Tag Archives: restaurant

Mile 180 – Theo’s Restaurant, Cambridge, Ohio

Theos ResizeIt seems that when a restaurant advertises the fact that it’s been around for decades, said establishment often sticks to decor associated with a set time period in American history. But that doesn’t appear to be the case with Theo’s Restaurant in downtown Cambridge.

Theo’s traces its history to 1931 when it opened as a Coney Island-style hot dog establishment, says the restaurant’s website. Since then, the place has passed down though several generations of owners, all related to varying degrees. After a fire in the 1980s, the restaurant was rebuilt, retaining the “Coney Island Lunch” name (which explains the more modern decor in the restaurant). It wasn’t until the early 1990s that the restaurant was renamed “Theo’s.”

The bar area of one of the dining rooms.

The bar area of one of the dining rooms.

Remnants of the eatery’s original purpose still survive, such as a Coney Island hot dog menu in the far dining room. The restaurant also has retained the locally-famous Coney Island dogs on its menu.

I was able to stop in for lunch on a recent trip to Indiana, and I was thoroughly impressed. The interior is large, and divided into two distinct dining rooms, one of which contains a bar. I had the “moist and sassy” version of the grilled chicken breast sandwich (I tend to be a sucker for menu items that are given a weird name). This version of the sandwich features the chicken marinated in a wine, olive oil, lemon and spice blend, which honestly was one of the best marinades I’ve ever had – not too sweet, not dripping wet and not hot. The grand total for my sandwich, fries and drink was under $7.

The "moist and sassy" version of the chicken sandwich.

The “moist and sassy” version of the chicken sandwich.

Theo’s seemed really down-to-earth, despite the fairly modern decor. The staff was all very friendly and made sure everything was satisfactory. The other thing I really liked was the variety on the menu. This isn’t just an average sandwich and fries place. For example, one of the specials the day I visited was halushki – a Hungarian entree based on soft noodles and cabbage. The Theo’s recipe included ham.

Theo’s is located at 632 Wheeling Ave., right in downtown Cambridge along U.S. 40.  It is open Monday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Daily specials and the regular menu are updated on the restaurant’s website. Parking is available on both sides of Wheeling Avenue in Cambridge, and is free for two hours – plenty of time to eat. Theo’s can be reached at 740-432-3878.

A page of the menu.

A page of the menu.

The main dining room.

The main dining room.

Theo's Restaurant on Urbanspoon


Mile 132 – Coleman’s Fish Market, Wheeling, W.Va.

One of the outside entrances to Coleman’s in Wheeling’s Centre Market.

Before I set out for Wheeling, I asked my friends knowledgeable about the Northern Panhandle (one being Wellsburg, W.Va., native and Morgantown food blogger Candace Nelson), “Where should I go for a taste of Wheeling?” The two responses that kept coming up: Coleman’s Fish Market and DiCarlo’s Pizza. Both seem to be honored eateries for the Wheeling area, and both have a long history in the region.

I started with Coleman’s, which is tucked into the revitalized Centre Market district of Wheeling, just a few blocks from the National Road. To me, what makes this 98-year-old establishment really unique is that the name describes exactly what the business is: a fish market that also serves great seafood.

One of the seafood cases at Coleman’s.

There are two ends to Coleman’s: the restaurant part, where you wait in line to order and receive prepared food, and the fish market, which sells a huge variety of fresh, raw seafood. The “traditional” menu item is Coleman’s fish sandwich, which is  several strips of fish put between two slices of white bread. There’s also a version which has a sauce over the fish, but I stuck with the regular sandwich and Coleman’s thick seasoned fries, both of which lived up to my high expectations (since I only had heard great comments).

After the food order is finished,  tables are outside Coleman’s door in Centre Market in a larger, open seating area. When I visited on a Friday evening, both the fish market and restaurant weren’t packed, but definitely had a steady stream of customers. Coleman’s is featured on Roadfood, which provides some other great meal ideas and a little history.

Coleman’s fish sandwich and seasoned fries.

Coleman’s had its start in 1914 by John Coleman, and has remained in the family throughout its history. As far as I know, it has remained in Centre Market for its entire existence. Centre Market is an attraction in itself, with the oldest section dating to 1853.

Coleman’s is open Monday and Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Wednesday, Thursday ad Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. (perhaps to help cater to Wheeling’s Catholic population during Lent?). It is closed Sunday.

To get to Coleman’s from U.S. 40, follow Main Street south through downtown and across Wheeling Creek. Make a left on 22nd Street until it intersects with Market Street. Parking is available on streets surrounding Centre Market. To reach Coleman’s, call 304-232-8510.

The oft-photographed sign above the indoor entrance to Coleman’s.

Coleman's Fish Market on Urbanspoon


Mile 55 – The Stone House Restaurant and Inn, Farmington, Pa.

The Stone House Restaurant and Inn, Farmington, Pa.

The Stone House Restaurant and Inn is one of the remaining taverns and inns along the National Road that serves the same purpose for which it was originally built, in some ways like the Casselman Inn in Maryland – at least in function. However, although it’s been occupied consistently, it hasn’t always been open to the public, and has served as a private residence in the past. Originally, The Stone House was known as the Fayette Springs Hotel, and served more as a destination, banking on the local natural springs nearby, rather than a pit-stop (although it did cater to through travelers as well). After being closed to the public from 1909 to 1963, the restaurant re-opened under the ownership of Fanny Ross. Ms. Ross sold the building to Fred Zeigler III, who renovated the building to how it looks today.

The tavern section of The Stone House.

Today, The Stone House still presents itself as a place to stay for visitors to the entire Laurel Highlands region, and also has significant reservable banquet space. The entire facility is broken into three parts: inn, which features rooms that combine 19th Century decor with modern amenities; restaurant and tavern. The restaurant and tavern are tied together, and served by the same kitchen. The Stone House concentrates more on dinner: food is served Monday through Friday from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., and from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The tavern stays open later.

