Visiting Main Street Ohio

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Michael Hoffman
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Re:Visiting Main Street Ohio - Mon, 03/21/11 4:46 PM
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annpeeples


Boy, that roast beef sandwich has my mouth watering. Just love food like that!!


For some reason, around here they call a hot roast beef sandwich a Split. Same for meatloaf and turkey. But they're served exactly the same way as the roast beef sandwich in buffetbuster's photo.

ann peeples
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Re:Visiting Main Street Ohio - Mon, 03/21/11 8:37 PM
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Well, give me a split anytime-including a turkey and meatloaf!

buffetbuster
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Re:Visiting Main Street Ohio - Mon, 03/21/11 10:54 PM
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Nancypalooza


I thought that was going to be sour cream raisin too!  So I'm guessing a sweetened condensed milk custardy version instead?  That place looks like Pie Valhalla.

So one serious question.  When you are faced with an abundance like that, how do you decide?  Do you have preexisting 'I will get this' rules or do you go more with what's in front of you?
Thanks for asking.  When faced with a lot of choices, it is some combination of if they have something unusual or unique, what I'm in the mood for and what looks good.  The cherry pie here was chosen simply because it looked so outstanding.
 
AHI-
Glad to know that I can still surprise you occasionally! 


buffetbuster
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Re:Visiting Main Street Ohio - Mon, 03/21/11 11:21 PM
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hatteras04

I have been to Ben & Joy's a few times.  My wife and I camp at Deer Creek state park right near there a lot and we've had dinner there a time or two and breakfast once.  The breakfast was better as both times for dinner we got the buffet which was ok but not outstanding.  Unfortunately, I've never gotten pie so I can't tell you if it is worth driving very far out of the way for.  But we are probably going to go camping there starting next month so I'll check it out and let you know. 

Thanks for the reply!  It sounds like it would be better to go to Ben & Joy's in the morning, so as to avoid the buffet.  If you do get there before me and try the pie, please report back.  I much appreciate the info.  And if you get to Peggy Sue's, let me know what you think.

MiamiDon
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Re:Visiting Main Street Ohio - Tue, 03/22/11 8:05 AM
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Great-looking pies, BB!
 
You didn't by any chance inquire as to what BK Chicken was at Tommy's?

buffetbuster
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Re:Visiting Main Street Ohio - Tue, 03/22/11 8:34 AM
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Thanks MD!  I did see that but didn't ask.  BK Chicken sounds like something the minds of Burger King would come up with.

buffetbuster
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Re:Visiting Main Street Ohio - Tue, 03/22/11 10:43 AM
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Like most of our trips west, our first stop after I picked up Mariton was at Mehlman's Cafeteria

in St. Clairsville, OH.  This is because:
1) it is right next to the highway
2) you can easily be in and out in a half hour
3) we love the variety of food that you get at cafeterias
4) the food is really good!
 
I have been here at least a dozen times and the huge parking lot has always been almost full.  Yet we never seem to have a long wait.  That is because they have two lines. 

And when we walk up, everyone is always in the line to the left.  Doesn't matter if it is two people or 20 people, the line to the right (which in this photo would now be the line to the left) is always much shorter.  On previous visits, I would stop and make sure I'm not cutting in front of people.  Now, I just walk right through.  It does make me wonder why everyone is in the other line.  Does it have a bigger selection?
 
Anyway, even before you get to the line, they have a menu board with the prices. 

You have to love those prices!  Like any smart cafeteria, they have the dessert first,

which is fine with me.  We grabbed a couple trays full of food and sat down.  Here is a photo before we started eating. 

You don't need to be Sherlock Holmes to figure out which tray is mine and which one is hers.
 
One of the odd things about this place is the lighting.  There seems to be plenty of light, but I have never been able to get decent photos here without using the flash.  Mariton got the tuna noodle casserole, which is what I would have got if I was in front of her, instead of the other way around.  Tuna noodle casserole is one of my very favorite dishes and the version here, filled with peas, carrots and thick noodles is perfect!

The side of pierogies were nice and tender.   The broccoli casserole was also well received by her and disappeared quickly.  We both got sides of deviled eggs and how can you screw that up?
 
My sides were less successful.  The green beans lacked flavor and needed to be infused with more pork.  The mac and cheese was not good and it tasted like they used some low quality cheese. 

Luckily, the ham loaf, my go to dish here was as good as always.  I got a question for you?  They always ask if I want my ham loaf covered in chicken gravy or beef gravy.  I usually get the chicken gravy, but which one do you think would work better?
 
The pies were coconut cream and apple.


In a change from the norm, Mariton preferred the apple pie, especially the apple filling, while I was a fan of the coconut, especially the airy meringue.
 
One of the interesting things about Mehlman's is that we are usually by far the youngest people dining here.  Apparently, the younger generation doesn't like cafeterias or cafeteria food.  I guess they got enough of that in school.
 
Mehlman Cafeteria
51800 National Road
St. Clarisville, OH
740-695-1000 
<message edited by buffetbuster on Tue, 03/22/11 10:51 AM>

GeoNit
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Re:Visiting Main Street Ohio - Tue, 03/22/11 12:13 PM
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Cliff, I usually get in the left serving line at Mehlman's because the Prime Rib ($7.95) isn't available from the right serving tables!

ann peeples
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Re:Visiting Main Street Ohio - Tue, 03/22/11 12:17 PM
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I would prefer a chicken gravy on the ham loaf. Gosh, I havent had that in years!! I am glad to hear it is a consistent choice, BB.

buffetbuster
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Re:Visiting Main Street Ohio - Tue, 03/22/11 12:26 PM
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GeoNit-
As usual, you come up with a great answer!  Thanks so much.  Since the prime rib doesn't interest me, we will stay in that right line.
 
ann-
Glad you agree with me about the chicken gravy.  And how many restaurants even serve ham loaf anymore?

buffetbuster
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Re:Visiting Main Street Ohio - Tue, 03/22/11 1:51 PM
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We got all the way to Cincinnati before we stopped for food again.  Because it was after 9:00PM and a lot of places were closed, our choices were limited.  We settled on the Roadfood reviewed Zip's Cafe.  Truthfully, the place didn't really appeal to me too much, until I saw on their website that they get the meat for their cheeseburgers at Avril-Bleh, which is a 120 year old downtown meat market that the Sterns recently reviewed.
 
