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Posts Tagged ‘Ohio’

by Caitlin Saniga

Apple hand pie with rosemary caramel

Each hand pie comes individually boxed, like a delicious little present.

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by Caitlin Saniga

We served a couple of huge trays of Al’s chicken paprikash at my sister Holly’s graduation party a few years ago. The food was a fan favorite among guests and is widely popular at the restaurant. Gourmet magazine wrote an article about the restaurant and related meat market in 2007.

I visited the restaurant the day Barberton was holding its annual Christmas lighting festival and parade. The place was packed with families trying to warm up with a hearty meal, but the service was fast-paced and friendly. Beth even made time to catch up with me and Mom. How do you like her festive, pink camo reindeer antlers?

I visited: Al’s Corner Restaurant, a lunch-only Hungarian restaurant open since 1932 in Barberton, Ohio, that serves stuffed cabbage rolls, pierogies, sausage, halushka, strudels, beer bread and, of course, chicken paprikash. Its sister business is Al’s Quality Market, which cranks out Hungarian, Slovenian and other sausages, as well as hams, smoked bacon, headcheese and more. My mom’s cousin Denny Gray and his wife, Beth, own and operate  both businesses.

Chicken paprikash also comes with a slice of bread and butter. My mom ordered stuffed cabbage (seen on the back plate) on our trip to Al's.

Chicken paprikash also comes with a slice of bread and butter. My mom ordered stuffed cabbage (seen on the back plate) on our trip to Al’s.

I tried: Chicken paprikash with dumplings. I had a choice of white, dark or mixed meat, so I chose white, which included a bone-in breast, wing and drumstick.

Why it stood out: Everything I’ve tried at Al’s has been spot-on. But I love that you can make a meal out of this plate of chicken paprikash. Like I mentioned, each serving includes several pieces of your choice of chicken meat, plus a number of golf ball-size dumplings drenched in a creamy paprika sauce.

It cost: $6

Al's is set up sort of like a cafeteria. Food is ordered from a display case of steaming hot trays, and diners sit at booths or a central horseshoe of barstools.

Al’s is set up sort of like a cafeteria. Food is ordered from a display case of steaming hot trays, and diners sit at booths or a central horseshoe of bar stools.

Find out more:

Al’s Corner Restaurant
545 West Tuscarawas Ave.
Barberton, OH 44203
330-475-7978
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Al’s Quality Market
563 West Tuscarawas Ave.
Barberton, OH 44203
330-753-7216

*$6 Snacks is a recurring feature that reviews an area eatery’s snack — for $6 or less. Look at a map of the places we’ve tried. Help our map grow by submitting your own review. Find out how!

Al's Corner Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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That’s me on the left, about 17 years old, behind the counter at Caffessimo with my friend and co-worker Melissa. Some days, I ran the whole cafe by myself, preparing food and drinks, manning the cash register and closing up shop at the end of the night. On Saturdays, when the cafe was usually busier, I’d often work with someone else. Those days were my favorite.

I got a job at Caffessimo when I was a junior in high school. I’d go in after school and wait behind the counter, prepared to make mochas, milkshakes, Greek salads, reuben paninis and a ton of other menu items. All of the sandwiches on the menu came with a pickle and choice of slaw, potato salad or crunchy kettle chips, my favorite combination being a pickle and chips.

I credit this job with teaching me how to keep a clean kitchen workspace and for introducing me to lots of kitchen equipment, including an espresso machine, industrial dishwasher, panini press, milkshake maker and soup warmer.

And as this was my first time I had a consistent paycheck (I’d babysat before.), it was the first time I had real money to spend. My purchases? Five pairs of American Eagle jeans, my first cellphone and gas.

See a map of Caitlin’s and Sarah’s postcards to each other.

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by Caitlin Saniga

I’ve been ordering this burger my whole life. It’s Swensons traditional hamburger with mustard and pickles only. I usually order broken onion rings (little bites that are super crispy!) and a California drink (grape soda mixed with lemon-lime soda and crushed ice) to go with it.

At Swensons, you pull into a parking spot near the building and turn your car’s headlights on for service. Servers run up to the driver-side window and take your order. When the food’s ready, they bring it out on a metal tray that clamps to the car’s window.

I visited: Swensons, a northeast Ohio chain of drive-ins that’s been around since 1934 and specializes in burgers and milkshakes. Lots of people know Swensons for their signature Galley Boy sandwich, a double cheeseburger with homemade barbecue and tartar sauces. And the milkshakes are out of this world. Insider’s tip: There are 18 milkshake flavors on the menu, and any of them can be combined in one drink. Some of my favorites: Mint, peanut butter and jelly, and blueberry-pomegranate.

I tried: The hamburg (That’s what the menu calls ’em!) with mustard and pickles. It comes served on a buttered and toasted bun.

Why it stood out: The burgers at Swensons have a distinctly sweet taste to them. Over the years, I’ve heard rumors that the burgers have maple syrup, grape or raspberry jelly or brown sugar mixed into them. I’ve known more than five people who’ve worked as servers at Swensons, and none of them seem to know the secret ingredient. The mystery is half the fun.

It cost: $1.80

Swensons has a special spot in my heart. I’ve eaten there for a number of occasions, including once for a homecoming dinner date. I no doubt ordered a hamburger with mustard and pickles plus a California on this trip, too.

Find out more: Swensons has seven drive-ins scattered around Northeast Ohio. The one I most often visit is the Montrose location.
www.swensonsdriveins.com

*$6 Snacks is a recurring feature that reviews an area eatery’s snack — for $6 or less. Look at a map of the places we’ve tried. Help our map grow by submitting your own review. Find out how!

Swenson's (Akron) on Urbanspoon

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