August 23, 2019

These Essential Ohio Restaurants Are Absolutely Worth the Road Trip

The Buckeye State is home to countless culinary gems, spanning from Ohio's southernmost cities to the tippy-top of the north. We may be situated in the Midwest, but don't let our geographical location fool you, our food scene often finds itself in the national spotlight. From family-owned Italian eateries that have stood the test of time to new dining destinations that are taking cities by storm — these Ohio eateries are absolutely worth the trip.
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Schmidt’s Sausage Haus und Restaurant
240 E. Kossuth St., Columbus, (614) 444-6808
Located in Columbus’ German Village, this historic eatery has been a must-visit dining destination for over 50 years. Schmidt family patriarch J. Fred Schmidt moved to Columbus in the early 1880s and started a meat-packing house. Then his son, George L., opened a food stand at the Ohio State Fair. His grandson, George F., eventually opened this iconic restaurant using recipes from the Schmidt family’s prior ventures. Diners can expect authentic German cuisine like wiener schnitzel and haus saurbraten, as well as a variety of sausages and sweets including jumbo cream puffs and German chocolate cake. Enjoy your eats with a side of oom-pah-pah with live music Wednesday through Saturday evenings by Squeezin’ N’ Wheezin’ and Der Musik Masters.
Photo via schmitscbus/Facebook

Schmidt’s Sausage Haus und Restaurant

240 E. Kossuth St., Columbus, (614) 444-6808

Located in Columbus’ German Village, this historic eatery has been a must-visit dining destination for over 50 years. Schmidt family patriarch J. Fred Schmidt moved to Columbus in the early 1880s and started a meat-packing house. Then his son, George L., opened a food stand at the Ohio State Fair. His grandson, George F., eventually opened this iconic restaurant using recipes from the Schmidt family’s prior ventures. Diners can expect authentic German cuisine like wiener schnitzel and haus saurbraten, as well as a variety of sausages and sweets including jumbo cream puffs and German chocolate cake. Enjoy your eats with a side of oom-pah-pah with live music Wednesday through Saturday evenings by Squeezin’ N’ Wheezin’ and Der Musik Masters.

Photo via schmitscbus/Facebook
Sokolowski's University Inn
2102 Brookpark Rd., Cleveland, (216) 661-4873
Serving delicious Polish and Eastern European cuisine since 1923, Sokolowski’s University Inn is Cleveland’s oldest owned and family operated restaurant. Hundreds of photos line the walls, paying tribute to the restaurant’s many distinguished visitors, including Jimmy Fallon, Kevin Bacon and Bill Clinton. 
Photo via chris_from_hawaii/Instagram

Sokolowski's University Inn

2102 Brookpark Rd., Cleveland, (216) 661-4873

Serving delicious Polish and Eastern European cuisine since 1923, Sokolowski’s University Inn is Cleveland’s oldest owned and family operated restaurant. Hundreds of photos line the walls, paying tribute to the restaurant’s many distinguished visitors, including Jimmy Fallon, Kevin Bacon and Bill Clinton.

Photo via chris_from_hawaii/Instagram
The Golden Lamb
27 S. Broadway St., Lebanon, (513) 855-0990
The Golden Lamb is Ohio’s oldest and longest continually operating business located in Lebanon. The historic gem has seen numerous notable guests, including 12 United States Presidents like John Quincy Adams and George W. Bush. You can dine two ways at The Golden Lamb. The traditional dining space offers an extensive upscale menu of items like the seared Faroe Island salmon or braised lamb shank, while the Black Horse Tavern offers more casual bites like everything-seasoned pork rinds and prime rib sliders in addition to dishes from their main menu.
Photo via thegoldenlamb/Facebook

The Golden Lamb

27 S. Broadway St., Lebanon, (513) 855-0990

The Golden Lamb is Ohio’s oldest and longest continually operating business located in Lebanon. The historic gem has seen numerous notable guests, including 12 United States Presidents like John Quincy Adams and George W. Bush. You can dine two ways at The Golden Lamb. The traditional dining space offers an extensive upscale menu of items like the seared Faroe Island salmon or braised lamb shank, while the Black Horse Tavern offers more casual bites like everything-seasoned pork rinds and prime rib sliders in addition to dishes from their main menu.