Zip's Cafe

doesn't have their own lot and even though there is plenty of street parking, we had to park a good distance up the road and walk.  The inside is dark and small and luckily for us, one booth was open.  There is a train which silently moves along the tracks of the front dining room. 

As young as we felt at Mehlman's, the exact opposite was true here.  We were by far the oldest customers and it looks to be a college hangout.  Despite us being the old fogeys here, we received excellent service.
 
Mariton went to the ladies room and told me to just go ahead and order. The menu

is what you would typically see in a bar, with no real surprises.  Without her to reign me in, I got four different things.  First thing brought out was the chili. 

I only ordered this because of the Roadfood review.  The cheese, onions and jalapenos on top were a nice addition, but the chili itself was mild and nondescript.  The rest of the food was brought out and Mariton started on the onion rings. 

She ate a few and then started to feel queasy.  She thought the onion rings were greasy and thought it was the oil they were fried in was old.  I agreed they were greasy and heavily coated but felt no ill effects.  Since this was Cincy, I went for the grilled mettwurst. 

The waitress did ask me what I wanted on top and settled for onions and mustard.  The wiener came out sitting in a hamburger bun.  Although it was nicely grilled, a hot dog bun would have been a better choice.  I also assumed the onions would be chopped.  When I pointed out it had no mustard, she said that there was yellow mustard on the table.  I had hoped for a brown mustard, but since I didn't specify, we will chalk that up to being my fault.  So, I ended up eating the mett by itself.  It was nicely grilled and flavorful.
 
The food highlight was definitely the zip burger. 

There is no doubt that this is high quality beef they are using and it tastes like it.  Of the four items we sampled, this was by far the best and the only thing we finished.  They did have some desserts available, but we were tired at this point and headed for our hotel in Blue Ash for the night.
 
Zip's Cafe
1036 Delta Avenue
Cincinnati, OH
513-871-9876

Greymo
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Re:Visiting Main Street Ohio - Tue, 03/22/11 3:10 PM
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It was interesting to read that you were offered a choice of chicken  or  beef  gravy on your ham loaf.  I  would have never thought to use either  but  chicken would certainly be the better choice.  I make ham loaf  quite often and always served it with a heavily peppered milk  gravy   and  sometimes  put  freshly grated  Parmesan on top.

buffetbuster
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Re:Visiting Main Street Ohio - Tue, 03/22/11 3:13 PM
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Greymo-
While the chicken gravy does work on the ham loaf, your milk gravy sounds 100% more delicious.

ann peeples
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Re:Visiting Main Street Ohio - Tue, 03/22/11 8:38 PM
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I agree with BB-your gravy sounds great, Greymo.

buffetbuster
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Re:Visiting Main Street Ohio - Wed, 03/23/11 1:56 PM
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Since we got in so late the night before, we slept later than we had hoped.  We didn't arrive at our breakfast destination until 10:15AM.  Located in a neighborhood I don't think I would go to at night, Tucker's

has been in business since 1946.  The place was mostly full, but there were two seats open at the far end of the counter, so we grabbed them.  The inside is charming, in an old school kind of way, with both booth and counter seats available.  Look in this photo

and you can see how uneven parts of the counter are.  The menu is two sided,

with breakfast on one side and lunch on the other.
 
Soon after we ordered, an elderly woman came up to us and asked if we wanted the booth she had been sitting in.  I didn't notice when I first walked in, but now recognized her as Mrs. Tucker, now in her 90s.  Michael Stern has a photo of her in the Roadfood review, sitting at the booth peeling potatoes.  We declined her offer and I told her I saw a photo of her on the internet peeling potatoes.  She laughed and said she has been doing that for 65 years now and that you would think there would be enough of them by now!  During the entire time we were here, she was busy, in and out of the backroom.  I snapped a photo of her clearing some dishes. 

She is a very nice lady and it is great to see that she is still involved in the family business.
 
Unfortunately, things went downhill from there.  Because there was only one waiter and one man at the grill, the food was taking a long time.  I'm sure the fact that they were really busy played a major part.  Still, the waiter could see that by the time an hour had passed, we were getting frustrated.  He came over and assured us a couple times that it would be out soon.  
 
Finally, after an hour and ten minutes, we got our food.  Mariton went with one of the specials, the red flannel hash. 

This was a combination of potatoes, sweet potatoes, peppers, onions, turnips and of course, beets and she seemed to really like it.  The side of fresh fruit was also much appreciated and we both worked that over.  I went with the six cheese omelet and a side of goetta. 

The goetta, which they get from nearby Eckerlin Meats, was perfectly crispy on the outside, creamy on the inside and was the best goetta I have had yet.  While I was eating the goetta, Joe Tucker came over and put another extra portion , hot off the grill, on my plate, which also disappeared quickly.
 
Now, about that long wait.....  Mariton thinks that some regualrs who came in after us, got their food first, which is why we had such a long wait.  Although I did see some people get their food first, they ordered stuff that doesn''t come off the grill, so they should get their English muffins and other such things quickly.  I would have been more upset if the waiter wasn't hustling, but he must have refilled Mariton's coffee cup at least a half dozen times, if not more.  I will never, ever, be happy with an over a hour wait for food, but in this case, I think it was more of a matter of bad timing and a one man grill than anything.  I would definitely go back to Tucker's, but go much earlier in the morning.  By the time we left, it was already noon and we had to skip a few other things we had hoped to do.
 
