Friday, March 11, 2016

Stopping in at three Youngstown Favorites

Eating like a local:
Regional food specialties
-Exploring some old school stops in NE Ohio

Today we continue on with my series featuring the locally loved food spots found in America's Rust Belt towns. We head to Ohio where Youngstown has seen better days. It's in the same boat as many other once booming Midwest cities. Gary, Flint, and East St. Louis to name a few. Though none of them ever had the title of Bomb Town, USA given to them. A nickname earned from all the car bombs that killed local mafioso and others as there was a time when this was the most mobbed up / corrupt small town America has ever seen. The name is a play on Bomb City which is what Cleveland was called at the time, for the same reason. We weren't there to collect any debt or anything but rather on a roadtrip out east. As always I found myself fascinated with the history and that which is still left which in this case is very little. A couple of these spots are actually a town over.

Rip's Cafe

This would the first stop we made on a roadtrip last summer to Pittsburgh. It was lunchtime and we were hungry for some locally loved food. Rip's has been serving the area since 1933 and they're known for their home cooked Eastern European food. As soon as we sat down we were asked "Yinz want a beer" and we couldn't help but chuckle. This place is old school, the type of spot that would be long gone if it was in a city like Chicago. Even so, we were right at home.

a peek inside

The star of the menu here is the "Hunky Platter" which comes with a few Eastern European favorites. Included are potato/cheese pierogi swimming in buttered onion, stuffed cabbage, and Halushki which is noodles and kraut cooked in lots of butter. Both the Cabbage Roll and Halushki were fantastic and honestly I cant remember if the pierogi was amazing or just ok but my mind tells me they too were also really good. They don't make 'em like this anymore.

Hunky Platter
Tringheses' Cornersburg Italian Specialties

Major letdown as I thought I was going to finally be able to try the locally loved Brier Hill Pizza. It's relatively unknown outside of Youngstown but I've been harassed for years now about going to Saint Anthony's to try it. It's basically a crispy thin crust pizza where the cheese, romano, goes on when it comes out of the oven. You can get them with or without sausage and or hot peppers which are grown by the nuns at the church. The same guy has been making the marinara for decades. Friday's only and you gotta reserve your pizza during the week leading up to Friday. Well we were headed thru and it was going to be a Friday so I thought it was finally going to happen only to find out they were taking a three week summer vacation when I called to reserve a sausage/hot. DAMN. Change of plan.

Locally Sourced Hot Peppers

Tringheses' is an old school Italian grocery where you can get stuff to make lunch/dinner or just buy either or there. The shelves were a little bare. I'd heard they have some not so common imports, but aside from a jar of locally sourced hot peppers I bought, I didn't see much that caught my eye. The bakery seemed to be stripped as there wasn't much fresh goods left for purchase. I wanted to try their pepperoni roll, a regional treat in Steel and Coal Country, but they were out. The prepared foods menu changes daily but I ended up with the always available sausage, onion, and pepper mix as the other Friday specials were fish focused. Their Italian sausage was very good and I really liked the little three bite links. The recipe seems to use a ton of black pepper. If you're passing thru the area and in need of a quick lunch you cant find much better or cheaper (less than $5). Though I would say the Hunky Platter is also a really good idea if you got the time.

Sausage, Peppers, and Onion

Jib Jab Hot Dog Shoppe

On the rebound home we were just about hot dogged out having done a little tour of the stands in Pennsylvania. Though this place was on the radar so we pulled in for a quick bite. Like so many other eating establishments in town this is a low key spot where one can eat for cheap. I don't have an exact date on this places creation but it's definitely old school despite the newer digs moved into.

Chili Cheese Fries 

In these parts people prefer their hot dogs dressed with chili. So thats what we would order. Usually people eat a few of them as they're smaller sized dogs and the price is something like a dollar and change. We tried an order of chili fries as well as a chili dog. The chili wasn't the best example we tried this trip and the dogs were cheap wieners but the fries were fresh cut and enjoyed.

Chili Dog

Rip's Cafe
614 Youngstown-Poland Rd
Struthers, OH 44471
(330) 755-0057

Tringheses' Cornersburg Italian Specialties
3381 Canfield Rd
Youngstown, OH 44511
(330) 799-8650

Jib Jab Hot Dog Shoppe
313 S State St
Girard, OH 44420
(330) 545-1129

1 comment:

Scotty said...

My parents lived for a time just south of Youngstown in the Poland,Boardman area.I went with one of my parents friend to pick up some spaghetti sauce for a party.We got to this little hole in the wall dive bar that I swear to God had one of those sliding eye holes to see who was at the door.The Youngstown area is for sure different.


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