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Ohio


hhawk
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Myself and a friend will be driving through most of Ohio, using the Stern book, Holly's web site and a few other odds and ends as a guide. Yes we will be spending a week driving around Ohio looking for food :) Seemed like a good idea at the time..

Open to any suggestions for food or lodging; and yes although we expect to visit Cleveland and Toledo we hope to avoid most of the bigger cities..

Bringing Tasty Food to World

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If you are going to my hometown of Toledo, you have to stop at Tony Packo's and have some Hungarian hot dogs and chicken paprikas. You will not be disappointed. Don't miss the hot pickels and peppers!

Edited to add: If you like Lebanese food we have some of the best in the country. Make sure that you stop at the Beruit as well.

There are some great bars near the new Mud Hen's stadium. My favorite is the Bronze Boar which is a kind of martini and wine bar. Also near downtown is my favorite bar in Toledo which is Mickey Finn's, a great old Irish bar with live music on the weekends.

Our downtown has gone through a recent revitilization with a section of more high end restuarants added on the Maumee River. It is called the docks. There you will find Navy Bistro (high end French inspired sea food), Real Seafood Company (chain), an Italian place, a cajun place, and a Mexican place (sorry can't remember the names). These places are worth going to because of the view. you can sit right on the water and watch the great lakes freighters go by with a back drop of downtown.

Edited by WoodleyGrrl (log)
Jennifer
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I don't get up to Cleveland very often, so Nancy will have to steer you around that area... If you're in the Stark/Summit/Portage/Mahoning/Trumbull county area, I'm your girl.

If your looking for local specialities, my first suggestion would be to check out the "chicken houses" in Barberton, just SW of Akron. Bring some Lipitor... it's crumb coated and fried in lard. Make sure you get a side of "hot rice". Mmm mmm!! There are several places to get it in Barberton, but Belgrade Gardens seems to be the best.

Sushi? Maybe? Cuyahoga Falls. Golden Dragon. Sit at the bar and shoot the breeze with Chai while he serves you some of the best sushi anywhere. I dream of his Chaipus octopus salad. Warning! He'll try to ply you with alcohol... beware the Chaiquila! :laugh:

Upscale? Ken Stewart for steak, Piatto for Italian. I had the veal chop with gorgonzola mashers and greens two weekends ago at Piatto, and I haven't stopped raving about it yet. Gorgeous.

Pizza is hotly contested... you'll get a million suggestions. Mine? If you're anywhere near Youngstown, check out Wedgewood Pizza. We drive almost 100 miles, round trip, once a month for it and I wouldn't have it any other way.

I'm just rambling now... sorry. I love eating here!

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Holy crap... I can't believe I forgot to mention Swenson's. Swenson's Drive In. Gally Boy. Go!! Right now... Go!!! There are locations in Akron, Canton, and Broadview Hts. (South of Cleveland).

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hhawk, by "Holly's web site", do you mean HollyEats?

Also, when are you making this trip? The season really matters! We've got way more than just four seasons. Right now we've just exited what my friend Liz calls "Cold Mud I", which is followed by "Fool-the-Daffodils", which is in turn followed (rather cruelly) by "Cold Mud II". Don't despair! The weather here is absolutely awesome once the real Spring Thaw arrives. Seriously, from late spring through early winter our weather is wonderful. (Also there's a brief burst of cold-but-gorgeous in mid winter, but you've already missed that. :laugh: )

During the summer and fall there are various festivals that are a hoot. Melon festivals, corn festivals, potato festivals, various Eastern-European cured meat festivals. Also, once the weather warms up the ice cream joints come to life. You can spot the good ones by the huge crowds congregating in the middle of nowhere.

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Akron food! I can talk a bit about that. My fine dining fav's includes Beau's Grille (in the Hilton Akron/Fairlawn). In the past it has beaten Ken Stewart's for best business lunch and a few other catagories too. Also, I love Nick Anthe's in Cuyahoga Falls (just north of downtown Akron)-great food but a bit smoky. For a good burger, I have to go to Northside - a little bar near downtown. Northside is also next to Luigi's which is know for their pizza (and still serving food after the kitchen at Northside is closed).