Tucker's
1637 Vine Street
Cincinnati, OH
513-721-7123
<message edited by buffetbuster on Wed, 03/23/11 1:57 PM>

Ahi Mpls.
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Re:Visiting Main Street Ohio - Thu, 03/24/11 9:00 AM
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 Yikes! that is WAY too long to have to wait for breakfast. 
  I was morning gal at my last cooking gig, and the grill (flat top) was SO teeny that I would be constantly visiting tables with an apology and free cinnamon rolls.   
 It's just a bad situation for everyone. 
 But, YAY! for great goetta!  

buffetbuster
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Re:Visiting Main Street Ohio - Thu, 03/24/11 9:44 AM
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One of the things that brought us to Cincinnati for the weekend was a chance to visit another President's house, this time William Howard Taft.  Although he didn't live here much as an adult, this is where he was born and spent his childhood.  The big yellow house

really sticks out in the neighborhood.  Here is a photo of the house in 1868

and the young guy sitting on the post in the left of the photo is the future President. 
 
Because the house was sold out of the Taft family and even became an apartment building at one time, there is very few original family pieces in the house.  They only have three rooms decorated with period furniture, while the rest of the rooms are used as a museum.  In the living room,

the curtains not only match the chair, but go well onto the floor, which I found unusual.  Taft was also famous for being a very large man (here

are four men sitting in the special bathtub which had to be installed in the White House for him) and also being the first President to throw out the first pitch at a baseball game.

 
My favorite part of the museum was seeing all the political cartoons as this time in American history is when this style of cartoons really seemed to be at their zenith.  The first one shows Teddy Roosevelt touting Taft

as his choice to be the next President and then the split between T.R. and Taft

four years later over the Republican Presidential nomination.  Having been born in the Philippines, Mariton really liked the section on his time as Governor-General of the Philippines.
 
After spending almost two hours here, we were ready for lunch.
<message edited by buffetbuster on Thu, 03/24/11 9:45 AM>

buffetbuster
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Re:Visiting Main Street Ohio - Thu, 03/24/11 1:26 PM
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A big thanks to Roadfood poster TJ Jackson, who always has plenty of good suggestions before I visit the Queen City.  This time was no different and he reminded me that we should go to Terry's Turf Club for a burger.  We did go and we couldn't be happier!
 
Things did get off to an inauspicious start, though.  We pulled up at a small building that said Terry's Turf Club parking

and when I walked up to the front door, it was locked and the inside was empty.  Is it really possible that this place had closed?  Are we really being
?
There was a yard sale at the house next door and I asked Mariton if she could ask them what happened to the restaurant, while I walked around looking for any signs.  Mariton consulted with them and then told me that Terry's is just a short distance down the street and this lot was used for spillover parking.  Whew!  As we got closer, there was at least a dozen people milling around outside, so I went in to put our name on the list.  The hostess said since we only had two, she could seat us right away at a hightop table for four, which we would have to share with another couple.  No problem!
 
Seeing how big the famous burgers are on other people's plates, Mariton said there was no way she could eat one herself.  So we decided to split one and get a couple of sides.  The menu is two sided laminated and if you have really good eyes, you might be able to read them.


The menu had some real surprises on it.  When was the last time you saw a bar that specializes in burgers also serve pate and foie gras?  Definitely a first for me!
 
While you are waiting for your food, you can help yourself to the bowl of peanuts

and yes, you can throw the shells on the floor.  The first food out was one of the specials, filet mignon chili.

Sorry about the poor photo, but the lighting in here was funky.  The chili was beanless, had long shreds of beef and had a nice zing to it.  I would get this again.  We were close enough to the open kitchen, they we could oooh and aaahh over the beautiful burgers

on the grill.  By this time, we were really salivating in anticipation.  When our wonderful waitress Margot brought the burger over, I asked her to pose for a quick pic and she was happy to oblige. 

A big thanks to her for bringing us a serious knife, since we were splitting it.  Mariton insisted on doing the cutting and chopped off no more than 1/4th of the burger for herself.  Oh my goodness, what a great burger this is!


No doubt that they use high quality meat and it delivers that strong beefy flavor.  Grilled to our medium preference, it was very moist and juicy.  For toppings, the grilled onions added lots of extra flavor along with lettuce and tomato.  All on a nice squishy bun.  The superb fries,

were a lovely golden hue and tasted hand cut.  I will be hard pressed to find a better burger all year.
 
The inside of Terry's is dark, but mostly lit up by a huge collection of neon signs. 



For a neon lover like myself, it is a sight to see.  The outside


is decorated with all kinds of signs, clocks, memorabilia and other strange stuff.  This place has an even busier exterior than Lynn's Paradise Cafe in Louisville, although not quite at the level of Hillbilly Hot Dogs in WV.
 
As we started to walk out the door, Margot told us to hold up and she went to the bar and grabbed us a souvenir pen.  And not just any pen, this one also has the menu on it when you puill down!

Terry's Turf Club gets an unequivocal thumbs up and we will most likely eat here on all future trips to Cincy.
 
Terry's Turf Club
4618 Eastern Avenue
Cincinnati, OH
513-533-4222
 
Since we were in the area, we stopped at the old Lunken Airport

to see the art deco murals


in the main building.  This was Cincinnati's main airport until 1937 and now used mostly for private planes.  You can also take flying lessons or get a helicopter ride here.  Anyway, the murals are quite nice and we enjoyed poking around the old place for a half hour or so. 
 
More to come.....
<message edited by buffetbuster on Thu, 03/24/11 1:31 PM>

NC Cheesehead
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Re:Visiting Main Street Ohio - Thu, 03/24/11 3:11 PM
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I thought Charlotte NC. was the Queen city named after Queen Charlotte Mecklenberg.  Did not realize there was a Queen Cincinnati. 

