Hot!Another Ohio-Indiana Trip

Post
phlmaestro
Cheeseburger
2013/08/04 00:57:34
I say another because I go to those states more than any other due to the number of friends and my wife's relatives that are there and have posted one or two reports on those trips in the past. But I hit some new places this time.
 
Actually, after heading west from Philly on the PA Turnpike, we almost always start and/or finish our trips to the Midwest at the Summit Diner, just of the Somerset exit, about an hour east of Pittsburgh.
 


 
They butcher their own meat and make their own sausage at the Summit Diner. These patties were fantastic (also, notice the pattern on the table):

 
They also carry a large pie selection. I went with banana and was glad I did:


 
We weren't sure what we'd do for dinner in central Ohio, but I had a sudden craving for Cincinnati chili and we found a Skyline Chili that wasn't that long of a drive from the highway either in or just outside of Columbus, OH:
 

 
I went with a couple hot dogs and preferred the one without cheese. The chili and salad are my wife's.

 
As we were heading to the Skyline, we noticed a Graeter's Ice Cream parlor a few blocks before we reached our destination. So we went back there for dessert. My wife had black-cherry chip and I had chocolate chip:

 
Our first full day in Bloomington, IN started with a late breakfast at a popular deli in the heart of downtown Bloomington:

 
They're known for their huge pancakes. I ordered a single and was full by the time I finished it, along with only a single scrambled egg. It wasn't only huge. It was also a very good pancake; light and fluffy. My wife had a veggie burger (you're probably seeing a pattern here) with very good fries.

 
Later that afternoon, we went to a little burger place called Hinkle's that I went to the first time I was in that area around seven or eight years ago. I don't remember the burger making a huge impression on me the first time I visited the place, but that was during the height of lunch hour and I was a little annoyed by some unpleasant service. This time around, we were there well after lunch hour and the people working there were extremely pleasant. Most importantly, the burger was one of the best I've ever had. I ordered the double cheeseburger. It was a mess, but a very enjoyable mess. They also had pie and we ordered a slice of sugar cream to go. I thought it was a bit too dense. It may have been better if I had warmed it up a bit.


 


 

 
You can see how loosely packed the burgers are. They come with steamed onions and pickles.
post edited by phlmaestro - 2013/08/04 00:59:31
love2bake
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Another Ohio-Indiana Trip 2013/08/04 01:22:32
That breakfast plate with housemade sausage looks faaantastic!!  Not to mention the pie.  Mmmmmmm
 
I'd love to go to Skyline someday.  I've made copycat recipes of their chili, and I really like it. 
 
Great pics!
myterry2
Double Cheeseburger
Re:Another Ohio-Indiana Trip 2013/08/04 07:39:27
Nice report..and great pictures...Thanx.
pnwchef
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Another Ohio-Indiana Trip 2013/08/04 07:51:15
phlmaestro, great report, I agree the sausage looks wonderful, I love the way it looks so UNperfect letting you know its house made. The chili dogs look tasty, did someone put a salad next to them, gggeeezzzzzz it almost screwed up the picture...............looks like you had fun.............Bill
ann peeples
Sirloin
Re:Another Ohio-Indiana Trip 2013/08/04 08:11:03
Every thing looks fantastic, especially your breakfast at Summit!
leethebard
Sirloin
Re:Another Ohio-Indiana Trip 2013/08/04 08:54:05
I enjoyed your report. Food looked great. Thanks.
Michael Hoffman
Double-chop Porterhouse
Re:Another Ohio-Indiana Trip 2013/08/04 12:18:27
lleechef and I stopped at the Summit Diner last month and really enjoyed it. It would appear that your Skyline visit might have been at Stoneridge Plaza in Gahanna. It's just up Hamilton Road from Greater's.
ScreamingChicken
Filet Mignon
Re:Another Ohio-Indiana Trip 2013/08/04 13:58:07
Another vote for the breakfast at Summit here - that's a great-looking plate!
phlmaestro
Cheeseburger
Re:Another Ohio-Indiana Trip 2013/08/04 14:19:37
Michael Hoffman

lleechef and I stopped at the Summit Diner last month and really enjoyed it. It would appear that your Skyline visit might have been at Stoneridge Plaza in Gahanna. It's just up Hamilton Road from Greater's.

 
Thanks, Michael. I couldn't figure it out by looking at the list of locations on the Skyline and Graeter's web sites.
 