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Mmm... Northside. That is a tasty burger. If you don't mind slumming a little bit, you can head over to Louie's or The Windsor Pub for a pretty good one. That Windsor Burger is a thing of beauty.

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Our downtown has gone through a recent revitilization with a section of more high end restuarants added on the Maumee River.  It is called the docks.  There you will find Navy Bistro (high end French inspired sea food), Real Seafood Company (chain), an Italian place, a cajun place, and a Mexican place (sorry can't remember the names).  These places are worth going to because of the view.  you can sit right on the water and watch the great lakes freighters go by with a back drop of downtown.

And Maumee Bay Brewery sells my favorite beer in the universe - their Red. My mouth waters just thinking about tipping one back.

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if your gastronomic wanderlust leads you to cleveland, then you should consider making a detour to oberlin and, specifically, the terrific black river cafe. given oberlin's college crowd and their decidedly crunchy granola and dreadlocks lifestlye, one is slighlty perplexed at a place offerering several local meats and cheeses such as black river cafe.

if you wanted to have some real fun, fill a super soaker full of rendered duck fat and arm yourself with meatballs; do drivebys.

there is no love sincerer than the love of food

- george bernard shaw

i feel like love is in the kitchen with a culinary eye, think she's making something special and i'm smart enough to try

- interpol

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If you are going to my hometown of Toledo, you have to stop at Tony Packo's and have some Hungarian hot dogs and chicken paprikas.  You will not be disappointed.  Don't miss the hot pickels and peppers!

Edited to add:  If you like Lebanese food we have some of the best in the country.  Make sure that you stop at the Beruit as well. 

There are some great bars near the new Mud Hen's stadium.  My favorite is the Bronze Boar which is a kind of martini and wine bar.  Also near downtown is my favorite bar in Toledo which is Mickey Finn's, a great old Irish bar with live music on the weekends.

Our downtown has gone through a recent revitilization with a section of more high end restuarants added on the Maumee River.  It is called the docks.  There you will find Navy Bistro (high end French inspired sea food), Real Seafood Company (chain), an Italian place, a cajun place, and a Mexican place (sorry can't remember the names).  These places are worth going to because of the view.  you can sit right on the water and watch the great lakes freighters go by with a back drop of downtown.

Packo's is certainly a good idea, though my favorite is the Stuffed Cabbage - it's excellent. I also always get the fried pickles. Delicious.

Beirut is certainly the best Lebanese Food, and though I can't partake due to my pregnant state, my husband is a huge fan of the Bronze Boar, both for drinking and for smoking cigars. The owner of Beirut also owns Poco Piatti, a fun small plates restaurant with amazing Sangria.

If you go down to the docks to eat, I'd say that you should stick to either Real Seafood or Zia's. They are part of a small restaurant group called Main Street Ventures which is based out of Ann Arbor. They are both very good. We often eat at the bar at Real Seafood - best house salad in town, in my opinion.

Navy Bistro has gone dramatically downhill, Tango's (the Mexican) has never been good, and neither has Gumbo's. They are all owned by the same guy - Tom Cousino, and the quality has suffered greatly in recent years. It's rather sad.

We have two good lunch/dinner options in downtown proper. Diva, on Huron Street is very upscale dining. Jackson's is owned by NBA player Jimmy Jackson and has a bit of a specialization in Cajun cuisine. They have excellent music weekend evenings.

For breakfast, check out Star Diner on Alexis Road. The waitresses look like they got lost on their way to Hooter's, but the food is of excellent quality. Orange juice is freshly squeezed, bacon is thick cut, etc.

For Japanese, Kotobuki is great quality, wonderful service. A new Chinese restaurant just opened on Reynolds Road between Dorr and Hill, specializing in authentic cuisine. Lots of interesting food on the menu. It's called Wei Wei Noodles.

Feel free to PM if you need more Toledo advice!

