Great Ohio Road Trips: Retro Diners
Here’s where you can take a step back in time and enjoy a slice of Americana in a vintage setting.
Tin Goose Diner: Located next to the runway at the Erie-Ottawa International Airport, this retro diner was built by the Jerry O’Mahony Diner Co. of Elizabeth, New Jersey, in the 1950s and began life as the Sunrise Diner in Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania. Today, it serves up signature items such as Mac-Arthur & Cheese and the Tri-Motor Burger, the latter named after the planes that once ferried people to and from the Lake Erie islands. 3515 E. State Rd., Port Clinton 43452, 419/732-0236, tingoosediner.com
The Spot: Spot Miller brought a chuck wagon to town in 1907. It was replaced with a more permanent structure in 1934, which was rebuilt after a fire tore through the building 10 years later. While the owners have changed over the years, fresh-ground hamburgers and baked-fresh pies remain specialties. The Spot has also never moved from its original location — the same corner where Miller parked his chuck wagon more than a century ago. 201 S. Ohio St., Sidney 45365, 937/492-9181, thespottoeat.com
Mary’s Diner: Opened in 2004, this sister restaurant to Mary’s Kitchen — a 75-year-old seasonal restaurant at Geneva-on-the-Lake — features home-style American cuisine. Menu offerings range from all-day breakfast to dinner specialties like pot roast (a customer favorite), homestyle meatloaf and Lake Erie yellow perch. Adding to the ’50s feel, the front of a red 1957 Chevrolet holds the cash register. 666 E. Main St., Geneva 44041, 440/466-6393, marysdiner.com
Schmucker’s Restaurant: Built in 1948 as a dairy bar, the menu at this Toledo landmark has expanded to breakfast, lunch and dinner while the interior has remained mostly original. The signature hot roast beef sandwich is slow-cooked all night and served with gravy made from scratch and hand-peeled mashed potatoes. The diner’s 53 seats include a 13-stool counter, and there’s still an old telephone booth in the back. 2103 N. Reynolds Rd., Toledo 43615, 419/535-9116, schmuckersrestaurant.com
Nutcracker ’50s Family Restaurant: It doesn’t look like a vintage diner from the outside, but the neon sign bearing the words “Service Station,” two jukeboxes, and 1950s-style murals inside embody the aesthetic perfectly. Customer favorites include country-fried steak, burgers, all-you-can-eat daily dinner specials and pies co-owner Nancy Butcher makes fresh daily. Veterans eat free on Veterans Day and Memorial Day. 63 E. Broad St., Pataskala 43062, 740/964-0056, nutcrackerfamilyrestaurant.com
State Parks on the Water | Minor League Ballparks | Adams County Quilt Barns | Antique Superstores | Gardens | Retro Diners | College-Town Eats | Quirky Museums | Night Skies