inside, you’re likely to meet its owner, Luke Schlumpf. He’s in his early 20s. His mission is to provide the region with the best olive oils and balsamic vinegars. The wide variety are fresher, by far, than what you’re likely to get at a grocery store. Plus, you can sample dozens of choices straight from Fusti’s imported from Italy. Luke has all the details including properties, countries of origin, health benefits and more. You can even be introduced to flavorful recipes that will make you a hit at your next dinner party.

Olive oil and bread go together like oxygen and lungs.

Bakehouse Bread & Cookie Company is left of the hypnotic fountain and across the town square. Its founder and baker, Margaret Begg, is a true artisan in bread-making. She first experimented in her country kitchen and then at New York’s Culinary Institute of America followed by the National Baking Institute of Minneapolis. She apprenticed under a French master baker. Soon thereafter, her own reputation grew as an authentic artisan in bread making with complete knowledge of its science and physics. Today, her shop features a stone hearth oven from Verona, Italy. It also has a café and catering service.

Take a little country drive and relax to the scenery that leads you down a long shaded driveway to a quaint little building next to a family home. As soon as you enter, you’ll be greeted with a warm smile – likely by Janet Rissinger. Her Spice Rack in West Milton, Ohio is like visiting a friend down the street to get that rare herb you know you won’t find anywhere else. After a few minutes, you won’t know if you came to shop or visit. Regardless, you will walk out with whatever it was you were looking for and a feeling of warmth to boot. You name it, they have it and in any quantity measured for you right there.

Some private enterprises hit the big time. That’s what happened with Trophy Nut. Located down a residential side-street near downtown Tipp City, there’s an old brick building serving as the factory outlet store. Inside, you’ll feel the 50-year history. The oversized measuring scoops used to fill bags with chocolate covered nuts inside clear bins, the old-fashioned scale to weigh your purchase and the vintage machines that dole out treats are all remnant of a bygone era. Walk from one brick and wood room to the next and gaze at the bags, boxes, jars, bins and tins of chocolates, candies, dried fruits, snack mixes and nuts of all kinds and you’ll feel like you died and went to heaven.

But save the heavenly confections for later. Now is the time for a sinful indulgence around the corner at Sweet by Kristy. There’s a little table with a couple of chairs out front of the pretty shop that provides a picturesque view of one of Ohio’s loveliest small, small towns. Its sidewalks always bustle with pedestrians shopping. Many find themselves ducking into the tiniest of places and inside is Kristy, usually putting cupcakes into her oven. She says “best ingredients – best cupcakes” and they’re made from scratch, daily! She even has gluten-free cupcakes. But that’s not all; she also has turtles, caramel apples, whoopee pies, buckeyes, candies and even dog treats. The place is colorful!

Another handmade confectioner – fourth generation – is in Piqua. The Fort Piqua Plaza is an architectural gem. Inside the beautifully restored historic building are a multi-level library and Winans Fine Chocolates and Coffees. It’s truly service with a smile, and a bright one at that! Watch and learn the coffee roasting process and absorb the aroma of beans from around the world roasted on site in old copper cooking kettles. Featuring coffees, cappuccinos and organic teas, the shop also has mouth-watering handmade delights from premium chocolates. Try the hand-wrapped caramels and old-fashioned brittles. If you have a gift basket to send someone, this is the place.

Speaking of baskets, our last stop is for fruits and veggies. You might as well throw in some country arts and crafts while you’re at it. The rafters have an unusual display of ornaments – historic metal tractor seats. Welcome to Fulton Farms, where locally grown fresh produce is picked and sold inside the rustic century barn. Bring the grocery list because it’s all here. You can even pick your own strawberries and peas straight from the field. There’s also a wide selection of canned items and all kinds of jams, preserves with no sugar added, salsas, grilling sauces and salad dressings. Plus there’s a dairy cooler and of course, an old-fashioned ice cream parlor! Say hi to Joyce Fulton, she’s usually chatting it up with someone.

Miami county has seven tastefully, delicious reasons to make food the focus of your next trip. To whet your palette, see the menu at http://visitmiamicounty.org.

La Piazza

Welcome to La Piazza in Troy.

La Piazza in Troy, Ohio is the creation of Leo and Michael Anticoli, members of the long running restaurant family from Dayton who have been continually operating upscale, Italian restaurants since 1931.  A true independent, white tablecloth, upscale eatery, La Piazza offers full lunch and dinner menus, a full bar, and open air patio dining.  Dinner entrees average 12.95.

Young’s Jersey Dairy

Welcome to Young’s Jersey Dairy in Yellow Springs.

  • Hours vary depending on season and attractions at Young’s (call ahead)
  • Location: (Map It) 6880 Springfield-Xenia Rd in Yellow Springs, Ohio
  • Phone: 937-325-0629
  • Web: http://youngsdairy.com/

Young’s Jersey Dairy in Yellow Springs was started in 1869 and is still owned and operated by the Young Family!  Young’s hosts over one million guests each year.  Young’s is a working dairy farm with two restaurants (one is a large dairy bar and quick serve food restaurant, the other is a sit down, home-cooked, table service restaurant), two gift shops, two miniature golf courses, batting cages, golf driving range, the best homemade ice cream in the region,  friendly service, great food, family fun activities, group & company picnics, off site catering and FUN!

Village Ice Cream Parlor

iceCreamParlorStoreFrontWelcome to the Village Ice Cream Parlor in Lebanon, Ohio.

  • Open daily 11am- 8pm (until 7pm Jan &Feb)
  • ocation: (Map It) 22 S. Broadway  Lebanon, Ohio
  • Phone: 513-932-6918
  • Web: Click here

The Village Ice Cream Parlor in Lebanon, Ohio was founded 1969. This unique eatery features a full menu plus ice cream so good you will even have cravings for the cold stuff in the middle of winter. It is truly an old fashioned parlor experience complete with early 20th Century decor. In the midst of a classic Norman Rockwell looking town, the parlor has attracted patrons from all around, including President George W. Bush, Neil Armstrong and Woody Harrelson. Not only that, it has been used for scenes in major motion pictures such as Milk Money (1993) and Harper Valley PTA (1978).

It all started in 1969 when a group of local businessmen wanted to have a meeting place. They each pitched in and bought the building and made renovations. In 1978, Phyllis Hartsock purchased the parlor and was joined by her husband Dave as co-owners. Today, their two daughters, Sandy and Susie help run it.

JimBo’s Bar & Diner

jimBo-hocking-cvbWelcome to JimBo’s Bar & Diner in Bloomingville.

  • Open: 11am to 9pm; mid April through mid December
  • Location: (Map It) 23356 State Route 56 in South Bloomingville, Ohio
  • Phone: 740-332-6550 

JimBo’s Bar & Diner in Bloomingville is Hocking Hills’ “Cheeseburger in Paradise”.  JimBo’s is a must stop when cruising through the Hocking Hills on your Harley.  Famous for their HUGE burgers, this is the perfect spot to refuel between hikes at Old Man’s Cave, Ash Cave and Cedar Falls.  Hike the Grandma Gatewood Trail between Old Man’s Cave and Ash Cave (6 miles) and then enjoy a guilt-free JimBo burger – let’s face it, you’ve earned those calories.  JimBo’s is located on State Route 56 between State Route 374 and State Route 664.  All Bikers are welcome!  Sunday of Labor Day weekend is the annual Hog Roast and Motorcycle Rodeo, camping is available.  JimBo’s is open second week of April through second week of December.

