Hot!Visiting Main Street Ohio

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buffetbuster
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2009/01/17 21:25:53 (permalink)

Visiting Main Street Ohio

Since I wanted back in time for the NFL playoffs games on Sunday, I decided to stay reasonably close to home this weekend and check out some places in Ohio. 
 
Friday January 16, 2009 
 
Two hours after leaving home, I arrived at Smithville Inn, just south of Akron.  Believe it or not, this place goes all the way back to 1818, when it was a stage coach stop.  The outside sign hints to you that the thing to eat here is the chicken dinner.

In case you don't pick up on that hint, each side of the doorway leading to the dining room has cabinets filled with chicken figurines.

I did look at the menu, which was typical Midwest comfort food, but I did settle on the family style chicken dinner.

 
The meal started off in fine fashion.

Those biscuits came out piping hot and soft and were accompanied by Smithville Inn's excellent homemade apple butter.  Wonderful beginning to the meal.  Also coming at the same time was the finely chopped, creamy and sweet cole slaw.

 
Even though it wasn't part of the dinner, it was way too cold out not order some of the chicken noodle soup.

I usually prefer my chicken soup to be heartier than what was served here.  This was a little too thin and watery for me.  But with the temperature outside, I was quite happy to eat it anyway.
 
The rest of my food arrived.  First, I tried the dressing,

although, we called it stuffing at my house.  Speaking of which, I rarely ever get dressing in a restaurant.  This is a food that is made in so many different kinds of ways, odds are, it won't be what you are used to when you were growing up.  This dressing was basically just bread crumbs covered in gravy and was just okay.
 
Good made from scratch mashed potatoes along with a delicious chicken gravy,

These disappeared quickly!
 
Homemade noodles, which seemed very Amish to me, were next.

At first, the noodles looked dry, so I figured I would cover them with the gravy.  But closer inspection revealed they were sitting in a shallow pool of a butter sauce.  Nice dish!
 
Finally, the chicken.

I don't know what you think, but the chicken did not look very appetizing to me.  Luckily, it proved to be tastier and juicier than I thought.
 
Since the place was so dead (by the time I got done eating, there was only one other customer), I spent a good portion of the time talking to the owner.  A nice man dressed in blue jeans and a plaid shirt, he told me he bought the place in 1988.  He seemed to take a special interest in me, at least partially because I had the Stern's Roadfood and Goodfood book that they appeared in.  He gave me a tour of the back dining room, with the chandeliers from Austria and the over 100 year old fancy plateware in a beautiful cabinet.
 
When it came time for dessert, he brought me a slice of their specialty, egg nog chiffon. 

I told him I wasn't a big fan of egg nog and he admitted he isn't either.  In fact, he told me, he owned the place for several years before he even tried this pie, because he was so sure he wouldn't like it.  I dug in and found out it was quite good.  The egg nog taste is subtle and being chiffon, it is very light on the tongue.  Not something I will seek out again, but an enjoyable novelty.
 
Interestingly, they had another pie I had never heard of, let alone tried, before.  This beauty is peach sour cream crumb!

An odd combination of flavors, but they blended well together.
 
I enjoyed my visit to the Smithville Inn.  Although not good enough to be a destination restaurant, the history, the food and the friendly service are good enough to stop in if I am passing through this area again.
 
Smithville Inn
109 W. Main Street
Smithville, Ohio
330-669-2641
 
Forty-five minutes later, I was at my hotel for the night in Mansfield.
 
Much more to come.....
post edited by buffetbuster - 2010/03/08 08:20:19
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265 Replies Related Threads

    CajunKing
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    Re:Visiting Main Street Ohio 2009/01/17 21:36:24 (permalink)
    BB

    This is too funny, I am on the phone with one of my best friends from college as I read your post.  She lives in Mansfield.