The Travelin Man
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Re:Visiting Main Street Ohio - Thu, 03/24/11 3:21 PM
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I know that you were joking, but I went to Terry's Turf Club with CajunKing only to find the place closed.

buffetbuster
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Re:Visiting Main Street Ohio - Thu, 03/24/11 3:25 PM
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The Travelin Man


I know that you were joking, but I went to Terry's Turf Club with CajunKing only to find the place closed.

Of course you did!
 
NC Cheesehead-
Apparently, there are quite a few cities that claim to be The Queen City.
  
 
<message edited by buffetbuster on Thu, 03/24/11 3:26 PM>

TJ Jackson
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Re:Visiting Main Street Ohio - Thu, 03/24/11 3:26 PM
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Both cities (Cincinnati and Charlotte) are called the Queen City by locals
 
Even more surprising than the foie gras is the jamon iberico bellota, which i think is something on the order of a hundred bucks a pound or more.  I dont think they stock it consistently
 
I believe the place has no electrical lighting other than Neon.  The owner is a big fan of neon, and in fact his previous eatery was called - Neon's
 
Glad you liked it

Michael Hoffman
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Re:Visiting Main Street Ohio - Thu, 03/24/11 3:30 PM
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NC Cheesehead


I thought Charlotte NC. was the Queen city named after Queen Charlotte Mecklenberg.  Did not realize there was a Queen Cincinnati. 

For your information and edification about Cincinnati, the Queen City:
 
In 1854, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote his poem, Catawba Wine, to memorialize the city's vineyards, especially those of Nicholas Longworth. The last stanza of the poem reads:
 
"And this Song of the Vine,
This greeting of mine,
The winds and the birds shall deliver,
To the Queen of the West,
In her garlands dressed,
On the banks of the Beautiful River."



MiamiDon
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Re:Visiting Main Street Ohio - Fri, 03/25/11 8:46 AM
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NC Cheesehead


I thought Charlotte NC. was the Queen city named after Queen Charlotte Mecklenberg.  Did not realize there was a Queen Cincinnati. 


Oddly enough, there is a Mecklenburg Gardens in Cincinnati.
 
http://www.mecklenburgs.net/
 
 

Nancypalooza
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Re:Visiting Main Street Ohio - Fri, 03/25/11 11:32 AM
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Yeah, the jamon iberico did seem . . . huh? . . TJ if you know more about the owner or originator, I'd love to hear more about that place.  And now I want one of those burgers real bad! 
 
I love those murals Cliff--did you know anything about the artist before you went or you just knew they had art deco stuff?

buffetbuster
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Re:Visiting Main Street Ohio - Fri, 03/25/11 1:43 PM
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Nancy-
I knew nothing about the murals ahead of time, just that the old airport was art deco.  Thanks to you guys pointing it out, I looked up jamon iberico.  Seriously, how odd is it that they have it there?
 
MiamiDon-
And we drove right past Mecklenberg Gardens on this trip.  I ate there about a decade ago and wasn't particularly impressed.
 
Michael-
Thanks for posting the stanza from Wordsworth.  It is amazing what you can learn in these forums!

soozycue520
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Re:Visiting Main Street Ohio - Fri, 03/25/11 6:42 PM
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Nancypalooza


Yeah, the jamon iberico did seem . . . huh? . . TJ if you know more about the owner or originator, I'd love to hear more about that place.  And now I want one of those burgers real bad! 

I love those murals Cliff--did you know anything about the artist before you went or you just knew they had art deco stuff?


Nancypalooza~
Terry Carter used to own a bar called "Neon's" for many years in Over-the-Rhine, the area directly north of downtown Cincy. That is where his collection of neon signs grew. He decided to "retire" to travel and fish. After a while, he got bored and decided to go back into the bar business.
Terry's nephew had just graduated culinary school, and he hired him to create a menu. His nephew is the creator of the sauces.
I have been to TTC numerous times, and Terry is usually there, introducing himself, asking what you ordered, and handing out samples of new sauce ideas. One time, it was a tangerine habanero mustard. Very good.
My standard order is a burger with sauteed onion, blue cheese and the burgundy wine, mushroom & truffle sauce. Yummo!!!
As for how the jamon iberico got on the menu ~ Terry brought some back from a trip to (I believe) Spain, and served it at a private cocktail party. Everyone enjoyed it so much, he decided to offer it, for a short time, as an appetizer at TTC. A friend and I went so we could try it during the "limited engagement". It's served with assorted cheeses. It really is fabulous ham, albeit quite expensive. This was quite a long time ago, so obviously, it has done well enough to make it past a limited engagement!! When we were first there to try it, he had the black hoof on display, since this is the way you verify the authenticity of the jambon.
I have a review under hamburgers, I believe, with a picture of Terry.
Found it!! Terry's pic is down a bit, with my update on 10/21/08:
http://www.roadfood.com/Forums/Terry39s-Turf-Club-Cincy-PicsUPDATED-102108-m440425.aspx
<message edited by soozycue520 on Fri, 03/25/11 6:48 PM>

soozycue520
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Re:Visiting Main Street Ohio - Fri, 03/25/11 6:53 PM
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Oh, and Buffetbuster~when I saw you went to Zip's, I was gonna say you should have gone to TTC, since you were so close, because they have a much better burger. Glad you made it!!

TJ Jackson
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Re:Visiting Main Street Ohio - Fri, 03/25/11 8:24 PM
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Soozy - I have never been in Terry's when it is empty, as it is shown in some of the early pictures in your thread linked above.  The place is always packed, albeit I have not made it there during their new-ish lunch hours, so I dont know if thats a (relatively) slow time for them or not

Nancypalooza
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Re:Visiting Main Street Ohio - Fri, 03/25/11 9:47 PM
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Soozy thank you!  Now all of that makes perfect sense!

mr chips
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Re:Visiting Main Street Ohio - Sat, 03/26/11 2:43 AM
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Bread pudding pie sounds interesting to me. great report and what a find!

buffetbuster
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Re:Visiting Main Street Ohio - Mon, 06/27/11 6:49 PM
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soozycue520


Nancypalooza


Yeah, the jamon iberico did seem . . . huh? . . TJ if you know more about the owner or originator, I'd love to hear more about that place.  And now I want one of those burgers real bad! 

