food

12 Days of Ohio Holidays – Day #7

This is the time of year that the stores are filled with simple stocking stuffers and easy to grab gifts for friends and family.  For loved ones near-by this is fine. For friends or family that have moved out of Ohio, or who live in another state and wonder what’s so great about the great state of Ohio, a little more is needed. Here are a few suggestions (not a complete list add your own in comments below) for perfect way to wrap up Ohio.

We have organized our ideas into regional baskets. Pick and choose or add your own. These are just suggestions. If you have any more suggestions you can add them in the comments below.

Northeast:

Northwest:

Southwest:

  • Cincinnati Style Chili – A little bit thinner than the “other” styles of chili, this classic is known for its ability to turn spaghetti into a regional favorite. Everyone has their favorite place, and all are good.
  • Grippos – if they want barbecue chips they probably crave these.
    Mike-Sells – if they are from a little closer to Dayton these are the choice
  • Ester Price – Chocolates from Dayton
  • Boston Stoker Coffee – Don’t let the name fool you, it’s locally roasted coffee.

Central:

Amish Country:

 

 

Kahiki Supper Club

Kahiki Supper Club

Long ago in the land of Columbus was a special place where visitors could take a journey to a far away land and experience the magic of the Island life, all with out leaving Ohio. The place was the Kahiki Supper Club. The largest Tiki themed restaurant in the country and it was a sight to see.

In the late 1940’s Servicemen returning from the war in the pacific brought back idealized stories of the island life. As the 1950’s economic boom spurred on the consumer culture, people began looking for things to do. With Hawaii on track to become a state, and the stories of the servicemen becoming more romanticized, Tiki culture was born. For a few dollars average citizens could escape to a far away island.

Lee Henry and Bill Sapp were looking to cash in on this cultural trend. They decided not only to make a themed restaurant, but to make one of the largest. The Kahiki Supper Club, 3583 E Broad St, Columbus, OH 43213, was a landmark. The building was designed to look like a traditional men’s meeting house of new Zealand, but much, much larger. From the street the the complex looked like a Las Vegas resort. The building was at the center with a driveway leading past it to a parking lot. The light up signage was in a faux polynesian font. The landscaping was low and framed the building. To enter the restaurant guest passed to massive Heads. Beyond them was a moat and a small bridge. By the time visitors had even stepped inside  they were already being transported away.

Kahiki Menu Picture

The lobby housed a fountain, with a gift shop and restrooms around the sides. George, the fountain, is now on display at Grass Skirt Tiki Room. Once inside the main dining room the true vision of the owners could be seen. The room was set up like a small Tahitian village. The lobby, bars,  and side seating areas were separate buildings. One wall was aquatic with many fish tanks. The other wall was a rainforest with a thunderstorm brewing outside. Watching over the whole place was a giant tiki head fireplace. The fireplace became the icon of the restaurant ending up on menus, and almost anything it could be placed on in the gift shop.

One of the main aspects that drew people to tiki culture was the drinks. In traditional pacific culture rum was not used. In American Tiki culture the Caribbean island staple was added to almost every drink. The drink menu at the Kahiki was as large as the fireplace and as vast Pacific itself. The restaurant had not one but 3 bars, The Maui Bar and Cocktail lounge, The Outrigger Bar, and the Music Bar, where the Kahiki Beachcomber Trio would preform. They even recorded an album there.

Kahiki drink menu

In the 1970’s Tiki culture started to wain. Restaurants and buildings were starting to get old and in need of updating. Many tiki places were lost. The Kahiki was a landmark of Columbus and Ohio. It stayed strong. In 1988 the owners decided to sell to Michael Tsao. Tsao wanted to expand the brand and started a line of frozen food. Eventually in the late 90’s the building was in need of repair. The neighborhood had changed and the tiki culture was dying. Tsao decided to sell the land. He had hoped to rebuild in a new location, but died before any plans could be made. The Kahiki was torn down and a chain drugstore was put up in its place.

As the Tiki culture, and having a night out as an adventure, makes a comeback citizens of columbus and Ohio fondly remember back on the great restaurant of the islands.