Photo via thegoldenlamb/Facebook
Momo Ghar
Multiple locations including 59 Spruce St., Columbus, (614) 463-9664; 1265 Morse Road, Columbus, (614) 749-2901
Nestled in two different Columbus food markets is a shop offering mouth-watering Nepalise cuisine.The family-owned and operated booth is well-known for their made-from-scratch momos, which are Himalayan dumplings that are filled with vegetables and/or meat, but they also offer a variety of other traditional Nepali dishes and drinks. The humble restaurant has seen national attention with a feature in Food & Wine and a visit from Guy Fieri for his Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives show. 
Photo via momogharohio/Facebook

Momo Ghar

Multiple locations including 59 Spruce St., Columbus, (614) 463-9664; 1265 Morse Road, Columbus, (614) 749-2901

Nestled in two different Columbus food markets is a shop offering mouth-watering Nepalise cuisine.The family-owned and operated booth is well-known for their made-from-scratch momos, which are Himalayan dumplings that are filled with vegetables and/or meat, but they also offer a variety of other traditional Nepali dishes and drinks. The humble restaurant has seen national attention with a feature in Food & Wine and a visit from Guy Fieri for his Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives show.

Photo via momogharohio/Facebook
Marion’s Piazza
Multiple locations including 711 Shroyer Road, Dayton, (937) 293-6991
In Dayton, Marion’s Piazza — which opened its first location in 1965 — is an institution. Over the years, the Glass family has stuck to their formula of cracker-like crust (aka Dayton-style pizza), canned sauce, vegetables and bagged cheeses. Yet despite the lack of some fresh ingredients, their pizzas taste damn good. You can even order the crust extra crispy or, god forbid, less crispy. A 9-inch pizza (most cost around $8) is a personal size and can be eaten in one sitting — no shame there. Besides pizza, they also offer subs, pasta and dinner salads (for only $2.49). You don’t have to visit Dayton to get Marion’s, as they thankfully have a location in Mason. Dine-in or get pizza to go.
Photo via marions.piazza/Facebook

Marion’s Piazza

Multiple locations including 711 Shroyer Road, Dayton, (937) 293-6991

In Dayton, Marion’s Piazza — which opened its first location in 1965 — is an institution. Over the years, the Glass family has stuck to their formula of cracker-like crust (aka Dayton-style pizza), canned sauce, vegetables and bagged cheeses. Yet despite the lack of some fresh ingredients, their pizzas taste damn good. You can even order the crust extra crispy or, god forbid, less crispy. A 9-inch pizza (most cost around $8) is a personal size and can be eaten in one sitting — no shame there. Besides pizza, they also offer subs, pasta and dinner salads (for only $2.49). You don’t have to visit Dayton to get Marion’s, as they thankfully have a location in Mason. Dine-in or get pizza to go.

Photo via marions.piazza/Facebook
Chalet in the Valley
5060 OH-557, Millersburg, (330) 893-2550
One of the must-visit destinations in Amish Country, the Chalet is run by the Guggisberg Cheese family. This cute and only moderately kitschy Swiss/Austrian restaurant dishes up crispy veal and pork schnitzel, bratwurst and sauerkraut platters and gently bubbling pots of fondue, all warmly served by dirndl-clad servers. 
Photo via Chalet in the Valley/Facebook

Chalet in the Valley

5060 OH-557, Millersburg, (330) 893-2550

One of the must-visit destinations in Amish Country, the Chalet is run by the Guggisberg Cheese family. This cute and only moderately kitschy Swiss/Austrian restaurant dishes up crispy veal and pork schnitzel, bratwurst and sauerkraut platters and gently bubbling pots of fondue, all warmly served by dirndl-clad servers.