I love those murals Cliff--did you know anything about the artist before you went or you just knew they had art deco stuff?


Nancypalooza~
Terry Carter used to own a bar called "Neon's" for many years in Over-the-Rhine, the area directly north of downtown Cincy. That is where his collection of neon signs grew. He decided to "retire" to travel and fish. After a while, he got bored and decided to go back into the bar business.
Terry's nephew had just graduated culinary school, and he hired him to create a menu. His nephew is the creator of the sauces.
I have been to TTC numerous times, and Terry is usually there, introducing himself, asking what you ordered, and handing out samples of new sauce ideas. One time, it was a tangerine habanero mustard. Very good.
My standard order is a burger with sauteed onion, blue cheese and the burgundy wine, mushroom & truffle sauce. Yummo!!!
As for how the jamon iberico got on the menu ~ Terry brought some back from a trip to (I believe) Spain, and served it at a private cocktail party. Everyone enjoyed it so much, he decided to offer it, for a short time, as an appetizer at TTC. A friend and I went so we could try it during the "limited engagement". It's served with assorted cheeses. It really is fabulous ham, albeit quite expensive. This was quite a long time ago, so obviously, it has done well enough to make it past a limited engagement!! When we were first there to try it, he had the black hoof on display, since this is the way you verify the authenticity of the jambon.
I have a review under hamburgers, I believe, with a picture of Terry.
Found it!! Terry's pic is down a bit, with my update on 10/21/08:
http://www.roadfood.com/Forums/Terry39s-Turf-Club-Cincy-PicsUPDATED-102108-m440425.aspx

 
Soozycue-
How in the world did I miss this the first time around?  Thanks so much for all the great information.


buffetbuster
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Re:Visiting Main Street Ohio - Mon, 06/27/11 7:39 PM
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Since he was in town doing demos for his excellent bbq sauce, BuddyRoadhouse invited up to Cleveland me to meet him at Sokolowski's University InnBuddy surprised me by showing up with a pint of Graeter's Black Raspberry Chip,

which we ate over the trunk of his car.  Man, it doesn't get much better than that on a warm Summer night!  Thanks Buddy!  A prelude to the usual fine meal at Sokolowski's.
 
Since my girlfriend had housesitting duties and I was on my own for all day Saturday, I got a hotel room for the night, with plans to hit some of the Polish/Hungarian places the Sterns had recently reviewed. 
 
First up Saturday morning was State Meats

in Parma.  This is first and foremost a butcher shop, but they do have some other foods around for immediate consumption.  I started with the kielbasi sandwich. 

The kielbasi itself is short, squat, with a pleasantly rugged skin and was incredibly juicy.  The bun was perfectly soft and the meat was covered with sauerkraut and brown mustard.  Just a terrific first snack of the day.  While in there, I also asked for a pound of the halushki to go. 

I didn't get a chance to sample this until the next morning.  The highlight of the halushki was the smoked bacon, which turned a good side of comfort food into something truly memorable.
 
While the older woman (who had a thick Eastern European accent) was getting my haluski, I was scouring the meat case for the smokies that Michael Stern mentions in the review.  Just then, the younger woman gave me a sample of sausage, which she told me was the smokie.  She must have been reading my mind.  I asked for a 1/2 lb. to go. 

This sausage indeed has a smoky flavor and provides some heat.  I really should have gotten several pounds of it, because it is already long gone.  She also gave me a sample of some wonderful ham, but if I didn't leave then, I would have undoubtedly bought the entire store. 
 
Next stop was just a few doors down the street, Perla Homemade Delights

There was a man in there, who looked just like Carl Reiner, placing his order in Polish.  Because he had several questions, this was taking a while and he eventually turned to me and apologized in English that this was taking so long.  I told him I was enjoying the smells of this wonderful shop too much to be bothered.  Still, that was very nice of him and we chatted for the rest of the time he was in the store.
 
They did have all kinds of good looking sausages here, too, but I decided to concentrate on the desserts.  I was thrilled to snag two poppyseed streudels.  Growing up, my dad always had these around the house and they have become harder to find nowadays.  Knowing my sister loves them too, one of them went to her.  I also grabbed a large Dobos Torte. 

The only other place I have seen this before is at Cleveland's Balaton and I loved it there.  This is a thin layered spongecake, topped by a hard caramel shell.  This one, I ate!   
 
They also carry ladylocks,

which is a delicate finger pastry, filled with cream.  You can also find these in Pittsburgh bakeries.  Knowing this was a favorite of my mother's, I took two home with me.
 
Two more stops to go..... 
<message edited by buffetbuster on Mon, 06/27/11 7:47 PM>

ScreamingChicken
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Re:Visiting Main Street Ohio - Tue, 06/28/11 9:40 AM
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buffetbuster


First up Saturday morning was State Meats in Parma.  This is first and foremost a butcher shop, but they do have some other foods around for immediate consumption.  I started with the kielbasi sandwich. 

The kielbasi itself is short, squat, with a pleasantly rugged skin and was incredibly juicy.  The bun was perfectly soft and the meat was covered with sauerkraut and brown mustard.  Just a terrific first snack of the day.


That looks good!  What cooking method does State Meats use?
 
Brad

TJ Jackson
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Re:Visiting Main Street Ohio - Tue, 06/28/11 9:55 AM
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buffetbuster

  ladylocks,

which is a delicate finger pastry, filled with cream.  You can also find these in Pittsburgh bakeries. 

Ive always seen them called "cream horns"

buffetbuster
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Re:Visiting Main Street Ohio - Tue, 06/28/11 1:09 PM
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TJ-
And I was surprised to find them called cream horns elsewhere, because here in Pittsburgh they are ladylocks.
 