A view from the front of the tavern section at The Stone House.

The entire facility has a classy feel to it. The banquet areas and dining rooms are more of a fine dining atmosphere, while the tavern section reminded me that I was in western Pennsylvania – from the Yuengling and Steelers decorations to the deer head mounted on the wall.

The "River Monster" at The Stone House.

On the Sunday I visited for lunch, the tavern was the open dining area. I had the “River Monster,” an 8 oz. fish filet beer battered with Yuengling. Homemade potato chips come with each sandwich. The actual entree was pretty large, with lettuce, tomato and onions piled on the fish, and tarter sauce on the side. Everything I had had a strong flavor, and tended to be more on the salty side -especially the potato chips, which looked and tasted to me like they were seasoned with sea salt.

The Stone House is located at 3023 National Pike, Farmington, Pa. (although it has a Farmington address, it’s just outside of the village of Chalk Hill. Take out is available, and the restaurant can be reached at 1-800-274-7138, or 724-329-8876. The menuis available online. Expect to pay around $10 for lunch and $15-20 for dinner – drinks not included.

The Stone House Restaurant, built in 1822, has served as an inn, restaurant, tavern and private residence during its existence.

Stone House on Urbanspoon


Mile 11 – Princess Restaurant, Frostburg, Md.

The Princess Restaurant in Frostburg, Md.

Tucked neatly into the row of shops, bars and restaurants that line Main Street in Frostburg is the Princess Restaurant, one of the city’s oldest continually-operating dining establishments. In 1939, George Pappas, Sr., opened the Princess as a confectionery and luncheonette, and by the 1940s, the business evolved into the restaurant that it is today. The restaurant has been in continuous ownership of three generations of the Pappas family. Keep in mind that this restaurant has existed before, during and after the construction of the interstates, and until I-68 was built late in the 20th Century, the Princess Restaurant was on the main highway.

The plaque at "Truman's Booth."

The inside of the restaurant arguably looks and feels like a diner from the 1950s or 60s. Small booths line one wall of the main room, while a bar-type set-up occupies the other side. A more modern dining room also exists next to the older one. At each booth, a old-style jukebox is at the end of each table. Although most have “out of order” signs, it appears that some may still work. And, an additional novelty of the Princess is a booth in which former President Harry Truman and his wife, Bess, dined on Fathers Day 1953.

As for the food, the Princess is exceptional, quite possibly due to over 70 years of refinement. The restaurant has breakfast, lunch and dinner items. The list of 40-plus different types of sandwiches alone out-preforms many chain restaurants. For dinner, patrons can choose from a wide selection, from steak to pasta dishes to seafood to chicken.

"Broiled Cod Loin with Crab Meat," Princess Restaurant.

I ordered the broiled cod with crab meat, plated with fries and corn. In case the name doesn’t make it evident, my dinner was just a cod filet surrounded by seasoned crab meat and covered in butter and garlic and then broiled. The entire dinner was cooked perfectly and thorough. I also liked the portion size at the Princess. In my opinion, a lot of the larger chain restaurants tend to serve huge portions (with a higher price tag!), but at the Princess, massive portions seem to not be the case, which I think is great. In no way was I left hungry or wanting to eat later, but I also didn’t have the “I ate too much that I can’t move” feeling.

Being from Allegany County, I almost feel ashamed saying that this was the first time I had ever been to the Princess. And after having visited, I think I’ve been missing out on great, more-than-reasonably-priced food! On a larger note, my visit also reminded me of the point of this blog – to find places like the Princess that remain independent and unique along U.S. 40. Like I said, this was the first time I had been to the Princess, but I also remember the dozens of times I have eaten at chain restaurants in Allegany County, all the while missing out on good, local food.

The interior of the Princess Restaurant.

The Princess Restaurant is located at 12 W. Main St., Frostburg. Hours: Monday through Saturday, 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.; closed Sunday. Phone: 301-689-1680; Fax: 301-689-9029. Take-out is available.

Princess Restaurant on Urbanspoon


Mile 6 – D’Atri Restaurant, LaVale, Md.

D'Atri Restaurant, LaVale, Md.

D’Atri Restaurant in LaVale, Md. has been a locally-renowned eatery for years. In the 1970s, Robert D’Atri opened a small takeout/delivery operation on Columbia Street in Cumberland, and about a decade ago, the family opened a larger restaurant on National Highway (ALT-U.S.-40 in LaVale). The restaurant is immensely popular in the Cumberland/LaVale area, notably for both its pasta and subs. Both restaurants have continued to operate within the family, and in the past year or so, the family opened Patrick’s Pub in South Cumberland, further expanding their culinary influence in the area.

Like I said, D’Atri, (or D’Atri’s, locally) is known for its pasta and subs. On my most recent visit to the LaVale location, I ordered a “small” steak sub. Small – by D’Atri standards – is seven inches, and each bite is worth the price ($6-$7). Each sub with lettuce features D’Atri’s signature seasoned lettuce, which gives the sandwich an more Italian-like flavor.

A steak and cheese sub at D'Atri's in LaVale, Md.

Portions at D’Atri’s are generous, to say the least, especially when it comes to subs and pasta. The atmosphere is not unlike other smaller, locally-owned restaurants around the country, and for locals, D’Atri’s is an establishment which comes with a high probability of running into someone you know.

D’Atri’s is open every day for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Takeout is also available by calling 301-729-2774. The restaurant is located at 1118 National Highway in LaVale, near the intersection with Campground Road (which is the general division line between the residential and commercial halves of LaVale.

D'atri's Restaurant on Urbanspoon