    She said to try "The Barn" next time your in town, she loves the food there.
    #2
    buffetbuster
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    Re:Visiting Main Street Ohio 2009/01/17 21:47:23 (permalink)
    Small world, eh, CK!  I will try The Barn the next time through.  Thanks!
    #3
    Michael Hoffman
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    Re:Visiting Main Street Ohio 2009/01/17 22:22:26 (permalink)
    There used to be a wonderful family restaurant just outside of Mansfield at the Route 13 exit from I-71. It was the south half of a BP station, and the liver and onions dinner was wonderful. People who like pie used to swear by the ones there. I went up there about two months ago hankering for some liver and onions, and the building was gone.
    #4
    NYPIzzaNut
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    Re:Visiting Main Street Ohio 2009/01/17 23:02:01 (permalink)
    We have a very similar restaurant in these parts - The Old Y Restaurant in Winchester - with the same kind of food and all those chicken and rooster figurines and motif - I liked it but did not love it.  I remember the chicken and dumplings and fried chicken being very good and the home made pies were wonderful also.
    post edited by NYPIzzaNut - 2009/01/17 23:56:26
    #5
    FriedClamFanatic
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    Re:Visiting Main Street Ohio 2009/01/18 08:38:08 (permalink)
    The stuff looks good, but as you say, it's a long way to drive for a chicken dinner.
    #6
    NYPIzzaNut
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    Re:Visiting Main Street Ohio 2009/01/18 09:56:55 (permalink)
    I would  go a long way for great fried chicken...or pizza.
    #7
    Grillmeister
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    Re:Visiting Main Street Ohio 2009/01/18 10:28:43 (permalink)
    Those pies looked interesting. Any recipes per chance?
    #8
    Nancypalooza
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    Re:Visiting Main Street Ohio 2009/01/18 10:35:00 (permalink)
    Yeah that peach sour cream looks really yummy and I would have never thought to put those things together.  And those noodles are so pretty.  Glad you liked your chicken--another thing I think you can't tell from the looks.
    #9
    wanderingjew
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    Re:Visiting Main Street Ohio 2009/01/18 14:24:09 (permalink)
    Buffebuster,

    Kudos for seeking out roadfood  without traveling great distances!

    I'm actually a huge fan of eggnog, so I probably would have liked the Eggnog Chiffon. I've heard of peaches n cream, so  peach sour cream is probably not too far off.
    #10
    NYPIzzaNut
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    Re:Visiting Main Street Ohio 2009/01/18 14:28:32 (permalink)
    wanderingjew

    Buffebuster,

    Kudos for seeking out roadfood  without traveling great distances!

    I'm actually a huge fan of eggnog, so I probably would have liked the Eggnog Chiffon. I've heard of peaches n cream, so  peach sour cream is probably not too far off.


    Have you had boiled custard?  It is even better than eggnog IMHO.
    #11
    mayor al
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    Re:Visiting Main Street Ohio 2009/01/18 16:11:01 (permalink)
    Marie Calandars, The chain of Restaurants/ Bakeries out West makes a great Sour-Cream Cherry and Sour-Cream Lemon Pie. I think they have some other Sour-Cream Pies as well but I haven't tried them yet. Outstanding Flavor!
    #12
    MiamiDon
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    Re:Visiting Main Street Ohio 2009/01/18 16:18:49 (permalink)
    Al-The Mayor-Bowen

    Marie Calandars, The chain of Restaurants/ Bakeries out West makes a great Sour-Cream Cherry and Sour-Cream Lemon Pie. I think they have some other Sour-Cream Pies as well but I haven't tried them yet. Outstanding Flavor!


    Aaak!  I stayed across the street from one for seven days!  I thought it was a West Coast Denny's.
    #13
    buffetbuster
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    Re:Visiting Main Street Ohio 2009/01/19 13:31:23 (permalink)
    WJ-
    How cool is that to be able to eat at a place that has TWO different pies you have never tried before.

    Michael Hoffman-
    That is too bad about the restaurant you mentioned in Mansfield closing.  Not very many places offer good liver & onions anymore.

    NYPizzaNut-

    I don't think I have ever had boiled custard.  It does sound interesting, though.

    Grillmeister-
    Sorry, no recipes.  But the people there were so friendly (I like to call it Midwest friendly), I bet they would have given it to me had I asked.

    #14
    NYPIzzaNut
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    Re:Visiting Main Street Ohio 2009/01/19 13:43:50 (permalink)
    buffetbuster

    WJ-
    How cool is that to be able to eat at a place that has TWO different pies you have never tried before.

    Michael Hoffman-
    That is too bad about the restaurant you mentioned in Mansfield closing.  Not very many places offer good liver & onions anymore.

    NYPizzaNut-

    I don't think I have ever had boiled custard.  It does sound interesting, though.

    Grillmeister-
    Sorry, no recipes.  But the people there were so friendly (I like to call it Midwest friendly), I bet they would have given it to me had I asked.



    ...a friend from Tennessee who I have lunch with weekly and report our visits of note on the Regional forum threads for Cinci and Dayton introduced me to  it  a couple of years ago...my wife (who loves eggnog) loves it now as do I...you will only find it next to eggnog in the stores at holiday time..most assuredly over Christmas holidays..you would have no idea how it was made from drinking it..it is like milkshake..only custardy..I have never tried to make it at home..
    #15
    buffetbuster
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    Re:Visiting Main Street Ohio 2009/01/19 14:16:02 (permalink)
    Saturday January 17, 2009

    My original plan for breakfast was to eat at a local place in Mansfield.  But after looking at the map and realizing that beautiful downtown Waldo, Ohio wasn't too far, I knew where I had to go.