Brad-
Sorry to tell you this, but it was most likely in the microwave.  When I asked for the kielbasi sandwich, she took one from the case and then started preparing it.  With how quickly it was complete, it had to be the microwave.  It was delicious, nonetheless.

buffetbuster
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Re:Visiting Main Street Ohio - Tue, 06/28/11 3:07 PM
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The Little Polish Diner

in Parma opens for lunch at 11:00AM and I arrived just a few minutes later.  This place is indeed tiny, with five small tables and six counter seats.  I sat at the counter and immediately pulled my camera out of my pocket and set it down.  A man noticed the camera and asked what I planned on doing with it.  Uh oh, busted!  I told him I was hoping to take photos of my food.  He asked if I was a foodie, in which I replied, "I don't consider myself one, but others probably think that."  Then I told him I was here because of the review on Roadfood and then he immediately started showing me photos of their food on his laptop, also sitting on the counter.  The entire rest of my visit here, I was engaged in conversation with this man John, who is one of the owners.
 
My meal started off with a bowl of the homemade chicken noodle soup,

which John told me is started from scratch every morning.  On the thin side, but it still had strong chicken flavor.  They do have daily specials here

and luckily for me, on Saturdays it is chicken paprikash. 

I am used to this dish being over some kind of noodles, but here it is on top of spaetzel dumplings.  Needless to say, this old German isn't about to complain about that!  The spaetzels had just the right consistency, not too hard, not too gummy.  The chicken was incredibly tender and the sauce had a more subtle paprika taste.  Outstanding!  The cucumber salad on the side was heavy on the sour cream and was the perfect side for this dish.   Even the soft whole wheat dinner roll

was a step above the typical.
 
I couldn't pass up a side order of the potato pancakes. 

As good as they looked, I was out of appetite by the time I ate everything else.  They served as my breakfast the next day and were nice and creamy on the inside.
 
One of the strange things that happened here is that this is the first time I have ever had the owner of a restaurant photographing MY food.  John is putting photos of their food on his Facebook page and he needed pictures of everything I ordered.  Unfortunately, I snapped this

just a few seconds too late, but here he is camera in hand, having just photographed my chicken paprikash.  Before leaving, I did manage to get a photo of John and fellow owner Sophie together.

 
If you are ever near Cleveland, this place is well worth the stop.  Right next door to Little Polish Diner is a Burger King, which was busy as always.  I wonder if those people realize that they can get an excellent home cooked meal in an ultra-friendly atmosphere for the same price, right next door.  They don't know what they are missing.  I enjoyed my visit here so much, no doubt this will be in my top 10 at the end of the year.
 
Little Polish Diner
5772 Ridge Road
Parma, OH
440-842-8212
 
I had hoped to do some more running around in Cleveland, but a buddy of mine called and had an extra ticket to the sold out Pirates game that night.  So, it was just about time to head home.  The final stop was Gray's Pie Shop,

which has won repeated awards as Cleveland's best pie shop.  They have two different locations and I went to the Fairview Park location.  Unfortunately, it is the other location that sells pies by the slice and has pie milkshakes.  Boooo!!!!!  Still, they did have an impressive roster

of whole pies.  I got an Elvis pie (peanut butter and banana)

to take home.  Maybe the pie got too soft on the two hour drive home, because it was a gooey mess and I only ate two small pieces of it.
<message edited by buffetbuster on Tue, 06/28/11 3:14 PM>

The Travelin Man
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Re:Visiting Main Street Ohio - Tue, 06/28/11 3:41 PM
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Stop the freakin' bus!
You DIDN'T get a picture of the guy taking a picture of your food?
 
Rookie.

TJ Jackson
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Re:Visiting Main Street Ohio - Tue, 06/28/11 3:45 PM
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buffetbuster

TJ-
And I was surprised to find them called cream horns elsewhere, because here in Pittsburgh they are ladylocks.

Probably just a regional variation in food
 
Someone should start a website about such regional variations

buffetbuster
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Re:Visiting Main Street Ohio - Tue, 06/28/11 3:50 PM
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TTM-
Guilty as charged.  But, I get easily distracted once the food arrives.
 
TJ-
If only someone would start a website like that.  No doubt it would be a big success!

BuddyRoadhouse
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Re:Visiting Main Street Ohio - Tue, 06/28/11 5:06 PM
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buffetbuster


Since he was in town doing demos for his excellent bbq sauce, BuddyRoadhouse invited up to Cleveland me to meet him at Sokolowski's University InnBuddy surprised me by showing up with a pint of Graeter's Black Raspberry Chip,

which we ate over the trunk of his car.  Man, it doesn't get much better than that on a warm Summer night!  Thanks Buddy!  A prelude to the usual fine meal at Sokolowski's.

Finally, a photo that doesn't make me look like the Pillsbury Doughboy.  You must have used the wide angle lens and turned the camera vertically to get that stretched out effect.
 
We've been visiting Cleveland for close to 16 years and I thought we'd collected a pretty good repertoire of  Roadfood-worthy eating spots in all that time.  You come along, and in one two day visit, find more good eats than we've uncovered in more than a decade and a half!  I feel very insignificant right now.
 
The good news is, I'll be back in Cleveland in about a month and I can check out some of these places for myself.
 
The other good news is, you still haven't made it to Mt. Pleasant BBQ, so I'm still one up on you.
 
Very nice report.  Thank you (sincerely) for finding all these new places I can visit.
 
Buddy
 
P.S. I tried to get to Babushka's on Saturday night.  Wisely, I called first and found they were closed by 7:00pm, so it's not likely we would have gotten there in time anyway.  I wound up at Flat Iron Grill for clam chowder and a perch sandwich.  How'd the Bucs do against the BoSox?
 
