Re:Visiting Main Street Ohio
Mon, 03/21/11 1:44 PM
Mariton and I went to Cincinnati over the weekend. It was the usual mixed bag of really good Roadfood experiences and a couple of clunkers. No order this time, I am just going to jump around. When we woke up yesterday morning at our hotel in the north Cincy suburbs, I asked her if she wanted to go into the city for breakfast (which would be the opposite way of the drive home) or eat in Columbus on the way. She voted Columbus, so we arrived at Tommy's Diner at about 10:30AM. I was last here in 2007 and had a good breakfast, but it was the first time for her at this Greek diner. Pulling into the parking lot, I thought we were in trouble because the place was packed. She jumped out of the car to get into line, while I found a spot all the way in the back lot. There were a lot of people standing in the entrance and since there are tables right there, it can get a little tight. In fact, on my previous visit, I sat right by the door and it bugged me to have all these people hovering by my table. There is no list to put your name on, but the lady standing next to us said that he (a young, very Greek looking guy, who we were told is Tommy's son) keeps close tabs and knows who is next. Within five minutes, at least eight tables got up at about the same time, to the point where we were next. We were asked if we wanted to wait a couple extra minutes for a booth or take two seats at the counter. We love counters, so off we were. Here is a shot of the inside and those two open seats is where we were sitting. The couple next to us started chatting with us immediately and they were very nice. We placed our order and I went back to the car to fetch the camera. The parking lot was now half empty and it had been no longer than ten minutes from when we arrived. Very odd! We do seem to have good timing on these things. When I came back in, Mariton had already told them about Roadfood and how we travel around. When she started talking to us about how much they love Italian beef sandwiches in Chicago and Low Country boils, I realized these people knew food. The subject of pie came up. Even though they had not been to Henry's, they told us they often drive 45 minutes or so south of the city to eat at Ben & Joy's in Mt. Sterling and they have really good pies. Anyone familiar with the place? As usual, we ordered two breakfasts and just divided everything up. My plate was rather boring, eggs over easy, link sausage and good hash browns. The feta and spinach omelet was a real winner and Mariton ate most of this herself. They do make their own pies here and there is a list of available ones on the specials board. Mariton got the apple. The crust was the non-flaky kind, almost pliable if you know what I mean. The apples were fresh and sweet and I liked this pie more than she did. My pie was the peanut butter silk. Now, when I think of a silk pie, I think of something smooth and this was not it. Multi-layered, dense and ultra-rich, I could only eat about half of it. Tommy's Diner 914 W. Broad Street Columbus, OH 614-224-2422 While doing some research for pie places in Ohio, I came acrss the name of a restaurant about an hour east of Columbus. Located in a small town, it has a strange name for a place with great homemade pie, Peggy Sue's Steak & Ribs. The street address says it is in Walhonding, but it seems like it is in Newcastle, which is so tiny, it doesn't even appear in my GPS. Despite the name which makes you think it is something else, this is the classic small town restaurant, which is what we like. As soon as you walk in the door, there is a room to the left
and what a sight it was for this poor pie deprived soul. I imagine this is what Balboa felt when he first spotted the South Sea!
This is the best display of pies I have seen since a visit to Texan Cafe
. We sat down and studied the pie list on the board. When the waitress came over, I asked her which of those pies did they have that day and she gave me a puzzled look and said, "We have all of those!" Needing some time to make such a monumental decision, I ordered what the menu called a roast beef short order. Having never heard of this, she answered my inquiry by saying it was a roast beef sandwich, with the mashed potatoes in the middle. Sounds good to me. The mashed potatoes were real as was the roast beef, all covered in a thin, but dark beef gravy. This was a fine sandwich! Still full from breakfast and saving room for dessert, Mariton just had a couple bites of my lunch. Another woman, who I think was the owner, noticed me taking special interest in the pies. She asked if I wanted a tour of the pie room and of course, the answer to that is Yes! Although I am more of a cream pie person, the fruit pies here looked spectacular. Mariton loves blackberry pie so she went with that. This pie was much taller than the normal fruit pie and jam packed with sweet blackberries. Notice how most of the lattice crust on top was gone. She thought the pie was too sweet (but I liked it), so she turned her attention to my raisin cream. When I first saw this, I thought this was going to be my favorite, yet impossible to find outside the Upper Midwest pie, sour cream raisin. But there was no sour cream part of this pie. The whipped topping was fine, but that raisin cream filling was fantastic! It did lack that sour cream vs. sweet raisin contrast that makes the SCR such a memorable pie, but it wasn't at all gummy, like so many of these pies can be. Even better was the gorgeous cherry pie. This was easily the tallest cherry pie I have seen. The crust was perfectly flaky and the cherries sufficiently tart. What a wonderful slice of pie! After sampling these, I had to get a couple slices (banana cream and apple crumb) to go. Peggy Sue's Steak & Ribs 32381 U.S. 36 Walhonding, OH 740-824-4624 From there, we drove straight back to Pittsburgh.
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