Visiting Main Street Ohio
Sat, 01/17/09 9:25 PM
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.....
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