Olde Dutch Restaurant

Welcome to Olde Dutch Restaurant in Logan, Ohio.

  • Open: 11am to 8pm Monday through Saturday and 11am to 7pm Sunday 
  • Location: (Map It) 12791 State Route 664 in Logan, Ohio 
  • Phone: 740-385-1000 
  • Web: Click here

olde-dutch-hocking-cvbThe Olde Dutch Restaurant and Banquet Haus sits at the edge of a stand of stately oaks that Logan natives have called Rempel’s Grove for over 100 years.  In the 1840’s, the site was used as a community picnic ground. It was easily accessible from downtown Logan by canal boat for a 15 cent fare.  After the Civil War, local war hero and capitalist Col. Ferdinand Rempel, the City of Logan, and the Hocking Valley Railroad, hosted a reunion for over 1,000 Union veterans at this location, with then Governor (and later President) William McKinley in attendance.  Today the Olde Dutch Restaurant and Banquet Haus continues the tradition of a great place for family dining, featuring full menu, delectable buffet and decadent desserts.  The Olde Dutch is the perfect spot to refuel after a canoe trip down the Hocking, a round of Adventure Golf or antique and craft shopping – all at Remple’s Grove.

Shaw’s Restaurant

Welcome to Shaw’s Restaurant in Lancaster.

  • Open Monday thru Saturday 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sunday 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., Room Service hours 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Location: (Map It) 123 North Broad Street in Lancaster, Ohio
  • Phone: 740-654-1842

Shaw’s Restaurant in historic Lancaster combines a blend of country fresh food and a unique bed and breakfast. Shaw’s restaurant, which was rated Three-Stars in the Mobil Guide, features Traditional American cuisine with a reputation for steaks, prime rib, and fresh fish. Popular items include Applewood Smoked Pork Chop, Stuffed Chicken Breast, 4-lb Maine Lobster (seasonal), Caesar Salad, and Housemade Hot Fudge. The constantly changing menu is listed on Shaw’s web site. Shaw’s fine wines and cocktails available seven days.

City Barbeque

Welcome to City Barbeque in Dublin.

City Barbeque in Dublin, Ohio:  The world is divided up into two kinds of people.  Those who slobber over ribs, brisket on a bun and pulled pork, and those who are indifferent to the sweet smoke of BBQ.

If you are in the latter category, this article will be about as interesting to you as a review of the Albanian cement industry.  If you are the former, you will be on the road to Columbus quicker than I can say “rack of ribs and a side of slaw.”

City Barbeque is to Columbus what dim sum is to Hong Kong. If you miss it, you’ll roam in the Valley of Regrets for the rest of your life.

About two years ago, my husband Paul and I were traveling around Ohio, and someone mentioned to us that Columbus had great ‘cue.  We laughed. You go to Texas or Kansas City for BBQ, but Ohio? Paul is travel editor of Fiery Foods and Barbecue Magazine, and he knows BBQ the way other men know sports. Just to be polite, we headed for Columbus for some smoky dining,  figuring it would be the butt of some future joke.

Well, the joke was on us. Owner Rick Malir became a BBQ fan in college, went to the country’s best smokeries, attended the national cook-offs, ate his body weight in ribs and pulled pork every few months, and hired the best Pit Masters he could find. He set some paper towels on the table for wiping up the slobber, performed the proper alchemy to create great sauces, added killer Mac and Cheese to the menu, and opened the doors of his joint.

We must have spent two hours at City Barbeque, and we weren’t reading Joyce’s Ulysses. We were pigging out, and slogged to the trough for seconds and thirds.  Then, depression set in. We returned home to Santa Fe, New Mexico, and we kept dreaming about those ribs, corn pudding, greens with pork, baked beans, Texas smoked sausage, hickory-flavored brisket, turkey breast and pig.

One day, we decided to call City Barbeque and ask if they could send us a care package.  To our surprise, they said they shipped ‘cue all the time, all over the country.  You order whatever you want, and two days later it lands on your doorstep, in a big box, frozen like Otzi the Iceman.  All you have to do is defrost, heat and serve.

We ordered enough for a battalion of BBQ nuts, and invited 23 of our foodie friends. Some are famous, some are anonymous, and they all share a craving for great comestibles. They were incredulous: BBQ in a box from OHIO???! We staked our culinary reputation on it.

Our kitchen counters looked like a wedding reception–platter after platter piled high with pig and associates. Our amigos loaded up their paper plates, slathered the whole thing in City Barbeque original and spicy sauces, and sat down to eat.

An hour later, there was one toothpick-sized sliver of pulled pork left.  And here are the unexpurgated comments of our friends:

Michael and Margie O’Reilly , owners of Pranzo and the O’Keeffe Café, two of the best and most beloved restaurants in Santa Fe:

“The sausage was smoky and the hot sauce–WOW.” (Michael)  I thought it was just fabulous.”  (Margie)

Wes Studi, famed Native American actor and musician, and his wife Maura, an actress and jazz singer: “The sauce is breathtakingly pungent and the meat falls off the bone” (Wes). “”The brisket was a surprise because it was tender, not chewy, and the greens were very good. The regular sauce was very good too.” (Maura)

Danny and Louise Rubin.  He wrote the movie “Ground Hog Day” and she is a web designer and architect.  “I was so enjoying the company during the meal that I just noticed all the food disappeared from my plate.” (Danny)  “You should have ordered three times as much.” (Louise)

Diego Mulligan, radio talk-show host, and Jennifer Hanan, who places guests on talk shows all over the country.  “The Prairie Fire sauce is the kind of decadence Middle America has needed for so long. This is a religious experience. I am sure there is some rabbi who will bless this.” (Diego) “Even this vegetarian liked it. I ate more meat tonight than I have eaten in 20 years. It was so good that it makes me think twice about not eating meat.” (Jennifer)

Kitt Miller, artist, cook and day trader and Greg Hoel, artist: “I just can’t believe that it came in a bag….like Stoeffer’s. And when it came out, it tasted like it was just cooked in the oven. It makes me wanna sing Swannee. (Kitt) “Oh…the sauce. And Oh…the brisket.” (Greg)

David Wolf, owner of Wolf’s Bagels, composer, and Phyllis Wolf, program director for the Jewish Community Center in Albuquerque: “Well, the corn pudding was wonderfully moist and I’m still ‘pungenting’ the aftermath of the sauce. Together, they are dancing in my mouth.” (David) “After you told us to try a rib, I went to the kitchen to find one chewed-up and discarded rib on the serving platter. I guess that speaks to whether or not people liked them!” (Phyllis)

Gary (lawyer and musician) and Linda Storm (artist and teacher):

“I would say the meal was salubrious.” (Gary) “A total surprise for me was that the Mac and Cheese was the best I ever had.” (Linda)

Erika Eckerstrand (Swedish potter and beader): “This was my first American BBQ. I love it!”

Tone Forrest (stage and film actor and bass player), and Judith Bever (artist):”Best collard greens I’ve had since I came to New Mexico and I loved the corn pudding.” (Tone) “I second what was said about the Mac and Cheese and the hot sauce was tangy, saucy, and had heat.” (Judy)

John Rochester (investment broker and actor) and Larry Fodor (artist): “The only thing missing for me was those big, fat, gluey slices of white bread.” (John)  “The food is as colorful as the folk art on your walls.” (Larry)

Brett Goldberg (owner of Computer Medics) and Deborah Finklestein (writer and teacher): “The first serving was as good as the sixth.” (Brett) “I think too often a spicy sauce has no flavor. I was very pleased. Also, often a meal focuses on the main dish.  They focus on the whole experience. It was amazing.” (Deborah)

My husband Paul stood up and gave the guests an after-dinner blessing: “Be full, “he intoned. “Be very full.”