B.
<message edited by BuddyRoadhouse on Tue, 06/28/11 5:09 PM>

wanderingjew
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Re:Visiting Main Street Ohio - Tue, 06/28/11 6:51 PM
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Buffetbuster
 
Little Polish Diner looks very promising. It would be nice to check the place out on my visit to Cleveland over Labor Day Week, however with only enough time for 3 meals, and the other two slots are reserved for a polish boy and Sokolowski's, it's going to be a tough call between Little Polish Diner and Babushka's Kitchen.

buffetbuster
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Re:Visiting Main Street Ohio - Tue, 06/28/11 7:17 PM
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WJ-
While I do like Sokolowski's, especially the excellent pierogies, Little Polish Diner was the much better of the two meals I ate this past weekend.

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Re:Visiting Main Street Ohio - Tue, 06/28/11 9:52 PM
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I'm gonna go along with bb on the Sokolowski's/Little Polish Diner discussion-even though I only had dinner at one of the places mentioned.  While there was brilliance in many parts of our Sokolowski's dinner, there were some missteps too.  The breaded pork chop, for instance, was a big disappointment.  Dry and rather bland, I thought.
 
Now before anyone gets the idea that Sokolowski's is slipping, I think it's more of a situation of knowing what to order and avoiding the rest.  Stick with any of their Polish specialties or any of the various fish entrees they are so well known for, and you'll be very happy.  Our bowl of steamed mussels swimming in garlic broth, for instance, was amazing.  Pierogis were top notch--even the halushki, which I'm generally not a big fan of, was really tasty.
 
But, I gotta say, the pix of the food at Little Polish Diner look fantastic!  I've already got them down on my list for a future visit to Cleveland.
 
Buddy

buffetbuster
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Re:Visiting Main Street Ohio - Fri, 07/1/11 8:33 AM
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Buddy-
I sure wish I could take credit for those places visited on Saturday, but the credit goes to the Sterns.  About a year ago, I drove up to Cleveland for the day to eat some Polish and Hungarian food.  The Polish restaurant was mediocre at best and the streudels I picked up and brought home were just plain nasty.  So much for my Roadfood radar!

buffetbuster
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Re:Visiting Main Street Ohio - Tue, 07/19/11 1:38 PM
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My girlfriend and I spent the past weekend in the Detroit area.  We stopped at a couple of new to us places in Ohio on the way up and on the way back.
 
Friday night, our dinner was at Berry's Restaurant

in Norwalk, a short drive off of the Turnpike in north central Ohio.  As you typically see, you have to pass all the fast food and sit down chains near the highway and drive in the pretty downtown area.  The front room has counter seats on the left, with lots of booths in the back.  To the right is another dining room that was much darker than the front room.  Wanting to be able to take food photos, we settled in one of the comfortable leather booths in the well lit front room.
 
They really have a big menu at Berry's.  I liked the catchy name of rings, sticks and spears for an appetizer. 

They offer a hot ham open face sandwich, covered in gravy, with mashed potatoes on the side.  Don't know if I have ever seen that before.  The specials page

had a lot of attention grabbing things and as soon as I saw the beef stroganoff, I knew that was going to be my dinner.
 
My meal started off with an excellent version of the french onion soup,

which seemed to have less onion and more cheese, exactly how I like it!  One of Mariton's favorite dishes is liver and onions and even though it was on the menu, she wanted to try something else.  So she asked the waitress what she recommended and of course, the first thing she mentioned was liver and onions.  Still, hearing that this was an excellent part of the country to get lake fish, like perch or walleye, she went with the perch sandwich. 

These three lengths of fish had a coating that was too heavy and seemed overcooked. We have definitely had better.  Luckily, the burgundy beef stroganoff was much better. 

Very large chunks of lean beef, over noodles with a delicious sour cream gravy, plus onions and lots of mushrooms, I was very happy with this dish.
 
To drink, they do offer old fashioned ice cream sodas, but I was in the mood for a milkshakes and ordered the cherry. 

It could have been thicker, but had plenty of cut up cherry chunks and a strong cherry flavor.  Good shake!  We decided to pass on dessert once we found out the pies were not made in house.
 
We liked Berry's Restaurant enough to continue to come back someday as there are many other things on the menu we would like to try.  But we liked the restaurant we stopped at on Sunday afternoon coming back from Detroit, even better.
 
Berry's Restaurant
15 W. Main Street
Norwalk, OH
419-668-2394 
<message edited by buffetbuster on Tue, 07/19/11 1:42 PM>

Nancypalooza
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Re:Visiting Main Street Ohio - Tue, 07/19/11 3:51 PM
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A teaser!

buffetbuster
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Re:Visiting Main Street Ohio - Tue, 07/19/11 4:13 PM
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We stopped in Fremont, Ohio to visit the President Hayes Presidential Center.  We were getting hungry and was happy to find Woody's Drive-In


A sign in the front of the building said curb service only on Saturdays and Sundays and considering it was in the mid-90's outside, we were happy to stay in the car.  As soon as we parked, a pleasant young woman named Amber came over to take our order.  When we told her we had never been to Woody's before, she gave us a paper menu to look at and said she would be back.  Despite having a menu in my hand, it was still more fun to look at the giant menu board

in the parking lot.
 
We decided to just choose several different items and split everything.   Amber took our order and returned about 15 minutes later with our food.  Here is our tray hanging off the window. 

As you can see, the meal started off with two big mugs of frosty root beer.  There are few ways a restaurant can endear itself to me more than with homemade root beer in a frosty mug.  And this is some first-rate root beer.  It seems like I could taste some vanilla and maybe some caramel in the root beer, but I know for sure it was wonderfully creamy and satisfying.  The mug could have been a little more chilled, but that is just quibbling.
 
The first food I grabbed was the onion chips. 

These are small, cut up bits of onion rings, maybe about a third of a regular size onion ring each.   These are much easier to eat than the often over-sized ring and had a deliciously brittle outside crust.  Ranch dressing came on the side for dipping.
 