    The fact that the G & R Tavern, home of the bologna sandwich opens at 8:00AM made my visit possible.  When I walked in, around 8:30AM, there were no other customers.  I sat in the back, which was a mistake.  If I had it to do over again, I would have sat at the bar near the window, so I could have gotten better pictures.  Anyway, here is the view from the back dining room, which is pure tavern ambience and I mean that in a good way.

    I did look at the menu,

    which is rather typical bar food, but there was never any doubt about what I would order.

    In case you are wondering what the big deal is about a bologna sandwich, look at this beauty.

    Obviously, this is not the bologna you buy as lunchmeat at the local grocery store. It is almost a full inch thick (I'm guessing at this, since I didn't bring my calipers) and packs a meaty flavor wallop.  It is topped by sweet pickles, mustard and onions.  This is a rather simple sandwich, but the combination is fantastic and is greater than the sum of it's parts.  In fact, it so was so good, I got another sandwich to go.  While I was there, I also decided to try the onion rings,
     
    which were fine, although I prefer them a little less greasy.

    On the way out, I snapped a photo of this great sign hanging over the bar.


    They did have a long list of available pies and I asked if they were homemade.  The young lady told me the cream pies were and the fruit pies were made for them by a lady in Waldo.  I was intrigued, but passed, since I had many more stops to go.  Has anyone ever tried the pies here? 

    G & R Tavern
    103 N. Marion Street
    Waldo, Ohio
    740-726-9685

    http://www.roadfood.com/Reviews/Overview.aspx?RefID=4793

    I got back in my car and headed north.

    Much more to come.....
    #16
    Greymo
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    Re:Visiting Main Street Ohio 2009/01/19 14:26:17 (permalink)
    Well, that was a great stop.  I had my first ever restaurant bologna sandwich here a couple of years ago and it was super!  My mother used to make them all the time when I was a kid, but not like this beauty.
    #17
    NebGuy
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    Re:Visiting Main Street Ohio 2009/01/19 14:26:44 (permalink)
    BB: Nice report. I saw on the G&R menu they have a 1 Lb. tub of bologna salad to go and also as a sandwich. Just curious if you asked what this was? I'm thinking egg or tuna salad with bologna instead?
    #18
    buffetbuster
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    Re:Visiting Main Street Ohio 2009/01/19 14:26:53 (permalink)
    NYPizzaNut-
    Thanks for the info, since I have never heard of it before.  I do wonder if that is a local thing to your area, since I have never seen it around here before.  Of course, I haven't been looking, either.  I will keep my eyes open this year around the holidays, because I really would like to try it.
    #19
    buffetbuster
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    Re:Visiting Main Street Ohio 2009/01/19 14:36:23 (permalink)
    NebGuy-
    I have never asked about the bologna salad sandwich, although I should have.  I will most likely be back in the area in a few weeks.  If I stop in, I will ask, if not try it.

    Greymo-
    Not exactly standard breakfast fare, but it was a great way to start my day.  Where and what was the name of the place for your bologna sandwich?
    #20
    Greymo
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    Re:Visiting Main Street Ohio 2009/01/19 14:50:22 (permalink)
    When I said "here" I meant where you had yours!  We did sit right up in front by the window  but I don't take pictures.  Your pictures look great to me
    #21
    buffetbuster
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    Re:Visiting Main Street Ohio 2009/01/19 15:01:35 (permalink)
    Thanks Greymo, I misread what you wrote.

    A few years ago, my mother and I were driving through Ohio and visiting President's homes.  Of course, we stopped in at G & R Tavern for lunch.  It was a warm summer day and the place was packed with bikers.  Since all the tables were claimed, we had to sit at the bar.  To this day, my mother still likes to tell people about me taking her to a biker bar in Ohio for a bologna sandwich, which has become something of a family legend.  Of course, when pressed, she will admit she really enjoyed the sandwich.

