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May 10, 2011 03:23 AM

Mansfield, Ohio

I just moved to the Mansfield area, and am deeply entrenched in a major chain restaurant warzone. I looked at a handful of recommendations on here from a year+ ago, and it seems a number of them are gone now. Are there any gems still around the Mansfield-Shelby-Ashland-Lexington area worth a trip?

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  1. Oh my. I grew up in Mansfield and still visit once every couple of months or so as I have some family there still. The news is not good.

    A couple of hearty recommendations I can make for you:

    Leaning Tower of Pizza still makes fantastic pizza and subs. Yes, even the basic sub is very, very good. I regularly drive the 1.5 hours down just to pick up and take out. Definitely order when you get there and hang around inside the tiny shop to soak up the vibe and look at all the posters. Not only near and dear to my heart, they have really great food and still very reasonably priced. My sister worked here when I was a kid.


    When she was young, my Mother worked at another fantastic and unique joint, Porky's Drive in out on Route 42. I regularly drive down here as well. They still hand form the burgers and make the root beer in house, and will car hop if you want that service, though the 50s style interior and the smell from the fresh cut fries (shoestring style) is worth going inside for.


    Honestly if I had to live there again, I would largely subsist on food from both places.

    The Mansfield Restaurant used to do a decent breakfast but I can't attest to it as I haven't been there in years. The original, tiny, dive-y location over by Malabar school is the best one:
    I don't think they have a website, but here's the info:
    Mansfield Restaurant, Southside, 948 S. Main St. (Located on the southwest corner of S. Main St. and W. cook Rd.), 1 419-756-0479, [38]. Hours are M-Sa 5:30AM-8:30PM and Su 6:30AM-2:30PM

    Dairyland on Springmill is fun for a hot dog and shake in the summer: Dairy Land, 800 Springmill St., +1 419-525-2168

    You could also try Rocky's pub but I'm not sure how good the food is anymore:

    6 Replies
    1. re: rockandroller1

      My cousin lives in Mansfield and I visit a few times a year, and you're right, it's pretty bleak. Go everywhere with low expectations and that helps.... OK, here are some ideas and thoughts in no particular order:

      You might check out Sweeney's American Bistro on Lexington Avenue. Back in the day, this was a good place to go, and now it looks like it's trying to go a little more casual and probably attract more customers. Might be worth trying. The food on their website looks great.

      Rocky's Pub downtown on the square....yeah, used to be good, but can't speak for it lately, but give it a shot and see what you think.

      Some people like the Coney Island Diners downtown on and off the square.

      We tried the Greek restaurant downtown, and even though it's been there for decades and decades, we found the food not-so-good and haven't been back.

      There are a number of Chinese and Mexican restaurants around town, and I think they are all pretty decent. None stand out in my mind as downright bad.

      I'm not much on chains as a general rule, but you're right, Mansfield is rife with them, but one of them is pretty decent as chains go, and that's Cheddar's. Food and drinks are always passable here.

      Another place that went in down the street from Cheddar's where the TGI Friday's was is a place called Johnny Biggs. Don't know much about it, but they do have a website. Think we'll check it out on my next visit there this summer.

      Oh yeah, there's a restaurant called Buck's Bar and Grill at Lexington, OH, if you're up for a "racing drive". Have also heard there's a couple good places at Bellville and Mount Vernon, but I can't speak currently to that. You might look in the phonebook, hit up the internet, or just hit the road and do some exploring in the outlying environs...

      I opened this up again to add some more ideas that came to mind: have been at all these in the distant past, so they might be worth your while for checking out again:

      Skyway East - upscale fine dining - here's their website http://www.theskywayeast.com/

      The Cabin at Ashland OH (halfway between Mansfield and Ashland) - very good as I recall:

      Mifflin Inn at Mifflin, Oh (Ashland): no website, but you can find reviews and directions. Good old-fashioned food (perch, meatloaf, steaks, fried chicken, etc.) with a bar on the other side.

      Well, hope this helps, but eating out can be challenging if you're in Mansfield, OH....Ha! Good luck with your endeavors :


      Rocky's Pub
      22 Park St S, Mansfield, OH 44902

      Coney Island Diner
      98 N Main St, Mansfield, OH 44902

      Bar and Grill
      24204 W Lockport St, Plainfield, IL 60544

      1. re: Christine

        I can't believe Skyway East is still open. Yes, that used to be the upscale place to go, though I'm sure much of the food arrives frozen. Worth a try. It's the type of place the kids go for prom or what have you (I know I did).