We’re not the only ones who slobber over City Barbeque. They now have eleven restaurants in Ohio, five in Columbus, two in Dayton, two in Cincinnati, one in Toledo and one in Findlay. But wherever you are, you can take advantage of Barbecue by Mail. website: citybbq.com.

Columbus Food Adventures

Welcome to Columbus Food Adventures.
Excerpt from a past edition of OhioTraveler.com by Christine Bryant

A Columbus tour group is hoping to satisfy the tastes of local food lovers.

Whether it’s exploring the city’s stash of taco trucks, or browsing delicacies at some of the capitol’s finest restaurants, Columbus Food Adventures takes visitors on five different food tours throughout the city.

Bethia Woolf, owner of Columbus Food Adventures, says the tours aren’t just for out of towners, though.

“I think they have something to offer people who live in Columbus because it’s a way of trying different restaurants in one day,” she said. “It’s a great way to explore and find new places.”

Woolf, a food blogger, got the idea of running a food tour company in Columbus after hearing about successful tours in New York.

“I think Columbus has a lot of great food and we started the business because we wanted to really show that off,” she said.

In the summer of 2010, Woolf began offering culinary tours, which typically run three to four hours in length.

“We take people to the places with the most interesting stories or who are doing special things,” she said.

Group tour and private tour options are available for any of the five tours: The German Village Tour, the Alt Eats Food Tour, Short North Food Tour, the Taco Truck Food Tour and the All Food Dessert Tour.

Tickets range from $50 to $60 and include all the food on the tours, transportation and the guides. Two of the tours – German Village and Short North – are walking tours.

German Village Tour

Lined with historic brick homes, the streets of this Columbus neighborhood located just south of downtown are home to some of the city’s most famous restaurants.

Stops on the food tour include Lindey’s, G Michael’s Bistro, Pistacia Vera and Barcelona. Also on the tour is Harvest Pizzeria, known for its gourmet Neapolitan-style pies, and Katzinger’s, a deli featured on the Food Network.

The German Village Tour begins at 2 p.m. on Saturdays from March through December.

Alt Eats Food Tour

The Alt Eats Food Tour takes visitors on a tour of the world by including Somali cuisine, Vietnamese sandwiches, Mexican baked goods, Nigerian food and Southern Indian delicacies.

The tour takes place in ethnic neighborhoods near North Cleveland Avenue, and visitors will travel in a 14-passenger van to each destination.

Tours typically run beginning at 6 p.m. on Fridays.

Short North Food Tour

The Short North is one of Columbus’ most popular neighborhoods. Located just north of downtown, the Short North includes boutiques, an arts district and quaint bars and restaurants.

Woolf says the Short North tour is designed to show off some of these features, beginning with the North Market, a public farmers’ market that operates year-round. The tour includes a history of the building and allows tour goers to meet some of the market’s local food vendors.

The tour also includes another five to six stops, including Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream, which has been featured on the Food Network.

The tour is a walking tour, and kicks off at 11 a.m. – just in time for lunch.

Taco Truck Food Tour

Scattered throughout the west side of Columbus are some of the city’s best Mexican dishes served in taco trucks.

Tour goers will board a passenger van and travel to five of the most popular trucks. Each stop includes a tasting of each individual truck’s specialty.

The most popular tour Columbus Food Adventures offers, the Taco Truck Food Tour also gives visitors insight into how to order at a taco truck, meat choices and the history of some of the different dishes.

This tour runs from April to the end of October.

All Dessert Food Tour

A popular choice among sweet lovers, the All Dessert Food Tour visits some of Columbus’ best sweet spots.

The tour begins at Pistacia Vera in German Village and includes Sugardaddy’s in downtown Columbus where tour goers will sample the store’s famous brownies. The tour also includes a stop for artisan roasted coffee at Café Brioso, baked goods at Pattycake bakery in Clintonville and a frozen treat at Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream.

Mixologist Cris Dehlavi will create dessert cocktails for the final stop at M Restaurant. There also will be non-alcoholic drink options for those who are not of age or do not want to consume alcohol.

The tour begins at 2:30 p.m. on Saturdays.

Woolf said Columbus Food Adventures also can arrange a special gluten dessert tour for groups of eight or more.

To order tickets for any of these tours, call 1-800-838-3006 or go to columbusfoodadventures.com.

By Christine Bryant

Granville Inn

Welcome to the Granville Inn.

The Granville Inn is an historic English Manor inn in Granville, Ohio. Its become a dining destination for lovers of great food throughout central Ohio. Voted  Best New Restaurant byColumbus Monthly magazine this year, Granville Inn is a cherished landmark in the heart of this quiet New England-styled village.

Offering a delightful selection of contemporary cooking rooted in classic French traditions, our emphasis on fresh, seasonal ingredients, and the finest meats and seafood, is complimented by a wine list of over 90 selections.  Open breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Each of our thirty guest rooms offers individual character and style through their unique furnishings and décor. All rooms feature feather beds, plush linens, luxurious guest amenities and modern comforts such as full, private baths, cable television and high-speed Internet.

Escape to Granville Inn.  Great taste in the heart of Granville only 10 minutes North of I-70 East of Columbus.

Marion’s Eaterarian Trail

Welcome, Foodies, to the Marion County, Ohio Eaterarian Trail.

Marion County, Ohio Eaterarian Trail:  Travelers like to visit those fascinating places, museums, historic sites, beautiful scenery, etc. But they also travel because they like to find new great places to eat. Not the well-known, tourism factory restaurants, but the small, out-of-the-way places that are worth exploring for. Sound familiar? If so, it begs the question, “Are You an Eaterarian?”

Eaterarians are not  connoisseurs, gourmets or even foodies. Eaterarians like to find those out of the way eateries with great food, an unassuming atmosphere, and where having a laugh with friends isn’t considered inappropriate. They usually find these places by accident. It would be great if there was 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. The good news is it can all be found in Marion County as you travel the Eaterarian Trail. About a dozen incredible, unique eateries that are truly local, totally comfortable, and memory making.

Mozart’s Bakery & Piano Cafe

Welcome to Mozart’s Bakery  & Piano Café in Columbus.

  • Hours:    Sun – Mon 8 am – 5:30 pm; Tue – Thr  7 am – 10 pm; Fri – Sat 7 am -11 pm (call number above for hours of other locations) 
  • Location: (Map It) 2885 North High St. in Columbus, Ohio 
  • Phone: 614-268-3687 or 1-888-MOZARTS 
  • Web: www.mozartscafe.com  

The Mozart’s Bakery  & Piano Café in Columbus:  Anand Saha left India to study hotel management in Europe, where he met Austrian native Doris Tinter, training to become a pastry chef. They shared a dream of owning a business, which became reality in 1995 with the opening of Mozart’s Bakery and Café.

Today, the Sahas have three more stores: Mozart’s (North Market); Café Mozart (on Indianola); and Café Amadeus (363 E. Town St.). They all offer free wireless Internet access and fabulous food, and the High St. and Indianola locations offer live classical music every weekend. They also hold a High Tea, with more than 20 teas and a mouth-watering display of canapés and pastries, each Tuesday through Sunday from 2 pm to 4 pm (reservations required).

Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are also available, with choices ranging from Ham, Mushroom, and Swiss Omelet to Muesli to Eggs Amadeus, and such lunch/dinner specials as Hungarian Goulash, Mushroom and Asparagus Quiche,  three kinds of  Schnitzel, and Spaetzle with Spinach and Swiss Cheese. More familiar fare, such as a burger, is also available.

And all four locations offer goodies like apple strudel, napoleons, petit fours, and tortes (including my favorites, tiramisu and lemon cream), available in individual servings or as whole desserts. Prices vary; call for details. Or stop by for a bite and pick up one of their popular mini gift boxes while you’re there. If you don’t come away groaning in delight and repletion, you have more self-control than I do!

Nutcracker Family Restaurant

Welcome to Nutcracker Family Restaurant in Pataskala.

The Nutcracker Family Restaurant in Pataskala:  This 1950s-style family restaurant features black and white tiled floors, neon, and old-fashioned jukeboxes cranking out the hits. Try the daily special. Breakfast, lunch and dinner served Tuesday through Saturday 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. and Sunday & Monday 7:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Pure Imagination Chocolatier

Welcome to Pure Imagination Chocolatier in Columbus.

  • Hours: Tuesday – Friday 9am -7pm; Saturday – 8am – 5pm; Sunday – 12 noon – 5pm
  • Location: (Map It) 59 Spruce St. (in the North Market) in Columbus, Ohio
  • Phone: 614-221-5433
  • Web: pureimaginationchocolatier.com

The Pure Imagination Chocolatier in Columbus:  The first time I met Dan Cooper, owner/operator of Pure Imagination Chocolatier, he was hand-dipping bits of fruit in chocolate, and I couldn’t resist trying one or two. OK, I tried several, along with some dark chocolate drops, and they were fantastic. How did he do it?

His face lit up as he explained. Freshest cocoa beans. Pure cocoa butter. The highest grade of chocolate. His own secret recipe, heated three times at various temperatures. Then he broke off sheepishly. “Sorry, that’s probably more than you wanted to know. I love to talk about chocolate. I’m a chocolate geek!”

He sure is. He left high school to build a chocolate lab in his basement. He worked three jobs to save money for his business. He spent (rare) days off tracking down secondhand equipment, talking to other chocolatiers, and experimenting. And a decade later, his chocolates are a Columbus treasure.

I love his truffles, especially the Twist My Arm (dark chocolate ganache covered in milk chocolate) and the Mousse Au Chocolat Dark (dark ganache crème covered in dark chocolate), but he also has other goodies, too: buckeyes, cherry bombs, macadamia paws, pecan clusters, chocolate-dipped potato chips… yummy!

Dan does it all himself, from preparing the chocolate to hand-dipping the candies, and  plans to keep it that way. He should probably hire a helper (besides his grandmother, who waits on customers at the shop), but doing it himself insures quality and keeps his recipes secret. And he only wants one shop. “Quality is a solitary calling,” he says. “Pure Imagination will never be a chain.”

Sugardaddy’s Sumptuous Sweeties

Welcoem to Sugardaddy’s  Sumptuous Sweeties in Columbus.

  • Downtown Columbus Location: (Map It) 11 E. Gay Street @ High Street – Hours: Monday – Friday 11am to 6 pm
  • Polaris Area Location: (Map It) 1329 Cameron Avenue @ Cameron Avenue; Lewis Center in Columbus, Ohio – Hours: Monday – Friday 11am to 7pm; Saturday 10am to 4pm
  • Phone: 614-888-4491
  • Web: www.sugardaddys.com

Award-winning Sugardaddy’s Sumptuous Sweeties®, Purveyors of The Edgeless Brownie®, has redefined the cozy, American classic brownie into a truly luxury dessert indulgence, gifting, and special occasion experience. Sugardaddy’s has extended its fresh-baked luxe brownie and blondies line with Sugardaddy’s Brownie Biscotti, Brownie Truffles, Brownie Cheese Cakes, Brownie Cakes, and Brownie Trifles. Each and every order is hand-made to the customer’s specifications; then hand-cut, hand-packaged, and hand-delivered to ensure the perfect presentation. Equally impressive is that gift-givers can have their gifts “their way” by customizing the flavors and the packaging. Personalized monogramming is also available with Sugardaddy’s Signature Silk Collection and Sugardaddy’s Personalized Petite Totes.

Sugardaddy’s has been named “Best of the Best” by Food Network and crowned winners of Throwdown with Bobby Flay. In addition, Sugardaddy’s has been named “Best Gift” by Instyle, Suite 101.com, FreshTrend.com, StyleBakery.com, BellyduJour.com, and About.com. Sugardaddy’s has been selected as “Editor’s Pick” byChocolatier, Food 411, The Nibble.com, Instyle, Midwest Living, Woman’s Day, Instinct, and Vive. Sugardaddy’s has appeared on such shows as Ellen, The Rachael Ray Show, and Queer Eye and has been featured by The French Culinary Institute’s PastyScoop.com, The Gilded Fork, ABC 9 Bridge Street, and NBC 4 Today/Midday.

Perfect for individual gifting, corporate gifting, and entertaining, Sugardaddy’s Sumptuous Sweeties® products can be ordered online at sugardaddys.com, by phone at 1.888.4 I WANT 1, or at Sugardaddy’s Retail Store at 1329 Cameron Avenue in Lewis Center, Ohio.

Lava Rock Grill at Unusual Junction

Welcome to Lava Rock Grill at Unusual Junction.

  • Hours: Monday – Friday 11 – 2; Sat. & Sun 11-4
  • Location: (Map It) 56310 US 36 in West Lafayette, Ohio
  • Phone: 740-545-9772
  • Web: Click here

The Lava Rock Grill at Unusual Junction:  One of Ohio’s unique shopping & dining attractions. Situated in a restored 19th century railroad station and 7 vintage train cars. Featuring a Gourmet deli and food market, a 1950’s era retro diner serving lunch and snacks.

Featuring gourmet sandwiches, char-grilled burgers, homemade soups & salads, and ice cream desserts, set in a 1950s style diner. Lava Rock Grill is also now the home of the Bob Barker Price is Right game show sign, so you can dine under the flashing TV show icon while watching the original programs on television.

Velvet Ice Cream & Ye Olde Mill

Welcome to Velvet Ice Cream at Ye Olde Mill and Velvet Ice Cream Company in Utica, Ohio.

  • Location: (Map It) 11324 Mt. Vernon Rd. in Utica, Ohio
  • Phone: 800-589-5000 
  • Web: Click here
  • Visitors Center with hourly tours
  • Ohio’s only ice cream museum
  • Ice cream production viewing gallery
  • 1817 Ice Cream Parlor
  • The Mill Room Restaurant
  • Gift shop
  • Weekend family entertainment
  • Picnic park and shelter houses
  • Children’s playground
  • Nature trails
  • Farm animal petting zoo
  • Buckeye tree grove


Each year, Ye Olde Mill attracts 150,000 nature and ice cream enthusiasts from all over the country. Ye Olde Mill, on 20 picturesque acres nestled in the gently rolling hills and forests of lovely Licking County, is the perfect spot for family fun, reunions, weddings, and more.

The restaurant can accommodate large groups for any occasion. For group reservations, contact Guest Relations at 740-892-3921 or 800-589-5000.