 

German Village Coffee Shop

193 Thurman Avenue,Columbus, OH 43206

www.gvcoffeeshop.com

Menu

The German Village Coffee Shop is a coffee shop in the German Village area of Columbus. The feeling of the place is comfortable, neighborhood hang out, old school, and inviting. It is a diner with booth and counter service. You can see your food being made right in front of you. The coffee shop is open for breakfast and lunch. Expect the place to be more popular on weekends. It is not huge, so one might have to wait. The food was very tasty and the coffee was good. One true test of diner, is if the coffee cup is keep full. Their was the right amount of attention to our needs. The menu consists of omelets, burgers, sandwiches, hotcakes, pancakes, and salads. The place is one of those neighborhood spots where people come in and know each other, this place was really showing this when we were there. The German Village Coffee Shop is a place to try out when visiting Columbus.

You can tell we liked the coffee

Do not worry the coffee cup was kept full.

Gift Basket Ideas from Ohio

This is the time of year that the stores are filled with simple stocking stuffers and easy to grab gifts for friends and family.  For loved ones near-by this is fine. For friends or family that have moved out of Ohio, or who live in another state and wonder what’s so great about the great state of Ohio, a little more is needed. Here are a few suggestions (not a complete list add your own in comments below) for perfect way to wrap up Ohio.

We have organized our ideas into regional baskets. Pick and choose or add your own. These are just suggestions. If you have any more suggestions you can add them in the comments below.

Northeast:

Northwest:

Southwest:

  • Cincinnati Style Chili – A little bit thinner than the “other” styles of chili, this classic is known for its ability to turn spaghetti into a regional favorite. Everyone has their favorite place, and all are good.
  • Grippos – if they want barbecue chips they probably crave these.
    Mike-Sells – if they are from a little closer to Dayton these are the choice
  • Ester Price – Chocolates from Dayton
  • Boston Stoker Coffee – Don’t let the name fool you, it’s locally roasted coffee.

Central:

Amish Country:

 

 

Grass Skirt Tiki Room

img_0362This is going to be a mini celebration review.

105 N. Grant Ave, Columbus, Ohio

http://grassskirttiki.com

The Grass Skirt Tiki Room is one of those fun places to eat, drink, and discover. The atmosphere is matched by the great food and drinks. This restaurant is not huge, so it could get busy. We went in the late afternoon on a summer day and the place was not crowded. So if crowded is not your thing middle of the afternoons are good. The Grass Skirt is a bar type of restaurant, so late nights could be fun with a group of friends.

If you loved the Kahiki, and are looking for something to fill its place, this is it. The whole place, as the name suggests, is tiki themed. Very tiki themed. It is fun and festive. The decor is almost over the top, but stops at just the right point. There is a real laid back feeling to it. This does not mean you are treated poorly. We were treated professional and the staff was attentive. This place is one where you really feel like you want to hang out.

The menu fits the theme and the food was good. Not overpriced or over sized. The portions fit the price. The drinks are island style and come in fancy themed glasses. This is the type of place that one will stop in for a crazy drink and end up grabbing a bite to eat.

So, give The Grass Skirt Tiki room a try.

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Belgrade Gardens

401 E State St, Barberton, OH 44203

http://www.belgradegardenschicken.com

In order to understand Belgrade Gardens Restaurant you will need to know about Barberton chicken. Barberton chicken is a kind of chicken the originated in Barberton and is Serbian-American style.

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The breading and chicken are only seasoned with salt and pepper and are fried in lard. Maybe there was no salt and pepper, we are getting a few conflicting Internet recipes, but it was for sure not heavily seasoned with lots of spices. The chicken is available in many different cuts.

Belgrade Gardens has been around since the 1930s in an old farmhouse. The place has been expanded and if you walk around you can see that the restaurant is huge and can seat hundreds of people. It  won many awards and has been featured in magazines, newspapers, radio, and television. They even won a Food Network TV show. The place is comfortable and the menu is more than just chicken with many daily specials. When we went we had great service and the great food.