        The Athens downtown is horrible, agreed, and the only Coney that was ever any good was the one on park ave, not the one on the square, but now that Jack is gone, so is all the character. Hopefully they still make the coneys the way they used to - if so, that's worth a go.

        The only good Chinese I recall was the Jong Me on the square and they closed long ago. Some people like the Chinatown place out on 42 but I never thought much of it. YMMV.

        Skyway East
        2461 Emma Ln, Mansfield, OH 44903

        1. re: rockandroller1

          I think The Cabin at Ashland would be more of a go-to place now instead of Skyway East. The one and only time we ate at Skyway it was pretty expensive and stuffy and not that memorable...I'm like you, I can't believe it's still in business.

          Coincidentally, my cousin lives right down the street from Chinatown on 42 (Ashland Road). Sometimes convenient and easy trumps quality - ha!

          Skyway East
          2461 Emma Ln, Mansfield, OH 44903

          1. re: Christine

            oh totally agree. My aunt always went there because it was very close to her as well. We only lived about a 5 minute drive from the Jong Me so that's probably why we developed a taste for it. I think it does depend on where you live, because my aunt that lived out that way also liked Deschner's pizza, and I could never see the appeal. But then again, I grew up 5 mins from Leaning Tower, so it might be what's close to you is what you grow to love.

            1. re: Christine

              Yup, definitely. The Cabin is THE place for good food in the Mansfield area. And while it's technically in Ashland, it's actually very close and convenient to Mansfield (less than ten minutes from the intersection of I-71 and US-30).

              1. re: nsxtasy

                xtasy, have you been to Sweeney's American Bistro on Lexington Avenue since they revamped? they used to be called Sweeney's II, I believe. Anyway, their online menu looks good. Just wondered if anyone who lives in the area has been there recently?

      2. I've been curious about Lexington's Paul Revere Familty Restaurant, as I'd like a non-chain place to go for breakfast whenever I head to Cleveland from Dayton. Anyone been?

        1 Reply
        1. re: Fibber McGee

          No, unbelievably, it's one of the places we haven't tried in my 20+ years of going back there to visit and then picking out a place to eat....Have seen it in the phonebook many times, but unfortunately, I can't give an opinion on it. Wish I could, though. :-)

          You need to check it out on one of your cross-state trips and report back. I always want to say "The British are coming, the British are coming" when I think of Paul Revere's restaurant!

        2. if you are willing to travel to Wooster, I like South Market Bistro and Broken Rocks Cafe'. In Medina, I like Thyme the Restaurant.

          The Cabin is hit or miss for me, more often hit but sometimes I'm disappointed. Oak Park for just a classic prime rib.

          I like Doc's near the hospital for a sandwich.

          The Japanese steak house is decent. I only eat the hibachi grill but there are often many eating there. - Wokano.

          South Market Bistro
          151 S Market St, Wooster, OH 44691

          2067 W 4th St, Mansfield, OH 44906

          6 Replies
          1. re: heidikay

            I've been to Oak Park Tavern and I was disappointed. If you're looking for a pleasant place to have a beer on an outdoor patio, it's fine. But if you're looking for really good food, not so much.

            1. re: nsxtasy

              I agree with this. But I think it is one of the better options close to Mansfield if you don't want to travel for something better. I live in the area and there just aren't a lot of choices for really good food.

            2. re: heidikay

              The Jaol on Walnut street in Wooster is good and Bobs BBQ almost across from South Market Bistro does decent Q, especially for Ohio. The Tulipan bakery beside Bobs BBQ is an excellent place for dessert or just a cup of coffee in a 1920s setting.



              Wild Ginger on the north side of Wooster can be hit or miss, but when its a hit it can be very good.

              Matsos isn't fine dining but it is good Greek food in an interesting location.


              South Market Bistro
              151 S Market St, Wooster, OH 44691

              1. re: Kelli2006

                If you're willing to go to Wooster, I'd also recommend the Wooster Inn. It's a very elegant restaurant with creative American food. Much of the staff consists of students from the local college who are learning the restaurant business, and their eagerness and friendliness more than offset any lack of experience. I've eaten there several times and always enjoyed it. www.thewoosterinn.com

                The Wooster Inn
                801 East Wayne Avenue, Wooster, OH 44691

                1. re: nsxtasy

                  I agree, Many people think that because of its affiliation with COW that the Wooster Inn is only open during the college year or is it only open to parents of students and other college guests.

                  The Wooster Inn
                  801 East Wayne Avenue, Wooster, OH 44691

                  1. re: Kelli2006

                    Yes, good point - it's indeed open to the public. I have no affiliation with COW (which is the College of Wooster, for those not familiar with it).