 
Pnwchef .... I'm just happy my wife is willing to stop at all of these places for me! Whenever there is anything healthy in a photo, you can pretty much guarantee she ordered it.
lleechef
Sirloin
Re:Another Ohio-Indiana Trip 2013/08/04 14:23:09
The Summit Diner was wonderful......everything a diner should be, good food, good service, good ambiance.  I didn't have room for pie but I took a picture of the pie case and sent it to buffetbuster with a message:  "Guess where we are?"  He knew immediately.  Dang.  Never can fool a pie expert. 
phlmaestro
Next time you're in the area, contact us.  We'll meet you at Graeter's for ice cream!
phlmaestro
Cheeseburger
Re:Another Ohio-Indiana Trip 2013/08/04 14:43:03
I should mention that I had hoped to make a return stop at Henry's for pie, but we were running a little behind schedule and by the time we made it to West Jefferson, Henry's had closed for the night. But we had a nice ride on the Old National Road until we reached our hotel in Springfield, OH (actually, if it had been any other day of the week, we'd have probably stayed near West Jefferson and gone to Henry's for a late breakfast and pie the next day; but it was a Saturday evening and Henry's is closed on Sundays).
Crabill's also wasn't an option because of our timing. But I hope to get there the next time we take this trip.
 
Our next noteworthy stop in the Bloomington area was the Monroe County Fair. We went early in the day, before many of the food stands were open. We settled on the Holt's Cafe stand (or building is more like it), which had breaded pork tenderloin. It was pretty good, but I doubt one of the best. My wife and I shared one, but I was fairly full after eating a relatively small portion of it.

 

We had fried pickle chips on the side. They were quite tasty.
 
We took a side trip one day from Bloomington to Columbus, IN, and along the way, we say that the Gnaw Mart (the former Gnaw Bone Food & Fuel, which was known for their tenderloin sandwiches) has gone out of business again.

 

 
The purpose of our drive to Columbus, IN was to visit Zaharakos Ice Cream parlor, which is a very vintage shop that originally opened in 1900 in which is in fantastic condition.


 
I ordered the Gom Cheese brr-grr. There wasn't that much meat in it, so there was no spillage while I ate it. But I thought it was proportioned well and hit the spot. My wife's friend had a grilled cheese with avocado sandwich. The interesting thing about it was that the cheese was grilled on the outside of the bread, so it became very crispy.
 


 

 
My wife and her friend ordered sundaes, which were served with extra topping on the side. They both swooned over how good the hot fudge was.
I had a very disappointing vanilla malt. It was very thin and had way too much vanilla syrup and malt added. I almost cringed while drinking it because of how strong the flavor was. Still, overall, Zaharakos is a great place to visit.
 



post edited by phlmaestro - 2013/08/04 14:52:35
phlmaestro
Cheeseburger
Re:Another Ohio-Indiana Trip 2013/08/04 14:44:34
lleechef

The Summit Diner was wonderful......everything a diner should be, good food, good service, good ambiance.  I didn't have room for pie but I took a picture of the pie case and sent it to buffetbuster with a message:  "Guess where we are?"  He knew immediately.  Dang.  Never can fool a pie expert. 
phlmaestro
Next time you're in the area, contact us.  We'll meet you at Graeter's for ice cream!

 
Thanks lleechef. I'll do that, and maybe put up some advance notice on the board in case anyone else in the area is available. I'm guessing we'll do this trip again either next year or the following.
And if anyone is ever in Philly and stops by the Reading Terminal during the week, I work right next door to it. So feel free to drop me a line.
post edited by phlmaestro - 2013/08/04 15:02:35
lleechef
Sirloin
Re:Another Ohio-Indiana Trip 2013/08/04 14:58:50
Sounds good to me!  Maybe we should meet at Henry's since you didn't get there.  I can think of a few Roadfooders that would not object to eating PIE!
phlmaestro
Cheeseburger
Re:Another Ohio-Indiana Trip 2013/08/05 17:34:23
After we had finished with visiting our friends in Bloomington, it was time to move on to Clevaland for the wedding of one of my wife's relatives. My plan was to hit two places on the way, as I didn't think we'd have time or an appetite for more. I thought about various routes and what restaurants we could hit by taking them, but I settled on cutting through Huntington and Fort Wayne to make stops at a couple of well-known roadfood places I hadn't been to.
Huntington meant Nick's Kitchen. I know they're legendary for their pork tenderloin sandwich, but I also knew that if I ate a tenderloin sandwich, my appetite would probably be shot, and I was looking forward to eating burgers in Fort Wayne. So I settled for pie and Nick's Kitchen, and it was so good that I didn't like I had "settled" for anything when I left. In fact, I'm going out on a limb and saying the sugar cream was the best piece of pie I've ever eaten. I also took out a slice of cherry pie to eat in our hotel room in Cleveland. The cherries were dark and tart, and as with the sugar cream, the crust was fantastic.
 



 
Our stop in Fort Wayne was Powers Hamburgers. I had never had that style of slider with so many caramelized onions before, and I have to say, while I love onions on burgers, the amount of them at Powers was a little too overwhelming for me. 