    #22
    ChiTownDiner
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    Re:Visiting Main Street Ohio 2009/01/19 15:22:35 (permalink)
    BB -

    Nice stop at G&R...last summer, we had to elimiante G&R much to my brother's regret to this day in order to meet some VIR (Very Important Roadfooder's) at Sokolowski's!  We GPS'd that darn place from every intersection seeing if we could make it.  One day...
    #23
    FriedClamFanatic
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    Re:Visiting Main Street Ohio 2009/01/19 15:24:02 (permalink)
    WOW! Haven't had a grilled Bologna sandwich in decades!  Brings back the memories, even though I'm not from Ohio.  Wonder what a country boy is?  A sub?
    #24
    NYPIzzaNut
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    Re:Visiting Main Street Ohio 2009/01/19 15:26:08 (permalink)
    buffetbuster

    NYPizzaNut-
    Thanks for the info, since I have never heard of it before.  I do wonder if that is a local thing to your area, since I have never seen it around here before.  Of course, I haven't been looking, either.  I will keep my eyes open this year around the holidays, because I really would like to try it.

    I do not believe it is local since my friend used to drink it in TN.  It is next to the eggnog - at least here in OH.  I bet it will be in your store come the holidays - whenever eggnog is available to you.


    #25
    NYPIzzaNut
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    Re:Visiting Main Street Ohio 2009/01/19 15:29:46 (permalink)
    Fried bologna sandwiches are a Southern tradition I believe?  At least my TN friend was the one who first put me on to them, and most fast-food chains  sell them only below the Mason-Dixon Line at present.
    #26
    CajunKing
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    Re:Visiting Main Street Ohio 2009/01/19 15:36:09 (permalink)
    The G&R's Bologna is made specially for them, it has a much deeper flavor than store bought bologna. (almost like a German bologna)

    Yes the bologna salad is like an egg or tuna salad, they grind up the bologna had the mayo and stuff and tub it up, it is great on toasted bread

    BB
    I love Waldo and the G&R
    #27
    buffetbuster
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    Re:Visiting Main Street Ohio 2009/01/19 15:50:36 (permalink)
    Saturday January 19 cont.

    Next stop was the town of Bucyrus (pronounced BOO-SIGH-RUSS), Ohio.  Interestingly, Bucyrus calls itself the "Bratwurst Capital of America".  I wonder what Wisconsites, specifically Sheboyganians think about that?  They will have to fight it out themselves, because I will be happy to eat them all.

    I knew this was my kind of town when I passed a drive-thru brat place.

    As intriguing as Bratworks looked, that wasn't my destination. I soon found Carle's Bratwurst


    on the outskirts of town.

    Carle's is more grocery store than anything else.  It does have a popular butcher shop and plenty of hot foods available.  Since it was only 10:30 and the hot foods aren't completely ready until 11:00, I was somewhat limited in what I could get.  Still, the brats were ready and that is what mattered.  The young lady asked what kind of bread I wanted, white, wheat or rye.  I was hoping it would be on a sub roll, but I ordered the rye.  She cut the brat in half and topped it with the sauerkraut I asked for.

    From what I read later on the website, if I had also asked for mustard and chopped onions, I would have been eating it like a local.  This brat had a very mild flavor at least compared to the sauerkraut, which can overpower just about anything.  Still, a winning combination!

    As a side, I went for a 1/2 lb. of the German potato salad,

    heated up, of course.  Growing up in a German household, where we ate this dish frequently, I can be notoriously tough to please.  But this passed muster.  A perfect contrast of sweetness and vinegary tang, this was a wonderful side.

    While I was enjoying my meal, I leafed through programs of prior Bucyrus Brat Festivals, held every summer.  Before I left, I had someone snap this photo of me. 

    Considering how cold out is was, maybe the lederhosen was a poor fashion choice!

    Carle's Bratwurst
    1210 East Mansfield Street
    Bucyrus, Ohio
    419-562-7741


    http://www.carlesbrats.com/

    Much more to come.....
    post edited by buffetbuster - 2009/01/19 15:53:22
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    NYPIzzaNut
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    Re:Visiting Main Street Ohio 2009/01/19 15:58:00 (permalink)
    BB  I grew up on great German Potato Salad but since I left Yonkers I have not been able to find it anywhere like what I was used to - which is just as you describe it - have you ever made it like you like it and it came out great and could you share a recipe for it if so?
    #29
    buffetbuster
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    Re:Visiting Main Street Ohio 2009/01/19 15:59:30 (permalink)
    CajunKing

    The G&R's Bologna is made specially for them, it has a much deeper flavor than store bought bologna. (almost like a German bologna)

    Yes the bologna salad is like an egg or tuna salad, they grind up the bologna had the mayo and stuff and tub it up, it is great on toasted bread

    BB
    I love Waldo and the G&R


    As usual, CajunKing comes through with the info.  Thanks!
     
    CTD-
    What a shame you missed out on G & R Tavern, but we were glad to see you at Sokolowski's that night.  But, you need to make a stop here someday.  It is definitely your kind of place!

    post edited by buffetbuster - 2009/01/19 16:04:13
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