Photo via Chalet in the Valley/Facebook
The Wildflower Cafe
207 E. Main St., Mason, (513) 492-7514
With local farm-raised, grass-fed beef and an extensive wine list that features products from Cincinnati-area vineyards, Wildflower is dedicated to producing the freshest and best-quality food at an honest price. Foods are local, sustainable and seasonable to offer peak freshness.
Photo via wildflowercafe/Facebook

The Wildflower Cafe

207 E. Main St., Mason, (513) 492-7514

With local farm-raised, grass-fed beef and an extensive wine list that features products from Cincinnati-area vineyards, Wildflower is dedicated to producing the freshest and best-quality food at an honest price. Foods are local, sustainable and seasonable to offer peak freshness.

Photo via wildflowercafe/Facebook
Mama DiSalvo’s Italian Ristorante
1375 E. Stroop Road, Kettering, (937) 299-5831
Mama DiSavlo's ain't fancy, it's Italian — or, as someone from Dayton might say, "eye-talian." Expect big portions of pasta. Classics like homemade cheese ravioli, eggplant parmigiano and manicotti al forno — come with salad and bread. The menu also offers chicken, veal and seafood. Oh! And pizza. Their classic “red sauce” Italian is made with Mama’s recipes from the Abruzzi Molise region of Italy. 
Photo via mamadisalvos/Facebook

Mama DiSalvo’s Italian Ristorante

1375 E. Stroop Road, Kettering, (937) 299-5831

Mama DiSavlo's ain't fancy, it's Italian — or, as someone from Dayton might say, "eye-talian." Expect big portions of pasta. Classics like homemade cheese ravioli, eggplant parmigiano and manicotti al forno — come with salad and bread. The menu also offers chicken, veal and seafood. Oh! And pizza. Their classic “red sauce” Italian is made with Mama’s recipes from the Abruzzi Molise region of Italy.

Photo via mamadisalvos/Facebook
Skyline Chili
Multiple locations including 5476 Glenway Ave., Cincinnati, (513) 451-3355; 254 E. Fourth St., Cincinnati, (513) 241-4848; 2711 Water Park Drive, Cincinnati, (514) 336-7009
Skyline is a chain of chili parlors founded by Greek immigrants in Cincinnati in 1949. The Cincinnati-style chili is poured over spaghetti or hot dogs and there are also compatible items like chili burritos, fries and baked potatoes. It’s a Cincinnati staple, though many would say it’s an acquired taste.
Photo via skylinechili/Facebook

Skyline Chili

Multiple locations including 5476 Glenway Ave., Cincinnati, (513) 451-3355; 254 E. Fourth St., Cincinnati, (513) 241-4848; 2711 Water Park Drive, Cincinnati, (514) 336-7009

Skyline is a chain of chili parlors founded by Greek immigrants in Cincinnati in 1949. The Cincinnati-style chili is poured over spaghetti or hot dogs and there are also compatible items like chili burritos, fries and baked potatoes. It’s a Cincinnati staple, though many would say it’s an acquired taste.

Photo via skylinechili/Facebook
The Village Pump
103 W Lakeshore Dr., Kelleys Island, (419) 746-2281
Kelley’s Island is the perfect spot to hit up for a quick weekend getaway and Village Pump is the place to eat there. Famous for their Lake Erie Perch and lobster chowder, both dishes are must-orders at this seafood restaurant. Don’t forget to try the famous Brandy Alexander, a mixture of nutmeg, brandy, creme de cocoa and vanilla ice cream. 
Photo via nachoavgnachos/Instagram

The Village Pump

103 W Lakeshore Dr., Kelleys Island, (419) 746-2281

Kelley’s Island is the perfect spot to hit up for a quick weekend getaway and Village Pump is the place to eat there. Famous for their Lake Erie Perch and lobster chowder, both dishes are must-orders at this seafood restaurant. Don’t forget to try the famous Brandy Alexander, a mixture of nutmeg, brandy, creme de cocoa and vanilla ice cream.

Photo via nachoavgnachos/Instagram