My (Friends’) Town Monday: Schmidt’s Sausage Haus in Columbus

The other day, my husband, daughter and I rode our Harleys up to visit some friends in Columbus, and had the chance to partake in some tasty history there at Schmidt’s Sausage Haus. Located in historic German Village, Schmidt’s is a well-known foodie landmark, thanks in part to the Travel Channel’s Man vs. Food. This is what led us there as well.

We arrived at Schmidt’s around 2PM, hoping such an off time would result in an easy in. We had a half hour wait for our party of five, so we went and checked out Schmidt’s Fudge Shop, across the street, where an integrated paging system would alert us to our table being ready. Once we were seated a half hour later, to the minute, we learned that a half hour wait time at any time on a Saturday was short. Our server told us the typical Saturday wait time, even at 2pm, was two hours!

DH and I pose in the photo frame stand outside the restaurant

However, once we were seated, the wait time was almost nothing. My husband, daughter, and both our friends chose the Autobahn Buffet, which featured four types of sausage, sauerkraut, chicken, potato salad, and tons of choices for traditional salads. The latter was especially appreciated by one of our friends who, in a twist of irony, is vegan. She’d insisted it was no problem to go to Schmidt’s, when we asked, as she’d figured she could get a side salad then something at home later, if need be. No worries – she found plenty to fill up on in the salad bar! Schmidt’s also has Mountain Dew, which is always a plus for me. 🙂

To my surprise, my meal arrived just a few minutes after the others had loaded up their plates at the buffet. I had the Hoffbrau Schnitzel, which was pork tenderloin with mushroom gravy. Yum! But the best part was dessert – our group minus my vegan friend split two of Schmidt’s legendary half-pound cream puffs, which were featured in coconut that day – my favorite! There were four impending food comas afterward, which we managed to shake off by going bowling. Good weather, good ride, good time, good friends, good food. Can’t ask for a better Saturday!

There are a couple other restaurants in Columbus that have been featured on Man vs. Food, which is one of my family’s favorite shows, so we plan to visit those in the future. Dayton has yet to be featured on a show like this. Has your hometown had any local eateries featured on a national TV show, and if so, have you been there?

My Town Monday: Dayton’s Oldest Building

Newcom TavernNewcom Tavern was not the very first structure built when settlers first traveled up the Great Miami from Cincinnati, but it was one of the first built shortly after, when Dayton was first settled in 1796. In addition to being the new town’s hotel, tavern and meeting place, Newcom’s Tavern was also the city’s first post office, church, general store, courtroom, and jail. The proprietor, George Newcom, served as Montgomery County’s first sheriff after Ohio gained statehood in 1803. Early defendants were held in a dry well as they awaited their hearing in court, until the town built a proper jail the following year.

Newcom Tavern - interiorNewcom’s Tavern originally stood at the corner of Main and Water Street (now Monument Avenue), near the river. In 1965 it was moved to Carillon Historical Park, where it stands today. It houses period furniture and exhibits including clothing and tools. The park hosts a Tavern Dinner a few times a year. Park personnel prepare historically accurate meals in the neighboring Morris House, then serve dinner in the Newcom Tavern. I’ve never been to one of these, but I hope to change that soon!

Do you know what the oldest building is in your town, and have you been inside? Please share!

More at the My Town Monday blog

My Town Monday: Unique Dining in Dayton

Dayton, Ohio is not the place to go for fine dining. Don’t get me wrong – we have four-star restaurants here (I think – LOL), but the vast majority of our local eateries are chains. Marion’s Piazza is no exception – it too, is a chain, but it’s a local chain, and one of the few food things unique to our area. As such, it’s one of my go-to places to take out-of-town visitors.
Marion’s is a thin crust pizza, but not what I’d call New York style – the crust is crispy. Its other distinction is one that a college friend from the Cleveland area immediately noticed, that until then, I had no idea was unusual (and maybe it isn’t, now). Because when I brought the pizza to our table, he looked at it with an utterly baffled expression. “It’s cut in squares.”
Me: “Um, yeah?”
My friend: “I’ve never seen a pizza cut in little, bitty squares.”
Me: “They don’t do that in Cleveland?”
My friend: “No!”
Must be a Dayton thing, because our other local pizza chain, Cassano’s, also does thin crust pizza cut in little, bitty squares.

Marion's SupremeFlavor-wise, Marion’s is like no other. There’s not a lot of sauce. While there are plenty of toppings, they’re not piled on. It’s not spicy – even the sausage is very mild. And that’s one of the best things about Marion’s. The sausage has a really good flavor, and it’s crumbled over the entire pizza – no big chunks. Many of my out-of-town friends I’ve brought to Marion’s insisted on making it a regular stop on subsequent visits, and one friend from Cincinnati even used to get a whole, large pizza to take home for later whenever she came up here. Marion’s pizza microwaves very well and tastes great, even though the crust is no longer crisp.
They have other stuff too, but I like the pizza so much I never order anything else. I usually get pepperoni, sausage and mushroom, although once in a while, I get ham and sauerkraut, which I thought sounded gross until a coworker gave me a piece to try. Awesome! Soft drinks are Pepsi products, a big plus for me (Mountain Dew!), but they also have Coke and Diet Coke. They have a great lunch special – half of a 9″ pizza with two ingredients, and a 24 oz. drink for $4.50.

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I can’t remember when I first ate a Marion’s pizza, but it was when I was a little kid. They’ve been around since 1965, according to their website, and their first location was at the corner of Shroyer and Patterson Rd. near the border of Dayton, Kettering, and Oakwood. By the eighties, they had seven locations, which are all still around. At the original location (and some of the others, I think) they have photos of famous people all over the walls. Most of these are performers who visited our area to perform with the Kenley Players, a now-defunct local theater group. Many of these people were from before my time, but I always recognized a few.
Marion’s doesn’t deliver – it’s mainly an eat-in place, although a lot of people call in and get stuff to go. All locations are spacious, good places for a large party or gathering. If you go, take cash – they don’t accept checks or credit/debit cards.
And my friend from Cleveland? He ate the pizza and loved it – and yes, he’s been back.

Read more at the My Town Monday blog

If you’re from the Dayton area – or have been there, and tried Marion’s – do you like it? If you’ve never been there, what are some of your favorite, unique hometown eateries?

Pizza photo via Wikipedia, Creative Commons license. Restaurant photo via Google Street View.