Craving succulent seafood served in pre-Civil War era caverns? How about towering cheesecake while watching a sunset? If you have an appetite for unforgettable ambiance with your meal, discover delectable dishes and amazing atmospheres across Richland County.
Get your day started the right way. Start slow with a cappuccino, a scone or slice of quiche at the calm and cozy Nickel & Bean in Lexington. Spread out and sip your espresso within Relax, It’s Just Coffee’s historic atmosphere or stop next door for your tea fix at 3rd Cup Tea. Speaking of history, the Buckeye Bakery has been family owned for more than 120 years and still crafts donuts, cakes, cookies, strudel and pies that are second to none. You have to try the blueberry donuts at The Blueberry Patch — order a dozen while you shop the expansive market. After you pick your own bushel at Apple Hill Orchards, stop inside the farm store for a bag of legendary fresh apple donuts made from their unforgettable cider.
Diners All Day
You just can’t beat old-school eats. For the tastiest comfort food around, try the pancakes, burgers, hot roast beef sandwiches or anything, really, at Ted & Ali’s Café. Your eyes will be as wide as your mouth when you see the gigantic burgers and sandwiches at Buckeye Express Diner, a train car converted into a family-friendly restaurant. Feel like breakfast for dinner? With two locations, Mansfield Family Restaurant has been serving breakfast all day since 1970, though you should also try homestyle favorites like broasted chicken, steaks and pies. Mansfield is famous for coneys, so follow the neon sign to Coney Island Diner and claim a seat at their long counter. Or visit the Coney Island Inn for a tasty coney dog or breakfast all day. With classics like burgers, sandwiches and steaks, local haunt Uncle John’s Place has been making diners feel at home since 1972.
Travel the world without leaving Richland County. Sit under the original tin ceilings and strings of lights at Dan Lew Exchange (DLX). Order an exquisite cocktail, then take your tastebuds on a trip through sushi, steaks and stir fry. Slip into one of the blue booths at Athena Greek Restaurant to order a Greek Mythos beer and try a gyro plate piled high. Tito’s Cantina & Grill serves a fascinating fusion of modern Mexican and Korean dishes — think tortillas filled with Korean barbecue brisket or empanada potstickers. You won’t leave hungry from Athens Greek Restaurant in Ontario, where you can feast on giant gyros, souvlaki plates, oven-roasted lamb and the best tzatziki sauce anywhere.
Discover dining as fine as the surroundings. Serving up a menu of upscale American classics, the elegant Hudson & Essex breathes new life into a historic car dealership. Directly below is Prohibition at the Caverns, the underground dining room built out in newly discovered sandstone caverns. Malabar Farm Restaurant sits in a lovingly restored 1820s farmhouse where you can cozy up with their expert French-inspired menu. Book a stay at Wishmaker House Bed & Breakfast to sip wine and savor tasty small plates, salads and pastas on the elegant garden patio, in a brightly lit dining room, or even inside heated igloos in the winter! Don’t miss the signature blueberry wine at 1285 Winery at The Blueberry Patch, which pairs perfectly with a crispy wood-fired pizza. Dine outdoors in the middle of the blueberry fields or inside a warm, wood-clad dining room, sourced from trees on the farm.
Al Fresco Ambiance
Dine in the idyllic countryside or amidst bustling city life. Black Dog Tavern at Deer Ridge Golf Course features a giant, elevated deck overlooking the course itself — visit in the fall for breathtaking views of colorful foliage. Hit the links, then kick back with a burger, wings or perfect top sirloin. Uniontown Brewing Co. makes its home in a pre-Civil War building that for more than a century was a furniture store downtown. A long patio runs along the alley outside and offers loads of shade and twinkling string lights for enjoying a pint of Ashland IPA. Kick back and sip slowly on the sprawling patios at 1285 Winery surrounded by lush greenery, blueberry bushes and a gorgeous firepit.
And who can forget dessert? We’re just going to say it: Wishmaker House Bed & Breakfast makes some of the best cheesecake you’ll ever try! The hefty, towering slices rotate through flavors like classic New York style, pistachio and bourbon caramel. Malabar Farm Restaurant’s creme brulee du jour and DLX’s four-layer carrot and chocolate cakes are equally worthy mentions that’ll have you ordering seconds to go.
For the Greener Good
Farming goes beyond the fields in Mansfield. Thanks to North End Community Improvement Collaborative, Inc. (NECIC), previously unused spaces within Mansfield’s city limits have been turned into micro farms through its Gro-Op Urban Farm program. These green spaces are used to grow fresh fruits and vegetables that are shared directly with local restaurants, individuals, schools and markets. The program is helping beautify the region while getting produce into the hands of families and businesses that need it.
By Nicholas Dekker