Ye Olde Mill features Ohio’s only ice cream museum, an 1817 Ice Cream Parlor, The Mill Room Restaurant, and gift shop. The Velvet adventure begins with the Visitors Center, built to resemble Grandpa Dager’s old milking parlor, which offers hourly tours of the Mill and museum, along with observation of the Velvet Ice Cream factory at work.  Outside, the adventure continues with the Visitors Center’s livestock barnyard, children’s farm animal petting zoo, and scenic natural trails and picnic grounds.

Open May to October

Mill Room Restaurant, Ye Olde Mill, Ice Cream Museum, and 1817 Ice Cream Parlor

May 11am – 6pm.  June, July, August 11am – 8pm.  September 11am – 7pm.  October 11am – 6pm.

Tours of Ye Olde Mill and Factory

Weekdays: 11 am to 3 pm on the hour

Big Ed’s Main Street Soda Grill

Welcome to Big Ed’s Main Street Soda Grill in Vermilion.

  • Location: (Map It) 5502 Liberty Avenue in Vermilion, Ohio
  • Phone: 440-967-4002

Big Ed’s Main Street Soda Grill in Vermilion:  If you ever travel Route 6 along the Lake Erie shoreline and find yourself in Vermilion, stop for a bight at Big Ed’s Main Street Soda Grill. Now, this old-fashioned soda fountain captured my heart at the door (and later my taste buds would follow). Big Ed’s is a vintage 1930’s style restaurant and soda fountain featuring tasty food, phospates and out-of-this-world soda fountain ice cream treats. As soon as you step through the door you feel like the world stopped and you got off at yesteryear. The walls are like a time capsule of 1930’s, 40’s and 50’s cans, bottles, containers and other memorabilia and artifacts. The decore of the booths, tables, ice cream counter, and everything else emphasizes old-fashioned style, friendly and comfortable atmosphere, and memorable lunch or dinner.

Whatever you choose to eat, whether it’s a burger, hot dog or soup, no doubt you’ll be pleased. But before you ask for the check, make room and time to enjoythe best darn rootbeer float in Ohio!

Kewpee Hamburgers

Welcome to Kewpee Hamburgers in Lima, Ohio.

  • Open: Mon – Sat from 5:30 am – 10 pm and Sun 7am – 10pm
  • Location: (Map It) Three locations in Lima, Ohio at 111 N. Elizabeth St. / 1350 Bellefontaine Ave. / 2111 Allentown Rd.
  • Phone: 419-228-1778 (N. Elizabeth St.) / 419-229-1385 (Bellefontaine Ave) / 419-227-9791 (Allentown Rd.)

Kewpee Hamburgers in Lima, Ohio: Known as America’s second burger chain and first with curbside service, Kewpee Hamburgers began at Kewpee Hotels in Michigan. Lima, Ohio has some of its last establishments around and they are going strong. And with its beef locally raised, this historic eatery is as popular as ever.

Maybe you’ve heard of their jingle, “Hamburger pickle on top, makes your heart go flippity-flop.”

Perhaps more memorable than the slogan is the nude Kewpee doll mascot (originally from the once popular Kewpie Dolls). Anyway, there’s a large one that makes for great photo ops when you visit.

The Loch – Chattan Loch Bistro & Pub

Welcome to The Loch – Chattan Loch Bistro & Pub – in Bellefontaine.

  • Open for Lunch Monday through Friday 11 AM-2PM; Dinner Wednesday & Thursday 5 PM – 9 PM and Friday & Saturday 5 PM – 10 PM
  • Location: (Map It) 212 East Columbus Avenue, Bellefontaine, Ohio
  • Phone: 937-592-2696
  • Web: www.chattanloch.com

The Loch aka Chattan Loch Bistro & Public House is a casual dining experience in the heart of downtown Bellefontaine. We feature an expansive menu, including steaks, seafood, chops, and our ever-popular burgers and fish! Guests may enjoy our Wing Wednesday specials, which includes $0.49 wings and $1 domestic beers, as well as $5 burger & fries Thursdays. Beginning in August, we will be featuring live music, including bands, that are sure to please a variety of crowds! The Loch is your place for great food and fun!

Put-In-Bay Restaurants

Popular Put-In-Bay Restaurants featuring the Round House Bar, Boathouse Bar and Grill, Chicken Patio, Pasquale’s Café and Chocolate Cafe & Museum.

Boathouse Bar and Grill

  •  Open daily mid April through October from 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 a.m.
  • Location: (Map It) Delaware Avenue in Put-in-Bay, Ohio
  • Phone: 419-285-5665
  • Web: Click here

The Boathouse is located in the heart of downtown serving lunch and dinner in a casual atmosphere.  The Boathouse is known for its excellent perch, walleye and homemade walleye chowder.  Unwind in the evenings with daily entertainment.  Call for the latest entertainment schedule and special events taking place.  Most Saturdays offer entertainment throughout the day. 

Chicken Patio

  • Open daily May – October at 11:00 a.m. closing time depends on the weather and time of season
  • Location: (Map It) 60 Delaware Avenue in Put-in-Bay, Ohio
  • Phone: 419-285-4595
  • Web: Click here

The Chicken Patio is open and is located in the heart of downtown Put-in-Bay next to the Round House Bar. Enjoy a wine basted barbecue chicken dinner on our outside patio or inside the Park Hotel.  Enjoy a cold drink from our antique Peanut Wagon.

Chocolate Cafe & Museum

  • Open daily May thru September 7 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
  • Location: (Map It) 820 Catawba Ave in Put-in-Bay, Ohio
  • Phone: 419-285-2268
  • Web: Click here

For those who have a sweet tooth, the Chocolate Museum in Put-in-Bay is the perfect place for you to get your chocolate fix. Customers can go to the Put-in-Bay store or choose from and order from a selection of chocolate treats online. ‘Chocolate Ohio’ has several delicious attractions and goodies. Over fifty sugary treats are available to purchase, as well as fresh roasted coffee and ice cream from a hand-made Gelato or soft serve cones in 32 flavor choices. Explore and sample from 100 different kinds of chocolate. Not only do they offer a nibble to eat, but the staff also provides live entertainment by “chocolate shows” at requested venues anda portion of the profits go directly the selected venue. Not sweet enough? Explore Chocolate Ohio’s chocolate museum and learn about history and observe antique chocolate collectibles.

Pasquale’s Café

  • Open daily from mid April through October 7:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. 
  • Location: (Map It) 234 Delaware Avenue in Put-in-Bay, Ohio
  • Phone: 419-285-8600 
  • Web: www.pasqualescafe.com/

Pasquale’s Café is located in the heart of downtown next to the Park Hotel.  Featuring Italian Cruisine, Pasquale’s serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Pasquale’s offers a nice wine selection to go with your dinner.

Round House Bar

  • Open daily from mid April thru the end of October from 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 a.m. 
  • Location: (Map It) Delaware Avenue in Put-in-Bay, Ohio 
  • Phone: 419-285-2323 
  • Web: www.theroundhousebar.com/

The Round House is located in the heart of downtown Put-in-Bay.  Enjoy live music daily at this historical Put-in-Bay landmark.  Call for the latest entertainment schedule and special events taking place. 

The Spot Restaurant

The Spot Restaurant in Sidney OhioWelcome to The Spot Restaurant in Sidney, Ohio.

  • Open: Monday – Saturday 7:00am to 9:00pm / Sunday 8:00am to 9:00pm (closes at 8pm from November 1 – March 31)
  • Location: (Map It) 201 South Ohio Street in Sidney, Ohio
  • Phone: 937-492-9181

The Spot Restaurant in Sidney:  Ohio is dotted with small towns known for cruising back in the day. But after your tank got low, there was only one place to go – THAT eatery.

