4 Surprising Food Finds in Ohio’s Amish Country
Check out four experiences that go beyond traditional fare, from garden-fresh fine dining to a pizza shop that gets its ingredients from local farms.
Ohio’s Amish Country is most often associated with rolling hills, handmade furniture and the clip-clop rhythm of horses and buggies. When it comes to food, the northeast Ohio region centered around Holmes County and parts of the surrounding area is known for its locally made cheeses, high-quality meats, delicious pastries and homemade pies. But these four food spots go beyond the traditional expectations when it comes to farm-fresh fare. Here are some of the spots shaking things up in Ohio’s Amish Country, from a seven-day-a-week farm store that operates on the honor system to fresh-and-local fine dining restaurant in Millersburg that offers menu options not often seen in the area.
Park Street Pizza
Rocky and Courtney Shanower grew up in Sugarcreek. So, when the husband and wife opened their Park Street Pizza there in 2003, they quickly forged relationships with the local farmers from whom they began buying their ingredients.
“It’s been a long-term partnership for us,” says Rocky Shanower. “Knowing some of these farmers individually and personally has made it rewarding to partner with them and help their businesses grow along with ours. We strongly believe that we have an opportunity with our business to make a positive impact, not just sell pizza.”
Turns out when your ingredients are this fresh, your pizza makes a positive impression, too. Popular pies include the Colossal Italian, topped with both regular and spicy Italian sausage from Sweet Meadows Farm, a nearby organic family farm that raises, butchers and processes its own livestock. No matter which of the dozen signature pizzas you choose (or whether you prefer to build your own) each has a chewy, soft crust that is made in-house from dough that has been cold fermented for at least 24 hours to boost its flavor.
“If you fall in love with a menu item you have to come back to us to get it,” Shanower says, “because you won’t find it anywhere else.” 215 Dover Rd. NW, Sugarcreek 44681, 330/852-2993, parkstreetpizza.com
Tarragon at The Inn at Honey Run
Located on more than 50 acres in Holmes County, The Inn at Honey Run offers the epitome of an Amish Country getaway, with the emphasis on getaway. Part of that experience is a meal at Tarragon, the inn’s fine dining restaurant, which embraces a fresh and local approach with its menu.
“We just installed a 2-acre garden and a fairly large greenhouse so we can grow throughout the winter,” says executive chef Bret Andreasen. “We have fruit trees, berry bushes, and spring brings row-planting of herbs ... morel mushrooms and ramps. We have beehives and harvest our own honey.”
This year, guests will be able to tour the grounds with Andreasen to learn more about what the inn grows, and chef dinners in the garden are being planned. This commitment to growing its own ingredients has made Tarragon a unique dining destination in the area. All of the restaurant’s soups, stocks and sauces are made from scratch as well. Then there’s the view of the surrounding woodlands, framed through the dining room’s floor-to-ceiling windows.
“We do fine dining the way cities do,” Andreasen says, “but out in the country.” 6920 County Rd. 203, Millersburg 44654, 330/674-0011, innathoneyrun.com/dining
Wholesome Valley Farm
Whether you’re stopping in for a dozen fresh eggs, pasture-raised meats or farm-grown produce, the self-serve store at Wholesome Valley Farm has you covered. Everything sold at this small spot is raised or grown on the farm.
Equally wholesome is the fact that the store runs on the honor system, with no cashier to take your money. It’s open daily 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (the lights turn on and off by timer), and the system has worked well according to Wholesome Valley Farm’s owner, Trevor Clatterbuck.
“Our numbers are even better than when someone was there, since we’re not limited to normal business hours,” he says. “A lot of stuff in Amish Country closes at five o’clock, so we get a lot of people stopping by after work … even on Sundays, since nothing around here is open on Sundays.”
The farm has produced meat and vegetables for Cleveland-area restaurants and also sells via Ohio City Provisions and Fresh Fork Market’s summer farm share CSA. Customer favorites at the farm store include the freshly made Italian chicken patties, which Clatterbuck describes as “chicken sausage in a patty format.” 927 U.S. 62, Wilmot 44689, 330/359-2129, wholesomevalleyfarm.com
Broken Rocks Cafe & Bakery
There is a lot of history in this historic former meeting house in Wooster. Both Mark Twain and Frederick Douglass are said to have stopped here to give talks on their respective book tours, and the bread served within its walls is from a three-decades old starter made using grapes.
“There’s a lot of different ways to start a sourdough, but you can rub that hazy coating off a grape — that’s the yeast and bacteria that have stuck to it through the summer — and you can culture that,” explains Glen Grumbling, who owns Broken Rocks Cafe & Bakery with his wife, Lisa. “The grapes are 30 years gone, but the culture remains.”
Getting their start selling bread at farmers markets, the Grumblings now run both Broken Rocks Cafe & Bakery and its sister venture next door, Rox Gastropub. Broken Rocks focuses on fresh and local ingredients, from its bourbon bread pudding made using its sourdough starter to the grass-fed steers it sources for its ground beef. But the restaurant’s menu also offers surprises, like jambalaya and its pot stickers appetizer.
“I can’t tell you the closest place around here to get decent hummus, decent pot stickers,” Grumbling says, “so we put them on our menu.” 123 E. Liberty St., Wooster 44691, 330/263-2949, brokenrockscafe.com
These three locations throughout the countryside offer wines, food and fun.
Hans’ Place: Nestled behind Broad Run Cheese, this spot pairs tasty bites with wine from Swiss Heritage Winery, which is also housed here. Grab a spot in the dining room or bar, or find a seat on the outdoor patio. There is live music on Saturdays year-round. 6011 Old Route 39 NW, Dover 44622, 330/343-3884, facebook.com/hansplacewine
Sunny Slope Winery: Described by owner Tara Bright as “an urban winery in the country,” this fun little spot offers live music on Fridays and Saturdays throughout the year and really is located on a sunny slope, complete with an outdoor stage. 12251 St. Rte. 39, Big Prairie 44611, 330/378-4722, sunnyslopewinery.com
Breitenbach Wine Cellars: This winery holds its Dandelion Festival each spring, with dandelion-based food, dandelion-themed art and, of course, Breitenbach’s dandelion wine, which it has made for more than four decades. Other times, the winery’s on-site cafe offers wood-fired pizzas and salads. 5934 Old Route 39 NW, Dover 44622, 330/343-3603, breitenbachwine.com