 
I noticed a large Lincoln statue up the block from Powers and ran over and took a shot at it. I'm a sucker for anything Lincoln-related.

 
Cleveland featured two roadfood stops for us. The first was the West Side Market. I was interested to see how it would compare to the Reading Terminal. The main difference is that the West Side Market only has a few ready-to-eat options and is mostly an actual market, while the Reading Terminal is more of a combination market-food court.




 
After leaving the market, we took the short drive to Sokolowski's for lunch. This place is loads of fun and features great perogies. I also went with the fried lake perch (it was Friday) and picked up a bottle of my favorite root beer.






 
We were pretty stuffed from all that eating by the end of our trip. But we needed a break from the road just as we were nearing Somerset, so it was one more slice of pie from the Summit Diner. I went with their trademark Graham Cracker Pie this time around.

 
 
 
 
CajunKing
Sirloin
Re:Another Ohio-Indiana Trip 2013/08/05 17:35:48
Zaharakos is a wonderful spot to visit, it is like going back in time, the food is good and so is the ice cream, I am so glad they renovated and reopened.
 
Too bad about the Gnaw Bone!
 
I love Hinkle's and Skyline if you like Habanero you should try your skyline the extreme way, Habanero Pepper Cheese yummmmmmm
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:Another Ohio-Indiana Trip 2013/08/06 15:09:47
What an excellent report!  That sure did pack in some great Roadfood restaurants in a short amount of time.  Great pie photos, too. 
 
I think I mentioned in the review for Powers Hamburgers that several regulars ordered their burgers "light on the onions".  There is no doubt that they give an overhwleming amount.  Hopefully, it didn't ruin your visit there.
 
You will definitely have to return to Nick's Kitchen for the tenderloin.  As good as that pie is, the BPT is even better.
 
Henry's is generally closed on Sundays, but they do often open the Sunday before a holiday, such as Easter and Thanksgiving.  If you are in the area, a phone call wouldn't hurt.  Maybe you will get lucky.  And if you had arrived at the end of the day, you would have been disappointed in the pie selection as most of them would be long gone.  The best time to arrive at Henry's is at the beginning of lunch when everything is just coming out of the oven.
 
Thanks for this fine report!
Root-Beer Man
Cheeseburger
Re:Another Ohio-Indiana Trip 2013/08/06 16:53:31
Great report on some places I have yet to visit in Indiana. I'm definitely going to have to hit up Nick's for a piece of that pie and a tenderloin. I've yet to find a Sugar Cream Pie that I liked. Maybe Nick's can break the streak.
phlmaestro
Cheeseburger
Re:Another Ohio-Indiana Trip 2013/08/06 17:48:01
Thanks for the comments. And thanks for the advice, Buffetbuster.
 
If I hadn't already been to Henry's, I may have chosen that route instead of the one that took us through Huntington and Fort Wayne. Going up 75 and hitting Kewpee's and Wilson's Sandwich Shop was another option I considered (I remember your trip report on them, Buffetbuster).
 
I would say I liked Henry's fruit pie more than Nick's Kitchen's. And Henry's didn't have sugar cream pie when I was there. Their coconut cream pie was the best I've had. But sugar cream pie is so up my alley in terms of what I like when it's done well, and this slice was so perfect. The other place I've had really good sugar-cream pie at was Gray Bros. Cafeteria.
 
I've had a few pork tenderloin sandwiches. I guess none were as good as what I would have had at Nick's Kitchen. But I'm definitely more of a burger guy, which is why I made the decision to hold my appetite for Powers. Still, I don't rule out eventually getting back to Nick's to try one. I know I'll want that pie again!
 
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:Another Ohio-Indiana Trip 2013/08/07 07:42:46
In 100% agreement about Nick's sugar cream pie.  I like the pies at Henry's very much, but Nick's sugar cream is miles better.  As for your decision of which way to go, it sounds like it was a no-lose situation! 
hatteras04
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Another Ohio-Indiana Trip 2013/08/07 11:00:43
So Hinkle's is one of my favorite places in the world.  I've been eating there since about 1978 when we moved to Bloomington.  Now I have my wife hooked and we still go often when visiting my parents.  The one thing I have noticed is that they sometimes do not have the griddle quite hot enough and I think that might have been the case with your cheeseburger.  They are still really good but they are best when you get them with a nice seared crust and the onions caramelize more than just steam.  They hold together better then too.  Unfortunately, I think they are at their best when they are really really busy I always go at the height of the lunch hour.  Sure you have to wait in line but that can sometimes be fun.  Oh and you should always get a side of potato cakes instead of fries.  But I'm glad you went and liked it.  Next time hit Nick's English Hut and have a stromboli.
plb
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Another Ohio-Indiana Trip 2013/08/07 17:41:30
Phlmaestro & hatteras04,
Thanks for the info, I'm headed to Bloomington IN later this month.
Plb

phlmaestro
Cheeseburger
Re:Another Ohio-Indiana Trip 2013/08/07 18:16:06
Hatteras,
I'd definitely like to try one with more of a crust at Hinkle's, but I have to say that the double cheeseburger I had there completely blew me away as the moist mess that it was.
 