Well in Sidney, Ohio, THAT eatery was THE SPOT both figuratively and literally. The Spot Restaurant started as a chuckwagon more than 100 years ago. It still serves up some of the tastiest cheeseburgers around.

“It was a fun going there after school and getting frosties and cokes and playing the juke box,” says Shirley (Clinehens) Ashabranner’s posting on thespottoeat.com. “I would save enough for my favorite cheeseburger. It came wrapped in a square of paper that said a hamburger from the Spot, with a pickle on top, makes your heart go flippity flop!”

If you ever yearned to visit the fictional Arnolds in the Happy Days TV show, the Spot Restaurant is as close as you can come. Even President George W. Bush stopped for a bite last time he was in Sidney, Ohio.

Spot Miller wheeled his chuckwagon into town in 1907 but Sidney officials restricted selling meals from the mobile eatery so Spot Miller kicked the wheels off and became a permanent fixture in town for generations to come, cooking up memories for all.

New owners bought the place from Spot Miller and had a grand vision of popping up in many spots across Ohio and beyond. The chain, Spot to Eat, opened in Athens, Urbana, Lima, Piqua, and Bellefontaine. Eventually, they all disappeared and only one SPOT exists today, the original!

Along the way, a more permanent building was built. Fire in the early 1940’s resulted in the exterior design seen today, including the neon sign hanging over the front door with the Spot trademark. Inside, the last renovation was 1976. In the 1950’s, the restaurant started a catering business that continues today.

The best memories shared of the best dishes served at The Spot Restaurant almost always include the tenderloin sandwich and old-fashioned cream pie!

Tony Packo’s Cafe

Welcome to Tony Packo’s Café in Toledo.

  • Open: Monday-Thursday 11a.m.-10p.m., Friday-Saturday 11a.m.-11p.m., Sunday Noon-9p.m.
  • Location: (Map It) 1902 Front Street, Toledo, Ohio
  • Phone: 419-691-6054
  • Web: www.tonypacko.com/index.php

Tony Packo’s Café in Toledo, Ohio:  Tony’s offers a famous sausage-and-sauce sandwich that was a product of the Great Depression when Tony opened the restaurant.  The recipe is an original of Tony’s that he developed through experimentation in his kitchen.  It remains a closely guarded family secret.  Tony’s offers a variety of appetizers, chilies and soups, dinners, and desserts.  Much of the menu contains chili and peppers in some sort of combination.  The restaurant become famous during the airing of the show M.A.S.H. when Corporal Max Klinger, played by an actual Toledo native, was speaking of is home town Toledo and mentioned that Tony Packo’s had the best Hungarian hotdogs in the country.  That event catapulted the restaurant to new levels and it now thrives in the Toledo area and has opened several other stores.

The Warehouse Italian Dinners

Welcome to The Warehouse Italian Dinners in Marion.

  • Hours of Operation: Lunch Monday through Friday 11 to 3 (Buffet 11-2); Dinner Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday 5 to 9 and Friday & Saturday 5 to 10. Closed Sunday.
  • Location: (Map It) 320 West Center Street, Downtown Marion, Ohio
  • Phone: 740/387-8124 Fax: 740/387-8224
  • Web: www.thewarehouseitalian.com/

The Warehouse Italian Dinners in Marion is located in an historic building, formerly a stop for the Inter Urban Train called the CDM, which ran between Columbus, Delaware, & Marion. This unique glazed brick building was converted into a restaurant in 1994, and is now The Warehouse, Italian Dinners, filled with unique antique decor, and a homey atmosphere.

At The Warehouse, you can treat yourself to the delicious, authentic Italian food of the Old World. Taste sauces and food prepared from scratch in our kitchens just like Mama would have made. Let them pour you a glass of wine and bring you your favorite meal. At The Warehouse, you can step back in time to when things were a little simpler and there was always time for great food, family, & friends.

Amish Door Restaurant & Village

Welcome to Amish Door Restaurant & Village.

  • Open Monday – Saturday 7am – 8pm
  • Location: (Map It) 1210 Winesburg Street, Wilmot, Ohio
  • Phone: 330-359-5464 or 888-264-7436
  • Web: amishdoor.com/index.html

The Amish Door Restaurant & Village:  This restaurant is set in an oversized Amish style home that has a seating capacity of 450.  Patrons can choose from an extensive menu that has everything from breakfast to dessert.  All food is Amish style and guests can come for all meals of the day to enjoy the coziness of an Amish home with an Amish meal.  If guests prefer they can also choose to have a full family sized Amish style meal prepared instead of each person ordering for themselves.  There is also a take home menu featuring things such as bread prepared in the restaurant.

Close Quarters

Close Quarters – the world’s smallest bar – is located at (Map It) 31953 Lake Road in Avon Lake, Ohio. Be sure to confirm their hours by calling 440-933-5217 just to make sure you’re not greeted by a sign on the door that reads, “Gone Fishin’!”

Excerpt from a past edition of OhioTraveler

CLOSE-QUARTERS-AVON-LAKE-OHIt’s all in a name. Close Quarters on Lake Road in Avon Lake, Ohio has been said to be the world’s smallest bar, second smallest bar, one of the world’s ten smallest bars by MSNBC, Budget Travel and others.

That said, for anyone who’s squeezed into the bar, they are better known for their delicious wings and burgers. The fries are pretty tasty too. Oh, and spirits. All of which may be considered some of the best kept secrets in Ohio travel. And for regulars, they’d like to keep it that way. After all, there are only so many seats to go around. No worries, every newcomer is received with open arms. If you do stop in, expect a very friendly atmosphere and be ready to join in the conversation and laughter. The quarters are too close not to. Consider it a private party and you’ve been invited to pull up one of 11 bar stools or 12 seats along the wall where you’re bound to knock knees with those turning out from the bar. Don’t be shocked if your picture is taken and put on the wall of fame.

The space or lack thereof is used well. Walls, ceiling, you name it, has interesting memorabilia and collectibles that can occupy your attention all night. Every nook and cranny of the joint has a surprise and a laugh waiting for your gaze. The bar takes up most of the room but it leaves a little corner for the kitchen and rest rooms are just one skip down the hall.

Don’t be shy, be sure to select an interesting tune from the jukebox and enjoy your time in the neighborhood where if everyone didn’t know your name upon entry, they will all holler it on your way out because you have just become a friend of Close Quarters.

By Frank R. Satullo, The OhioTraveler

Covered Bridge Pizza Parlor

Welcome to the Covered Bridge  Pizza Parlor near Ashtabula, Ohio.

  • Open: Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. – midnight; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m.-1 a.m.
  • Location: Two Ashtabula area locations include 6541 South Main St. in North Kingsville, Ohio (Map It) and 380 East Main St. in Andover, Ohio (Map It)
  • Phone: 440-969-1000 or 440-224-2252
  • Web: Click here

The Covered Bridge  Pizza Parlor in Ashtabula:  The kid-friendly pizza parlors are nestled among the historic Ashtabula covered bridges. Ashtabula County is known as the Covered Bridge capital of Ohio. The spanning bridges offer an ambience to the pizza parlor and a nice back-drop for the Classic Car Cruise-Ins held on Thursdays throughout the summer months.

Guggisberg Swiss Inn

Welcome to the Guggisberg Swiss Inn in Millersburg.

