Of course you’ll get hungry as you’re taking a road trip across Ohio! If you’re delving into our state’s heritage on a Highway to History road trip, you can continue your education by stopping at a restaurant with historic digs. Try these five establishments, for starters!
The Buxton Inn | Granville
Granville’s Buxton Inn is a must-stop for any history buff. Open since 1812, the Inn and restaurant have been featured many times in books, blogs, and tours focused around ghosts and other spooky phenomena. You’ll have to verify their authenticity in person with a visit to this historic eatery located on the main strip in Granville. The Inn’s dining wing features a few different rooms, each with its own feel. The cozy and casual 1812 Lounge is great for cocktails, the Lincoln Room (named for one of its most famous visitors) features the original fireplace and woodwork, and the brick-floored Garden Room is flooded with natural light from the vaulted glass skylights. Sip Ohio microbrews in The Tavern downstairs, a room that once served as a stop on the Underground Railroad.
The Keep Kitchen & Liquor Bar | Columbus
When the American Insurance Union Citadel first opened in Columbus in 1927, it was the fifth tallest building in the world. Now known as the LeVeque Tower, this stunning example of art deco engineering remains an icon in the Columbus skyline. Recent renovations have converted the lower floors into the Hotel LeVeque and a full-service restaurant and cocktail bar: The Keep. Whether you’re stopping on your road trip for drinks, dinner, lunch, or even breakfast, you can admire the restored lobby, with its murals and elevators. Then head upstairs to enjoy the modern brasserie, built with gas lamps on the walls and an open kitchen in the center. Dinner leans heavily into seafood and Ohio-grown steaks, chicken, and lamb, while brunch gets creative with smoked salmon benedicts and brioche French toast.
Ye Olde Trail Tavern | Yellow Springs
In business since 1827, Ye Olde Trail Tavern enjoys a special place as Ohio’s oldest tavern. You can find it smack dab in the center of Yellow Springs on Xenia Avenue, surrounded by bookstores, coffee shops, and art galleries. True to its heritage as a tavern, Ye Olde Trail Tavern serves comforting pub fare. Take a rest from your road trip to enjoy sauerkraut balls, currywurst, reubens, falafel bites, and cheeseburgers from the largely German-themed menu. If it’s a nice day, grab on a seat on the spacious patio!
Amber Rose Restaurant | Dayton
The Amber Rose in Dayton inhabits a century-old structure that long served as a deli and general store, with the family living upstairs. After changing hands a couple times, the building opened as Amber Rose Restaurant in 1990, and has spent the past three decades serving Eastern European classics to hungry guests. It’s the ideal place to take in a little local history and fuel up on your road trip. Feast on potato pancakes to pierogi, Lithuanian cabbage rolls to Hungarian chicken paprikas, jager schnitzel to smoked pork chops. And don’t forget their signature turtle soup!
Guarino’s | Cleveland
Guarino’s is an institution that’s been a staple of Cleveland’s Little Italy neighborhood since 1918. The family-run eatery resides in the building where Vincenzo and Mary Guarino first lived when they immigrated from Sicily in 1898. The exterior neon sign, the lush interior, and the comfortable patios are still the place to gather for Old World Italian favorites. Enjoy the historic decorations and proud sense of heritage while you savor spaghetti and meatballs, chicken piccata, and lasagna (using a 50-year-old recipe!). Before you continue on your road trip, be sure to indulge in a cannoli or some tiramisu as well.