The chicken is well known, but the sides are also great. They have a dish called hot sauce. We were expecting some sauce in a bottle, but were surprised when this dish came out. IMG_0312

Their hot sauce has rice, tomatoes, onions, and hot peppers in it. It was very tasty and just the right amount of heat. The peppers might of been removed before the dish was served, we did not bite into a really hot part.

We ordered the regular which came with chicken, fries, hot sauce, and cole slaw. Each item was well done and very tasty. We also ordered there root beer, which was a nice treat.

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In the area, or not, this is really worth the drive. The chicken is crisp, but not too crisp and very fresh. The breading has a nice chew to it and is not over hard. The chicken was very juicy and not dried out. This is a restaurant that really knows what they are doing and sticks to recipes and dishes they make well. This restaurant has a local feeling.

If you want to experience good food and a great time this is your restaurant. Worth the trip no matter how far.

Note: The restaurant’s website has a great about section. Yes, we saved that for last so you would not jump over too soon.

Breakfast Places

Breakfast PlacesHere are a few places that we have been to for breakfast. A good breakfast place needs to have good coffee, reasonable prices, good food, and be a place that is either close or worth the drive. The food can be simple or complex, it does not matter. One can tell if a restaurant is good if locals go there and conversations are going on. You also need a wait staff that is friendly and attentive. Make sure to look at times as many of these places are not all day.

Breakfast Club Cafe

http://breakfastclubcafe.com/

102 N Broadway St

Lebanon, OH 45036

Rating *****

This is a great local place with a good menu. This business also has a restaurant in Dayton. The food is homemade and you can tell that love and care goes into the food. There are many of your typical breakfast type foods there. You can get pancakes, waffles, french toast, eggs, omelets, sandwiches, burgers, soup, salad. They have great waffles, with many different kinds available. They also roasts their own coffee. The coffee is great and can be sipped in many different varieties. The service was great when we went, we were attended on but not over bothered. This is the type of place you could go to every week, and it seemed people did.

Buckeye Donuts

http://alwaysopen.buckeye-donuts.com/

1998 N High St, Columbus, OH 43201

Rating*****
Buckeye Donuts is in Columbus near the university. It is open 24 hours a day, so anytime you get a craving for donut, you can get one. They have a menu that includes more than just donuts. You can get good coffee or a sandwich. They have your standard donuts and some a little fancier, what they do not have is those over priced hipster donuts in the fad places. Just expect good quality donuts, not hype. Good hand cut donuts. The place is smallish and even Saturday afternoon in the summer is filled with people. It might be a wait during the school year. What is nice about the place is you can hang out or it is set up for a quick pick up of donuts. They also do catering, so you could fill your office with their great donuts. If you in Columbus make sure to stop by this place.
 Koffee Kup
428 S. First St.
Miamisburg, OH 45342
This is a restaurant we have passed many times and thought nothing about it. We then decided. The food is your typical breakfast and lunch fair. The service was friendly and the food was hot and fast. We enjoyed the food and like the reasonable prices. The place is not huge, but just the right size. The food is good and this would be a great place to go before going out the local bike trails.

West Side Market in Cleveland

Westside Market - ROR 2015

1979 W 25th St, Cleveland, OH 44113

http://westsidemarket.org/

Does the West Side Market in Cleveland have more to it than just food? Yes, yes it does. The market has a great atmosphere, tons of history, sights, sounds, and the business of locals all in one great location.

From its early days to its current state the market has been a source of good food for the Ohio city area, the Cleveland city as a whole, and people from all over the world. West Side Market Started as a small outdoor market in 1840 and moved across the street to its permanent home in 1912. The building was built for the market, even though it may look like a reused structure. Over the past 100 years the market seen some vendors come and go, and some stay for the long haul, with a few of the stall being operated by the same families since the opening of the building.

The main building is large and airy. A tall arched structure it is reminiscent of an old Train station. All though the building, it is mainly a one floor venue. The second story has only a walk way for viewing the market and a small bench to sit and stop to get a bite of the food. All of the vendors in the main building are located on the ground floor. The layout is a simple grid that makes navigating easy, but still leaves a little adventure to the experience. All of the stalls are built in the same style and can look the same after a while. With only 4 “rows” and 5 “aisles”, each with different vendors’ wares on display, it is no problem getting a sense of location when lost. The outdoor produce arcade, located right next to the main building, feels like a regular farmers market enclosed to keep the elements out.