The Guggisberg Swiss Inn in Millersburg:  The bed and breakfast is a family owned business opened in 1993.  It is located in Amish country and sits on top of a hill surrounded by Amish farms.  Though the inn is in the country it is still only minutes away from all the Holmes County has to offer.  The inn is excellent at capturing the essence of Amish living as it is just two miles north of Charm which is said to have more buggy traffic than anywhere in the world.  The inn offers many picnicking and hiking areas as well as a wonderful view of a large duck pond.  The inn also offers a complementary breakfast and evening snack.

Hoppin’ Frog Brewery & Tasting Room

Admission to the Hoppin’ Frog Brewery & Tasting Room is free. Must be 21 and over.

  • Open:  Mon. 5-10 pm, Tues.-Wed. 3-10 pm, Th.-Fri. 3-11 pm, & Sat. 12 noon-11 pm
  • Location: (Map It) 1680 East Waterloo Road (Route 224) in Akron, Ohio
  • Phone:  330-352-4578
  • Web:  www.HoppinFrog.com

hoppin frog in akronWelcome to the Hoppin’ Frog Brewery & Tasting Room in Akron, Ohio. Rated Ohio’s Best Beer and Best Brewery in 2015 by RateBeer.com, Hoppin’ Frog is the place to be, so stop-by and taste what everyone’s talking about! It has great food and sensational hand-crafted beer.

There’s a lot going on at Hoppin’ Frog, from great beer and food specials, to fun nightly events.  These include Infusion Tower Tuesdays, Meet-The-Brewers and $5-Pint Wednesdays, Vinyl Record Thursdays, Feature Fridays, and New Arrival Saturdays.

The Tasting Room is clean and attractive, and has clean, inviting bar area featuring 24 taps at 3 specific temperatures, for the perfect glass of beer every time.  With half on-tap as Hoppin’ Frog beers, and half on-tap as some of the best beers from around the world, its always a beer-lovers treat.  They also have a rare and guest bottle list to match, with many exclusive Hoppin’ Frog offerings in 22-ounce bottles to drink there or to-go.

The kitchen also makes everything fresh, so it has become very popular – especially for those who want to drink more than one beer.  It is much like the brewery, small but effective, with a focus on the highest quality.  The menu changes with the seasons, and includes fresh daily specials.  Their food is always a welcome compliment to the high quality craft beer being offered, to nicely round-out your Hoppin’ Frog experience.

Jake’s On Lake

Welcome to Jake’s On Lake in Avon Lake.

Jake’s On Lake  is located in Avon Lake, Ohio between Cleveland and the Lake Erie Islands. It has become favorite eatery and tavern for fishermen and travelers along Route 6, known locally as Lake Road.

This stretch of road was once the main thoroughfare connecting Northeast Ohio to Northwest Ohio before I-90 was introduced, but still serves many today – especially fishermen and those looking for a beautiful scenic drive along the “old shore way.”

It’s a rustic old roadside diner and tavern, beholds an atmosphere fitting for its lakeside location (although the view of the lake is obstructed by the homes built along the north-side of the road). The menu features American favorites and the delicious burgers, cooked medium-rare – half pound with mushrooms and grilled onions.

The building was formerly a Victorian farmhouse, a grocery and various taverns.

If you have the opportunity to travel along Route 6 or can afford a quick three-mile detour off I-90 at the Avon Lake exit, stop in at Jake’s On Lake for a taste of North Coast dining. For hours, directions and further information, call 440.933.9730.

Lady Charlton’s Tea Parlour

Welcome to Lady Charlton’s  Tea Parlour in Willoughby.

  • Open: Tuesday – Friday 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Saturday 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Sundays Closed
  • Location: (Map It) 4128 Erie Street, Willoughby, Ohio
  • Phone: 440-269-8380

Lady Charlton’s Tea Parlour, decorated in fine Victorian style, is located in the heart of historic downtown Willoughby. Surrounded by antique shops, gift boutiques, pubs, and coffee bars, it provides a perfect place for shoppers and local business folks of both genders and all ages to relax for a few minutes with a soothing cup of tea or a bite to eat before charging back into the fray. They serve light lunches as well as an afternoon tea, and tea lovers can choose their favorite from a long list of offerings.

At the front of the shop a small gift shop offers dainty gifts, jewelry, books and magazines, stationery, china tea ware, tea paraphernalia, and 45 varieties of bulk tea, all arranged in attractive display cases.  Stop in and say hi to co-owners Carol Clark and Janet Dell and have some tea. You’ll be glad you did!

Little Italy’s Mama Santa’s Restaurant & Presti’s Bakery

Mama-SantaWelcome to Cleveland Little Italy’s favorite restaurant and bakery: Mama Santa’s Restaurant & Presti’s Bakery.

Having explored Ohio for years covering the roads less traveled, I get hungry. Any road warrior knows that discovering something mm-mmm good is a big part of the traveling experience.

I’ve also spent a few years in Europe and traveled Italy from top to bottom, big cities, small villages and an island. To boot, my surname is Sicilian. That said, I’d say I’m somewhat qualified to identify a good a pizza pie and cannoli.

I grew up in the Cleveland area and my grandparents’ houses were near downtown. Over the years, I have made more than a few trips to Murray Hill known as Cleveland’s Little Italy. Although festivals there are wonderful I enjoy the laid back days when the pavement is cooler and the crowds are thin enough not to get bumped from the sidewalks.

Much like overseas in the old country, parking is not easily found. You will have to walk. Trust me. That’s a blessing. Many people refer to Little Italy and other ethnic neighborhoods as a cultural experience. Not me. A real neighborhood has its own personality!

I love the food, the art, the shops and the people around Murray Hill. The conversation is lively and the laughter is hearty. The stroll by foot from shop to shop is full of sights that make you feel a part of something outside your normal world.

But at some point, you need a bite to eat. And if you like pizza, try Mama Santa’s Restaurant for the best darn pizza in Ohio. For dessert, walk down the street to Presti’s Bakery for the best darn cannoli in Ohio. I’ll even go a step further and say that these two are even better than anything I had in the mother country.

Mama Santa’s reminds me of the little eateries I’d grab a bite at off the beaten path in Italy. It’s cozy. Nobody is in a hurry. Relax. Stay a while and engage in conversation over some soft drinks or beer and a tangy pizza that is chewy and crisp at the same time. Oh, and the price is shockingly economical and may not seem fair …to the merchant… considering your taste buds will continue to explode with flavor with each lick of the corners of your mouth after the pie is gone.

If you have fancy-schmancy tastes, go elsewhere. Mama Santa’s is reserved for the people who enjoy the little things in life. If you haven’t been there in umpteen years, no worries, it’s probably exactly as you remember it, right down to the music serenading off the walls.

After a bite like that, you need to walk it off. And there’s plenty to see, do and buy on Mayfield Road and Murray Hill. Browse through the art galleries and specialty shops for Italian pottery, jewelry, designer clothes or dresses.

prestis-bakeryEventually, your nose will take over your internal GPS system and lead you to Presti’s Bakery. They have just about any Italian dessert under the sun and coffee to chase it. They also serve deli sandwiches and breads. But the creamy ricotta-filled cannoli is as they say, “to die for.” And it’s been that way for more than 100 years.

Inside, it is always hopping with people that just can’t get enough. Take-out boxes are hanging over table edges with all walks of life chatting and laughing while they sample their purchases. The large glass front window allows light to pour over the blond wood floors.