Danielle Altshuler Wiley

a.k.a. Foodmomiac

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if your gastronomic wanderlust leads you to cleveland, then you should consider making a detour to oberlin and, specifically, the terrific black river cafe. given oberlin's college crowd and their decidedly crunchy granola and dreadlocks lifestlye, one is slighlty perplexed at a place offerering several local meats and cheeses such as black river cafe.

if you wanted to have some real fun, fill a super soaker full of rendered duck fat and arm yourself with meatballs; do drivebys.

What an odd take on Oberlin you have, Señor FrogPrince. :hmmm:

Black River Café is conscious of the source of the foodstuffs they serve, and that's entirely consistent with the "crunchy granola and dreadlocks lifestyle" you seem so hostile to. BTW, Joe serves a mean granola for Sunday brunch. :raz:

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four years in oberlin certainly took their toll on me, this is all i will say to that.

back to black river, joe's pancakes are also mighty mighty fine things, ethereal discs of restrained richness and, should one choose to order them so, oozing with the goodies of trees and bushes.

also, somewhere in north olmsted there exists an unbelievably delicious indian place called kashmir palace. i say somewhere 'cos ive no idea of street names there anymore... i remember it being a couple blocks from a big mall. i'm sure directions could be had on the internet if you were so inclined for pungent garlic naan and masochistic mouth numbing lamb vindaloo.

there is no love sincerer than the love of food

- george bernard shaw

i feel like love is in the kitchen with a culinary eye, think she's making something special and i'm smart enough to try

- interpol

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If you have a chance, go down to Millersburg. It is rather small and has the largest population of Amish and Mennonites in OH. Naturally, it is very picturesque and has some good restaurants with hearty fare.

S. Cue

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  • 1 year later...
We have two good lunch/dinner options in downtown proper. Diva, on Huron Street is very upscale dining.

I ate at Diva a couple of nights ago. It was very good indeed!

Here is what I had:

Seared Foie Gras and Pan Fried Veal Sweetbreads

Johnny Cakes with Sweet Corn Milk

Baby Field Green with Spiced Pecans

Balsamic Roasted Pear and Amish Blue Cheese

Wholegrain Mustard Vinaigrette

Grilled Veal Medallions

Hazelnut Crusted Sweet Breads

Lavender Scented Demi Glace

Whipped Celeriac

I had dessert, too, but I am drawing a total blank on what I had - sorry! I also tried my dining companion's wild boar, and a lemon flavored dessert. Everything I had was really very good, and very creative. I also appreciated the restaurant's use of unusual ingredients. The decor is that of a modern/hip renovation (exposed brick walls with modern artwork and fixtures). The music was a bit odd, as though it was trying too hard to be trendy, but not jarringly so. The servers were well trained and friendly. All in all, a very enjoyable dining experience.

Diva

329 N. Huron St.

Toledo OH 43604

419-324-0000

Edited by nsxtasy (log)
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i have three suggestions for nw oh. first for one of the most interesting renditions of bbq try the new riegel cafe in new riegel oh. next is a bologna sandwich in waldo oh. iv'e never been there but all the old timers around here swear by it. finally if you pass through findlay, for 3 dollars you can get a meatloaf sandwich and a beer at the fern cafe(it doesn't get any more midwestern than that).

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whats wrong with bologna and meatloaf? if you are crazy enough to drive around rural ohio looking for dining experiences what do you expect? last time i checked toledo wasn't a small town. if you want sweetbreads and foie gras then why would you leave the city? if your going to the stix then i assume for whatever reason you are looking for a unique local experience that is what i'm offering. maybe i should have suggested some traditional amish cuisine. now thats rural ohio.

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whats wrong with bologna and meatloaf?

I think the answer to that question is pretty obvious.

if you are crazy enough to drive around rural ohio looking for dining experiences what do you expect?

I expect delicious food, and reasonably creative. And I've found it in some smaller towns in Ohio (e.g. Vermilion, Ashland, Mansfield, and Wooster) as well as in the big cities.

The interest in good food (and no, bologna and meatloaf don't qualify) throughout the country has increased dramatically in recent years. It's no longer all that unusual to find a top notch restaurant in smaller towns.

last time i checked toledo wasn't a small town.