A large portion of the enjoyment of shopping at the market is talking to the vendors. Outdoors the fruits and vegetable vendors will haggle for the best grapes or exotic fruits. Indoors the butchers will help one find the best cut from a bison, goat, chicken, pig, or other exotic animals. Whole pigs can be seen being delivered straight to the vendors to be prepared on site. If one has questions all they have to do is ask and everyone will be glad to help out. Even with the competitors literally inches away vendors feel welcoming and inviting, as if everyone is just one big happy family.

If all the sights and smells of the place make one hungry quite a number of prepared food stall are on-site to fill one up. Hot dogs, sandwiches, beef jerky, fresh fruits, the choices of snacks and even meals are almost endless. The most famous prepared food stall is Steve’s Gyros, which has been on many national best of list and shows. Almost all food shows stopping in the city visit the stall. (Due to popular demand they sell out early and close well before the rest of the market. Come early, and don’t be surprised by waits of upwards of 30 minutes.)

Cleveland residents, Chefs, weekend grillers, and even tourist will enjoy a stop at the most famous food venue in the city. The Westside Market in Cleveland is a must see for anyone in the city.

Quick tip: The Christmas story house is only a few blocks down the street, and the Progressive Field is a few blocks too. The market can get busy at times.

 

Tecumseh! Outdoor Drama

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5968 Marietta Rd, Chillicothe, OH 45601

http://www.tecumsehdrama.com/

Some consider Tecumseh to be the greatest Shawnee leader ever to have lived. Tecumseh! Outdoor Drama tells the story of this great man with romance gunfire, and a fist or two. More than just a drama, Tecumseh is a full evening of activities in one location. With Behind-the-Scenes Tours, living history, food, show, museum, and gift shop there is something for everyone.

To know how the story is told, and some more history of the man, take the Behind-the-Scenes Tour. The tour is a one hour backstage show of its own. The tour starts with Information on how the location of the venue was chosen, the setup of the stage and lake, and the buildings used. From there it moves on to the more popular action portion. The guns, fights, and safety of the production are both explained and demonstrated. The tour ends with the horses and some other effects used. Over all the tour is a must for anyone wanting to know more about the production itself.

Fox fall during backstage tour

Between the tour and the show is a great time to check out the “Tecumseh!” Snack Shack or “Tecumseh!” Terrace Buffet. From pizza to popcorn, plenty of choices are offered at the shack. For those looking to eat a full meal the buffet is a good value vs driving into town, finding place to eat, and trying to deal with traffic on the way back. The buffet is a basic fried chicken dinner with fixings.

Before the show is also a great time to visit the Gift shop and Museum. The gift shop is a small affair with trinkets and toys. The main draw is the Tecumseh themed merchandise. The museum is a small hallway with a few artifacts and trinkets of the time period.  A quick stop before the show (unlike everything else it closes for the night 15 minutes before curtain call) can help to put some of the facts about the time period into place.

Starting with the early days of the settlement of the Northwest Territory and ending during the War of 1812 the show itself is brought to life through dialogue, battle reenactments, and the outdoor setting.  The script can at times be a little reminiscent of 1950’s westerns. The acting at times also seemed a bit high school drama. Overall the outdoor setting and large staging helped to gloss over any problems.

With no electronic amplification the dialogue is surprisingly easy to hear due to the shape of the mountain. The same shape that directs the voices of the actors also contains the blasts of the guns and cannons. It can get quit noisy at times. The guns, being period accurate, use black powder. Along with the noise comes the smoke. Anyone sensitive to noise and smoke should take caution during the second act.

Overall the Tecumseh! Outdoor Drama in Chillicothe, Ohio is an evening’s worth of the loud and proud life of one of the greatest people to live in the Ohio region.

Cautions: The show is loud, full of smoke at times, and outdoors. If it rains you will get wet.