After an enjoyable, slow paced, conversation rich, appetizing afternoon in Cleveland’s Little Italy atop Murray Hill, it’s time to find that precious parking spot a casual walk away and reenter the modern world and its hustle and bustle – all the while, yearning for a return before even leaving.

For more information to plan a visit to Murray Hill, visit www.littleitalycleveland.com. Mama Santa’s Restaurant is located at 12305 Mayfield Road in Cleveland, OH 44106 (Map It). Call (216) 421-2159. Presti’s Bakery & Café is located at 12101 Mayfield Road in Cleveland, OH  44106 (Map It). Phone (216) 421-3060.

By the taste buds of Frank R. Satullo, the OhioTraveler

Mapleside Farms

Welcome to Mapleside Farms in Brunswick.

Mapleside Farms in Brunswick, Ohio:  Featuring a farm market & bakery, banquet facilities, group catering, gift shop and Ice Cream Parlor, this is a unique destination. The rustic multi-leveled building overlooks the 100 acre apple farm. Over 20 varieties of fresh picked apples can be purchased in the Farm Market & Bakery along with pies, strudel, pastries, apple cider and more. The Butcher Shop features over 300 kinds of homemade sausage, hand cut steaks, chicken, and pork. In the Gift Shop you’ll find unique home decor and gift items. The Ice Cream Parlor is open April through October and offers 20 flavors of home made ice cream and 14 delicious flavors of frozen yogurt. In the Fall you can experience fun on the farm with a three-acre corn maze, pick your own pumpkins, pick your own apples and horse drawn wagon rides through the orchards. Special events are scheduled throughout the year. Open year round. Closed Mondays.

Rego’s Brickhouse Pizza


Welcome to Rego’s Brickhouse Pizza

  • Open: Monday-Thursday 11:00am-9:00pm, Friday & Saturday 11:00am-10:00pm, and Sunday 1:00pm-8:00pm
  • Location: (Map It) 326 New 4th St. in Fairport Harbor, Ohio
  • Phone: 440-853-8346
  • Web: regosbrickhousepizza.com

Rego’s Brickhouse Pizza is a small, family-owned restaurant in the quaint waterfront village of Fairport Harbor. It’s here, on the corner of New Fourth Street, that pizza is made the old-fashioned way, every single day. It all begins with a brick of yeast and then the dough is hand rolled. It’s then covered in a simmering Italian sauce that is also made fresh daily. The ingredients are purchased from the local market and even the mozzarella is grated fresh daily.

Nothing beats homemade, and that rings true for the rest of the menu items as well, including soups, salads, and of course, meatballs and sausage. Rego’s has become well known for their Family Pasta Meals, offered Mondays and Tuesdays for dine in customers. They also offer unique heart shaped pizzas, which can be ordered any day of the week.

Rego’s Brickhouse Pizza is situated off the beaten path in the center of a residential neighborhood. It offers free delivery anywhere in town, and extends that service to five neighboring communities, and to the myriad marinas along the Grand River. They even deliver to the beach at Fairport Harbor Lakefront Park. Rego’s Brickhouse Pizza is named after the original Brickhouse Pizza that owner David Rego started in Whittier, California.

Sweet Moses Soda Fountain

Welcome to Sweet Moses Soda Fountain & Treat Shop in Cleveland.

  • Open: Sunday thru Thursday from Noon – 10pm and Friday & Saturday from Noon – Midnight.
  • Location: (Map It) 6800 Detroit Ave., in Cleveland, Ohio
  • Phone: 216 651-2202
  • Web: www.sweetmosestreats.com

Sweet Moses Soda Fountain & Treat Shop, located in Cleveland’s historic Gordon Square Arts District, epitomizes the quintessential ice cream and confections experience. Harkening back to the days of the vintage soda fountain, attention is paid to every detail – from ice cream served up behind an authentic Bastion-Blessings soda fountain and root beer straight from the barrel to handmade English toffee and chocolate barks to freshly-popped popcorn and homemade pies. Even the hot fudge and caramel sauces that top the sundaes are fresh out of the Sweet Moses kitchen.

Swensons Drive In

Welcome to Swensons Drive In located at seven sites in Greater Akron, Ohio.

Swensons Drive In Restaurants in Greater Akron, Ohio: Business Insider named it the 21st best burger joint in America. It’s no wonder this historic regional fast-food chain is a favorite in Northeast Ohio. It features about 20 different milkshakes and its signature, Galley Boy, double-cheese burger with two secret sauces topped with an olive. Wesley T. “Pop” Swenson started the first Swensons Drive In in 1934. Stop in this old-fashioned drive-in restaurant for a taste of the past. Just park, leave your lights on and a car hop will take and deliver your order to you at your car window.

The Estate On Coffee Creek

Welcome to The Estate On Coffee Creek in Austinburg.

  • Open Friday and Saturday 5pm to 10pm. Reservations are highly recommended
  • Location: (Map It) 1591 State Route 45, Austinburg, Ohio
  • Phone: 440-275-5022
  • Web: www.coffeecreekestate.com

The Estate On Coffee Creek in Austinburg:  Coffee Creek Estate is located in the heart of the Grand River Valley wine region of Northeastern Ohio. The Estate was constructed in 1840 by two gentleman returning from the California gold rush. The Estate took almost ten years to construct using hand carved beams, railroad track and tons of stone from the creek bed, which is the Estate’s namesake. Over the years the Estate has been home to prospectors, gentlemen farmers, steam engine builders, a safe haven for the underground railroad, an antique auctioneer, hosted location for the Betty Davis movie “The Dark Secrets of Harvest Home” and now chef Nicholas Kustala and somellier Giovanna Kustala are bringing yet a new chapter into the Estates long history with passion for great food and wine.

West Side Market

Welcome to West Side Market in Cleveland’s Ohio City neighborhood.

  • Open: Monday & Wednesday from 7am – 4pm and Friday and Saturday from 7am – 6pm
  • Location: (Map It) 1979 West 25th Street in Cleveland, Ohio
  • Phone: 216-664-3387
  • Web: westsidemarket.org/about.html

The historic West Side Market in Cleveland’s Ohio City provides an old-world shopping experience featuring an indoor and outdoor marketplace that spans the cultural diversities of the world’s ethnic foods.

Resting on the West Bank of the Cuyahoga River overlooking downtown Cleveland, this 1912 multicultural landmark features more than 100 stands selling some of the best, and in many cases – rare, delicacies around. Patrons will find wide varieties of fresh seafood, meat, vegetables, fruit, bakery items, herbs, pastas and a whole lot more. From a tourist’s viewpoint, it’s like traveling the world within a city block.

Upon arriving, the historic complex can’t be missed in all its grandeur – from the clock tower to the Neo-Classical/Byzantine style architecture. Inside, it’s a meeting of the nations’ old-world commerce – conversations mixed with transactions and always bustling with crowds of people spanning the spectrum of humanity. Newcomers may want to grab a gourmet coffee and pastry and ascend to the balcony overlooking the cavernous building to observe the activity below or take in the beautiful décor of the ornate interior design. Navigating the isles, kids are sure to notice the boars’ heads, pigs feat and other oddities presented as entrees.

Outside, stroll along the extended open-air marketplace where just about every fresh produce grown under the sun is laid out in a striking medley of color. Steering through the sea of people is an experience itself. Whether coming to people-watch, join in the social mixture, or do some exotic grocery shopping, don’t leave before trying a hot dog or sausage sandwich at Johnny Hot Dog, Cleveland’s oldest hot dog stand.

More Things to do This Month in Ohio

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