Before ordering the chili dog, I asked Amber if they make their own chili sauce and they do.  She asked if I wanted any onions on it and how could I turn down onions on a chili dog? 

The bun was soft and the chili was a typical Greek sauce, with pebbly meat and a slight hint of heat.  We got the chili dog as part of a basket, which means it came with cole slaw and french fries. 

The fine fresh tasting fries were slightly salted, but the sweet and vinegary cole slaw was a big hit with me.  I only wish it had come in a larger portion. 
 
Mariton's favorite food was the perch sandwich,

which was two lengths of perfectly cooked, crunchy coated fish, in a long toasted bun.  It does come with tartar sauce, but that was completely unnecessary.
 
They have a sign on the roof of the building advertising a huge burger called Woody's splitter.  They refer to it as "A Wedge Against Hunger." 

I can spot a challenge when I see one and this is not a burger

for the faint of heart.  That is two quarter pound burgers, plus cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickle, ketchup AND onion rings.  All the toppings tasted fresh and even though the burgers themselves were well done and a little on the dry side, still provided plenty of beefy flavor.  And the onion rings gave the burger an unusual crunch in the middle.  By no means was this a great burger, but still miles ahead of your typical fast food burger.  Mariton complained a little bit about it being so big, that it was difficult to eat.  Of course, I had to prove that it was possible to get a full bite of it!

 
As if that wasn't enough food.....   When Amber brought us the tray, I remembered that no corn dog had been ordered.  Mariton had never seen a corn dog before and was curious.  The corn dog

here at Woody's is a classic.  Too many corn dogs taste like the batter at the county fair needs changed.  This was very fresh, with a nice moist interior.  She was a little surprised to find that there was a hot dog on the inside!
 
Before we left, I took a few more outside photos.  They do have a little shaded dining area with picnic tables,

but we were staying in the air conditioning of the car!  I also liked the happy, dappily dressed hot dog, carrying a mug of root beer.

 
Woody's is seasonal and in fact closes in mid-August, when their young employees head back to school.  The elderly tour guide at President Hayes house told us that a lot of locals get upset when they close so early each year.  I know many towns across the country have places like Woody's Drive-In, but not many have food as good.
 
Before we left, Amber told us about a Facebook page her and her twin sister, who are both longtime employees, have for Woody's.
 
Woody's Drive-In
1630 East State Street
Fremont, OH
419-332-9790
<message edited by buffetbuster on Tue, 07/19/11 4:23 PM>

Nancypalooza
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Re:Visiting Main Street Ohio - Tue, 07/19/11 4:18 PM
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The silence you hear is me blinking at the size of that hamburger.  Dammit Cliffmond, you've made me hungry again!   Now you should introduce Mariton to the joys of eating a corn dog accompanied only by pancake syrup.

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Re:Visiting Main Street Ohio - Tue, 07/19/11 5:02 PM
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Ahh, Main Street Ohio.  Love the walleye sandwich at Jolly Rodger in Port Clinton.  The perch sandwich looked also excellent.  Then there is the white bean soup and Coney at Phillips in Columbus.  Good food in Ohio.

buffetbuster
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Re:Visiting Main Street Ohio - Wed, 07/20/11 7:35 AM
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Nancy-
Corndog with pancake syrup?  Okay, now I have to find a way to try this!

lleechef-
So glad that you brought up Jolly Roger in Port Clinton.  I did a little research ahead of time and if we didn't stumble upon Woody's Drive-In, we were going to hit Jolly Roger.  Next time we are in the area, that is where we are going!
 

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Re:Visiting Main Street Ohio - Wed, 07/20/11 8:11 AM
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Buffetbuster
 
Quoting  the words of Chi Town Diner
"You've eaten lightly so far"
How did the chili dog compare to the coney dogs of Detroit?
 

buffetbuster
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Re:Visiting Main Street Ohio - Wed, 07/20/11 8:27 AM
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WJ-
Believe it or not, we ate no coneys on this trip to Detroit.  I had a couple places picked out, but was never able to fit it into the schedule.
 
The chili dog at Woody's was one of the items I liked least, even though it was a perfectly acceptable chili dog.  Still, no match for a coney at an elite Detroit place like Lafayette.

lleechef
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Re:Visiting Main Street Ohio - Wed, 07/20/11 5:02 PM
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Hey BB, by all means go to Jolly Roger.  We drove 300 miles round trip to eat a walleye and a perch sandwich.  Definitely worth the trip.  Then there was the pie at Henry's on the way back.....

buffetbuster
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Re:Visiting Main Street Ohio - Mon, 09/24/12 9:29 AM
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M and I spent the weekend in Ohio, so I have some places to write about, which will happen tonight.  The highlight was lleechef and Michael Hoffman joining us at Crabill's for some delicious sliders. 

 
A full report to come.....

TJ Jackson
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Re:Visiting Main Street Ohio - Mon, 09/24/12 1:01 PM
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Finally - a picture of the ancient one

buffetbuster
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Re:Visiting Main Street Ohio - Mon, 09/24/12 1:03 PM
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TJ-
Actually, there were a couple photos from this year's Nashville Glee Club of Michael.  This is probably just the first photo on Roadfood of him with a lovely lady on each arm!
<message edited by buffetbuster on Mon, 09/24/12 1:11 PM>

Davydd
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Re:Visiting Main Street Ohio - Mon, 09/24/12 1:09 PM
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Blew away my image of a man with long wavy white hair and a beard down to his waist.

ScreamingChicken
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Re:Visiting Main Street Ohio - Mon, 09/24/12 2:27 PM
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TJ Jackson


Finally - a picture of the ancient one
TJ, I'm sure there are some others of him around somewhere.  Of course, they'd be daguerrotypes...


ann peeples
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Re:Visiting Main Street Ohio - Mon, 09/24/12 6:09 PM
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Good to see you, my friends. No offense, Mr Hoffman.......you ,in my mind, looked so much more, well, Mad! How lovely......love you guys........

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