Last time I checked, Toledo was mentioned by the original poster, and there are replies in this topic with recommendations for fine food in Toledo.

if you want sweetbreads and foie gras then why would you leave the city? if your going to the stix then i assume for whatever reason you are looking for a unique local experience that is what i'm offering.

A good restaurant, even one in a small town, can provide a unique local experience that includes delicious food items, not ones you'd find on the menu of a high school cafeteria.

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i really can't believe that responding to a simple post about places to eat in ohio i have now found myself in a position that compells me to extoll the virtues of meatloaf and bologna, but before i do, i would like to agree with your comments about some interesting restaurants in smaller towns. although i have not been to the ones i assume your refering to(chez francois in vermillion, the small place in wooster(i can't recall the name) not sure about ashland or mansfield) i have heard good things about them.

now when it comes to being a midwesterner as i'm sure you know, we have all grown up with bologna and meatloaf. just like new englanders and clam chowder or any other local specialty around the globe. so if i understand you correctly no matter how these items are prepared or what the atmosphere is in the establishments which thay are served they will never rise above peasant status in your opinion? if charlie trotter prepared meatloaf form kobe beef just for you would you thumb your nose at it? is it impossible that there could be an artisan bologna producer that uses only berkshire hogs finished on chestnuts and apples, toiling away without fanfare in the small town of waldo ohio? really my only point is that no matter what you cook whether its foie gras or meatloaf if you do it well and proper then it can be high quality fare. there are way too many intangables in any dining experience to say definatively what should or shouldn't be recommended to complete strangers via the internet. i personally chose to recommend a few places that may or may not be the most memorable food experiences but would undoubtedly leave a smile on even the most hardened critics face.

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whats wrong with bologna and meatloaf?

I think the answer to that question is pretty obvious.

I'm not sure exactly how obvious, because I can't come up with an answer myself. What IS exactly wrong with bologna and meatloaf? You point at cafeterias to find these couple of items, but haven't you ever thought where these "high end, hoity toity" items originated from? Isn't meatloaf just a warm pate? Isn't bologna just another version of salumi/charcuterie? I know for fun after experimenting from brian polcyn's book, I've made serveral bolognas just because some of my friends have no idea what porchetta, prosciutto, or mortadella is, but can relate to bologna. And hey, I bet if I put it on a charcuterie plate, made up a fancy name, slapped some whole grain mustard, cornichons, and some crusty bread on it, I could sell it for 15 bucks at some overlavish dining room.

My point is maybe you should look outside of the box for something to label "special." Some of the best meals you'll have in your life have nothing to do with kobe, foie, sweetbreads, and truffles. They'll also have nothing to do with immersion circulators and NO2. Have you eaten at any of these places that he's suggested? If you have, then please be my guest to tell me I'm wrong, but if not then maybe just think that hey, this place could be good. Yeah, I could get a bologna sandwich or a meatloaf down the street, but exactly is so good about that bologna sandwich and meatloaf that made that guy recommend it. Maybe you should understand this guy's background before you go off and start judging him. I for one trust his tastes.

And if you don't believe me, maybe you can drive down to Findlay, Ohio and eat at The Revolver.

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Actually isnt there some special - store made - thick cut - BBQed bologna somewhere in Ohio?

I had this realy good cross between bologna and meatloaf in Germany over the winter it was called Leiberkass

tracey

Edited by rooftop1000 (log)

The great thing about barbeque is that when you get hungry 3 hours later....you can lick your fingers

Maxine

Avoid cutting yourself while slicing vegetables by getting someone else to hold them while you chop away.

"It is the government's fault, they've eaten everything."

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Well, coming from a rural existence in Pennsylvania, I can tell you that here bologna has many different incarnations and types, and can be quite tasty indeed. I have no idea whether the Ohio Amish and their germanic neighbors make Lebanon bologna, or if Ohioans are stuck with pink smooth Oscar Mayer's finest, but there are some damn nice varieties of bologna out there. The Lebanon bologna and cream cheese sandwich is a fond childhood memory.

Edited by cdh (log)

Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

Learn to brew beer with my eGCI course

Chris Holst, Attorney-at-Lunch

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