I think that based on my somewhat uncomfortable experience the first time I went there 6-8 years ago (it was kind of overwhelming with so many people around and the rude woman behind the counter ... and I was still relatively new to going to small roadfood joints like that),  it was helpful to be able to take my time and ask questions. But after this experience, I would go there any time of day, and I intend to go back there the next time we visit Bloomington.
Louis
Double Cheeseburger
Re:Another Ohio-Indiana Trip 2013/08/19 18:05:24
Phlmaestro: in the bottom right-hand corner of one of the pictures at Zaharakos, there is a glass filled with red liquid.  It looks like the atomic fireball drink I had there before they closed.
 
When they reopened, they had taken it off the menu.  They had lost the recipe (or so they said).
 
I tried to get them to reconstruct it for about an hour one afternoon; we went through four or five attempts before we finally gave it up.  That was three years ago.
 
That drink was to die for!  I was just wondering if they found the recipe and had put it back on the menu.
 
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:Another Ohio-Indiana Trip 2013/08/19 18:23:46
Louis-
I was there in April and looked for the atomic fireball and it wasn't on the menu.  But that doesn't mean they wouldn't have tried to make it for me, like you requested.
Louis
Double Cheeseburger
Re:Another Ohio-Indiana Trip 2013/08/19 18:51:21
I'm going to go back eventually.  I can't believe that they lost the recipe.  How do you do that--but find all the others they have on the menu?  I may have to just stay there one or two days--and go to the bathroom several times--until we discover the right concoction.
 
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:Another Ohio-Indiana Trip 2013/08/19 18:54:19
Louis, I love your determination!
flyseye
Cheeseburger
Re:Another Ohio-Indiana Trip 2013/08/19 19:23:16
Really nice report and pictures, including some of my favorite places. Thank you.   
phlmaestro
Cheeseburger
Re:Another Ohio-Indiana Trip 2013/09/07 23:55:29
Louis

Phlmaestro: in the bottom right-hand corner of one of the pictures at Zaharakos, there is a glass filled with red liquid.  It looks like the atomic fireball drink I had there before they closed.

When they reopened, they had taken it off the menu.  They had lost the recipe (or so they said).

I tried to get them to reconstruct it for about an hour one afternoon; we went through four or five attempts before we finally gave it up.  That was three years ago.

That drink was to die for!  I was just wondering if they found the recipe and had put it back on the menu.


 
Sorry for the late response, Louis, but I just noticed your post. I'm pretty sure that red drink in the photo was a cherry soda.
Michael Hoffman
Double-chop Porterhouse
Re:Another Ohio-Indiana Trip 2013/09/08 13:12:19
What a terrific report! How did you fit so many great stops into such a short time?
hatteras04
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Another Ohio-Indiana Trip 2013/09/08 14:33:33
i just found this video of Hinkle's that I thought you might like.  It looks like their tenderloin might be worth trying as well.
 
http://vimeo.com/41121860
phlmaestro
Cheeseburger
Re:Another Ohio-Indiana Trip 2013/09/08 22:09:07
Thanks. Great video. Really captures the place, and lots of good information on their history!
 
RKB
Cheeseburger
Re:Another Ohio-Indiana Trip 2013/09/10 08:56:24
We spent the night in Somerset over Labor Day weekend to see Fallingwater, the Flight 93 memorial and the Johnstown Flood memorial. After seeing this review we had to  try the Summit Diner for breakfast - it did not disappoint us. The fresh sausage is as good as any that I have had and far superior to most. I had the home fries instead of the hash browns and they were fresh potatoes, sliced and fried, not the commissary-processed parboiled ones that are the norm at most places. They also gave a senior discount - two large breakfast platters and coffee came to a whopping $10.14!
For dinner we ate at the Pine Grill, across the street and visible in the first picture posted by the OP. Very good food, good sized portions and reasonably priced.
phlmaestro
Cheeseburger
Re:Another Ohio-Indiana Trip 2013/09/10 10:30:07
Glad you enjoyed it, RKB. That sounds like a nice weekend.
 
We're going to Cleveland for another wedding next month, and I'm guessing we'll stop at the Summit Diner at least once, if not both ways.