Cheeseburger at Craft Bistro & Lounge in New Philadelphia (photo courtesy of Craft Bistro & Lounge)

9 Great Food Finds in Ohio’s Appalachian Region

From fried chicken to creative burgers to classic diner fare, check out these spots to grab a bite throughout Ohio’s Appalachian region.

Craft Bistro & Lounge | New Philadelphia
Perched on the second floor of a downtown building, this trendy spot is helmed by Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Institute-trained chef and owner Eric Zamudio. Dishes such as crab cakes made fresh, a 42-ounce porterhouse steak sliced tableside and the innovative weekly specials are culinary works of art. But Craft Bistro & Lounge devotees know Wednesday burger nights are where it’s at, too. With a line out the door most weeks, Zamudio showcases two special burgers featuring house-made sauces and toppings, such as a caprese burger served with Buffalo mozzarella, balsamic aioli and pesto aioli. 104 Fair Ave. NE, New Philadelphia 44663, 330/432-4488,

Mehlman Cafeteria | St. Clairsville
Comfort food, history and family offer the perfect mix of ingredients at Mehlman Cafeteria in St. Clairsville. Started by Mary Mehlman in the 1960s, the restaurant is still run by third- and fourth-generation family members. Standout dishes include the roast beef, stuffed chicken breast, almond-crusted salmon and two comfort food classics: stuffed peppers and cabbage rolls. The dining room feels like sitting down to dinner at grandma’s, which of course wouldn’t be complete without desserts such as apple dumplings, tapioca pudding and coconut cream, banana cream, lemon and peanut butter pies. 51800 National Rd. E., St. Clairsville 43950, 740/695-1000,

Ribs, mashed potatoes, green beens and other sides at Cockeye BBQ in Warren (photo by Laura Watilo Blake)
Cockeye BBQ | Warren
Great barbecue takes a long time, and Cockeye BBQ’s 14-hour smoked pulled pork sandwich is an example of why it’s worth the wait. The lightly sauced pork shoulder is served with a dollop of creamy house slaw. If you’re willing to forgo the bun, the Mess Plate comes with the same pulled pork (this time topped with cheese and sauce) along with house-made macaroni and cheese, and onion rings. The Warren spot, which Erik and Stacey Hoover started in 2015, also has an outdoor seating option and on-site ice cream stand that make a visit all the sweeter. 1805 Parkman Rd. NW, Warren 44485, 330/369-4227,

Old Canal Smoke House | Chillicothe
You’ve likely had great barbecue in this state, but at Old Canal Smoke House, classics such as brisket, pulled pork, ribs, chicken, salmon and more are all hickory-smoked in a renovated 1850s-era forge. Must-try eats at this spot, which has an industrial feel, include smoked prime rib that’s only served Friday and Saturday evenings and smoked meatloaf served with mashed potatoes, fried onion straws and rye bread. The Chillicothe restaurant also features more than 10 burgers and sandwiches, and non-smoked meat platters such as pasta and steaks. The restaurant also serves 18 (mostly) craft beers on tap. 94 E. Water St., Chillicothe 45601, 740/779-3278,

Crab cakes at The Galley in Marietta (photo courtesy of The Galley)
The Galley | Marietta
Named after a 45-ton vessel called the Adventure Galley that brought the first permanent Northwest Territory settlers to Marietta, The Galley is a hub for food and fun thanks to a music hall and boutique hotel that’s also part of the 1890 property. The restaurant space is a mix of exposed brick and plenty of wooden accents, while the menu is a mix of casual gastropub and fine-dining steakhouse. Inventive burgers, such as the rich French onion burger topped with onion marmalade, Swiss and provolone cheese, share menu space with pasta, steaks and saltine-cracker-encrusted crab cakes. 203 Second St., Marietta 45750, 740/374-8278,

360 Burger | Cambridge 
Executive chef Steve Wagner opened this Cambridge burger spot six years ago as another outlet to showcase the beef from Red Hill Farm. (He is also executive chef at Bear’s Den Steakhouse in Cambridge.) The farmhouse-chic styling of 360 Burger pays homage to the farm, with framed photos of cattle and an old Red Hill Farm barn gate as decor. Order the 360 Burger, Wagner’s take on a smash burger with a special sauce made of mayonnaise, ketchup and pickles. Complete the meal by ordering a side of fries and a milkshake for that nostalgic blast of sweet, salty and savory. 11201 Cadiz Rd., Cambridge 43725, 740/435-0360,

Scallops at Kindred Spirits in Logan (photo courtesy of Kindred Spirits)
Kindred Spirits | Logan
This restaurant is set in a cozy 1840s log cabin and surrounded by the natural beauty of Hocking Hills State Park. (Plus, you can walk to dinner from your Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls accommodations if you’re staying on-site.) But the food coming out of executive chef Josh Thurston’s kitchen is why it’s worth pulling up a seat at the table. Although menus are updated seasonally and change frequently, expect offerings such as seared Bay of Fundy salmon with house-made hot honey or house-made teriyaki sauce, as well as a tart-cherry barbecue center-cut pork chop. 21190 St. Rte. 374, Logan 43138, 740/385-7489,

Blue Bell Diner | McConnelsville 
Sidling up to the counter at Blue Bell Diner in McConnelsville feels different than it did when the restaurant first opened more than 50 years ago. For starters, the place received a contemporary-meets-nostalgia makeover when new owner Adrian Harper took over in 2022. Standouts here include house-made sausage gravy and biscuits, a Belgian waffle platter and the slightly sweet house-made chili. The diner’s full coffee bar churns out drinks such as a white chocolate mocha made with locally sourced chocolate milk and salted caramel iced coffee with house-made caramel sweet cream foam. 2 W. Main St., McConnelsville 43756, 740/962-3939,

Broasted chicken at Golden Plaza in Belle Valley (photo courtesy of Belle Valley)
Golden Plaza | Belle Valley
If you’re looking for homestyle cooking without any pretenses, this Noble County spot is for you. Located in an old roadside brick building, the vibe inside is somewhere between charming local bar (neon beer signs and all) and down-home restaurant. It’s the kind of unassuming spot that those in the know flock to on a regular basis. While the meatloaf sandwich, all-beef hot dog or mushroom steak might draw your attention, the crispy-on-the-outside, juicy-on-the-inside broasted chicken is a must. Get a side of the house-made coleslaw, which is so good Golden Plaza sells it by the take-home pint. 135 Main St., Belle Valley 43717, 740/732-9941