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May 7, 2013 06:37 AM

Midwest Foodie Road Trip

Hello all,

My wife and I are thinking of doing a foodie roadtrip around the Midwest during the 4th of july weekend (4 days total).

We’ll be starting off in Ann Arbor, Michigan and were thinking of just driving and going to different cities we haven’t been to and eating the famous foods there, pretty much making a big circle.

Location Ideas would be like Michigan -> Cleveland -> Pittsburgh -> Charleston -> Louisville -> Indianapolis and back to Ann Arbor

Or we could go the other direction and do Michigan -> Chicago -> Milwaukee/Madison -> St. Louis -> Indianpolis and back.

Thoughts? Really I’m just naming off big cities so if anybody has any recommendations for itineraries and "must eats" please feel free to chime in.


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  1. ... or, for either option, Cincinnati and Columbus for Skyline Chili, Jeni's ice cream, and some good high-end restaurants in both towns?

    I was only in St. Louis once, a few years ago, but it had some very restaurant-heavy neighborhoods (S. Grand Ave., I think it was), and a terrific 200-year-old farm market, the Soulard Market.

    8 Replies
    1. re: Jim M

      That's probably a better idea to go through Columbus since I've been to Indy a bunch of times already. Thanks!

      1. re: Sky_21

        YES to Jeni's Ice Cream! Be sure to sample EVERYTHING. They love to hand out samples... and it's well worth the stop :)

      2. re: Jim M

        There is a lot of good chowhounding centered around Akron, Ohio. Swenson's, Al's Hungarian (Barberton), Taggart's (Canton) Babushka's Kitchen.
        The last is located a few miles from the Cuyahoga Valley National Park--with some lovely & accessible sites and activities. You can eat, take a hike, then eat some more.

        1. re: trapani

          That may be, but from my recollection, there's practically *no place* to eat breakfast in Akron. I mean, no joke: I think we had to drive half an hour to find a stinking *Denny's*, or something akin to it. I'm not even joking here: it was ridiculous trying to find a place open for breakfast in Akron.

          1. re: boagman

            For breakfast I like the food at Sweet Pea Cafe in Fairlawn, but service can be slow. They are bfast/lunch only. I like their quiches and pancakes. Or did you want something in Akron proper?

            1. re: jroach

              It really isn't that big of a deal...I was simply telling of my own experience. That being said, if ever I'm in Akron again, I'll be sure to find this thread! I'll take your suggestion to heart!

            2. re: boagman

              Incredible breakfasts at The Blue Door Cafe & Bakery in Cuyahoga Falls. Fabulous in-house made baked goods, granola; fine locally-raised eggs & bacon.

          2. re: Jim M

            Want to add Graeter's Ice Cream in Cincinnati too? also got good mention from Oprah. Jeni's is great especially for the gourmet/unique ingredients

          3. come to Louisville.. we have some great restaurants and lots to do here....we have great farmers markets, and 3 great food areas (Bardstown Rd., Frankfort Ave, and E. Market St.)

            3 Replies
            1. re: LouisvilleFoodie

              What would be your top choice for a restaurant?

              1. re: Sky_21

                In Louisville? Jack Fry's.

                Note, though, that discussions about Louisville can be found in the Kentucky & Tennessee forum.

                Each of the cities mentioned has lots of great places to eat. Chicago has more of everything from fine dining to casual eats to ethnic fare, and local specialties like deep-dish pizza and Italian beef sandwiches. If you haven't been there, that's where I recommend spending the most time. (The Chicago Area has its own forum here on Chowhound.)

                1. re: Sky_21

                  In Louisville, get yourself a piece of culinary history (and real good eats too) - the original hot brown at the Camberley Brown Hotel


                  If for whatever reason you find yourself in Cincinnati, and mind you this selection is visible from the freeway exit, get yourself to Camp Washington Chili where you can sample top notch examples of all three of Cincinnati's main claims to culinary fame - cincinnati style chili, goetta, and double decker sandwiches:

              2. My favorite only in Milwaukee restaurants are McBob's Tavern for the Friday fish fry and Three Brother's Restaurant for great Serbian. I personally recommend the half roast goose and the burek.

                1 Reply
                1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                  McBob's also has fantastic corned beef hash too. Three Brothers (cash only) is also destination worthy. Besides the bureks, I really liked their serbian sausages with cabbage and serbian salad.

                  I'd also recommend Kopp's custard and Glorioso's Italian Market. I'd recommend splitting a dish of one of Kopp's daily custard flavors(and a burger if you're hungry). At Glorioso's you could get some of their interesting pantry items for souvenirs - like canned seafood, dried pasta, olive oil, wine. Glorioso's has good sandwiches and premade lasagna rolls and rice balls. They sell Italian cookies there too but Peter Sciortino's Bakery is 1 block away and has a much bigger selection.

                  Pacific Produce is a huge huge asian grocery store on the south side - also a fun place to look around. They sell a cheap Bahn mi. Leon's frozen custard is also around there.

                  We just moved from Milwaukee to Madison about a month ago and those are the things I miss already.

                2. I live just outside of Milwaukee, but would suggest Louisville as a destination. I used to live there and think it is a more interesting city if you have a limited time. If you can extend your stay, Milwaukee cannot be beat.

                  1. What about doing the drive around Lake Michigan? Not all interesting food is in the cities (pasties in the UP, fish boils in Door County, WI; the famous fudge on Mackinac Island). You also could work in the traditional pizza or a dog in Chicago and a brat or fish fry in Milwaukee. It's a very scenic drive, too.