Hocking Hills Comfort Food Cruise 2023

Family at Mams Rusted Skillet

Introduction

Although the Hocking Hills Comfort Food Cruise is now in its 8th year, this was the first year we drove it.¬† It was a lot of fun and we had many delicious eats along the way. The cruise will be available next weekend (March 11 and 12, 2023), so it’s not too late to join in the dining adventure. There are twelve stops in total. The cost is $20 and you have two full weekends to visit any of the 12 stops. For complete information, including links to the stops, please go to the Hocking Hills Tourism Association’s Comfort Food Cruise web page. I’m only going to write about the seven stops we were able to squeeze into our afternoon of driving and dining.

What you might want to know

But first, some tips/advice:

  • We left at least a $1 per person tip everywhere we visited.
  • Opening and closing times vary among stops, so plan your tour carefully.
  • Some stops run out of what they planned to serve.
  • Nature sometimes interferes with the best laid plans. The Hocking Hills experienced a pretty big storm on March 3 and power was out in the rural/park areas until mid Saturday morning. That meant the Inn at Cedar Falls sent their triple berry cobbler way over to the Urban Grill to serve, and the Rock House Restaurant was not available at all. I assume that on Sunday, everything was back to normal.
  • You can enjoy your comfort food at each stop or get it “to go.”

The beginning

Our first stop was at the Hocking Hills Tourism Association‘s Welcome Center in Logan. We purchased our Comfort Food Cruise cards, got our souvenir ice cream scoops and map. We had already planned our route so immediately left the Welcome Center and headed to Jack’s Steakhouse.

Our route

Jack’s is an institution in the Hocking Hills but we haven’t been there for a while. We were seated upon arrival and it wasn’t long before our beef noodles and gravy over mashed potatoes arrived in a styrofoam cup with a plastic spoon. Actually, disposables were common on this cruise. We also asked for water which arrived promptly. While there wasn’t much actual beef in the dish it was still delicious, I suspect the potatoes were not homemade. Might be wrong about that.

The next stop was at the Urban Grill, which is actually at the Hocking Hills Golf Course club house. It is a very nice facility. We had quite a wait for our ultimate grilled cheese but it was served on a real plate, with metal utensils. It wasn’t quite what we were expecting but it was still very, very good. There were two types of cheese (only one was melted), bacon, tomato, lettuce, pickle. This was a full size sandwich. Unfortunately, they had run out of the Inn at Cedar Fall’s triple berry cobbler, but we will go for that next weekend.

After much discussion, we decided that we did have time to stop at Hocking Hills Frozen Yogurt. We were all glad we did. Friendly service, lots of yogurt and a multitude of toppings.

The Home Tavern was a must stop for all of us: pulled pork sliders and white mac & cheese. Oh my goodness – the ultimate comfort food! Both were tasty even beyond our expectations. Very friendly and good service as well.

We had planned to stop at Tacie’s Sweet Treats, but they had run out of goodies an hour and half before they were supposed to close. I think this might be their first year participating in the Comfort Food Cruise. We’ll try them again next weekend. That broccoli cheddar soup just sounds too appealing to skip.

We were all getting pretty full by then but no one wanted to miss Treehouse Treats & Treasurers, which served a generous junior scoop of ice cream, in a cup or cone. I got the salted caramel. It was so good I had to eat it all of it. My companions did the same. Are you counting? We have now already had two good sized desserts and we were headed to Laurelville for our final two stops.

In Laurelville, we arrived at The Ridge Inn just in time for their meatloaf and mashed potatoes. We’ve had their meatloaf many times over the years so most of us ordered ours “to go.” We needed to save room for the final stop at Mam’s. Service at the Ridge Inn was wonderful as usual.

The final stop: Mam’s Rusted Skillet for their hamburger slider and fries. They serve local beef which is what makes their burgers so delicious. Crispy, hot fries – yum! Again, excellent service. The photo at the top of this post was taken at Mam’s. I don’t think we could have squeezed in any more food on this tour. There was napping when we returned home and no one needed dinner.

That leaves five more stops for us next weekend: Rock House Restaurant for evergreen garlic fries, Hocking Hills Coffee Emporium for Danish and coffee, Hocking Hills Diner for banana bread French toast, the Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls for triple berry cobbler and Tacie’s Sweet Treats for broccoli cheese soup.

In closing

For complete details on all of the locations mentioned in this post, please go to the Comfort Food Cruise web site.

The Tourism Association is now planning a September Comfort Food Trail, so stay tuned for more delicious food in the Hocking Hills.

Mary at Marsh Hollow

Doughnuts at The Ridge Inn

Felted doughnut display

The Ridge Inn in Laurelville has great food but their doughnuts (and doughnut holes) alone are worth a stop. I think I’ve written about this before but not everyone will search through blog posts to find this important information. ¬†Unfortunately, they are only available Friday-Sunday, after 11 am. If you are headed to the Hocking Hills, call ahead to order at 740-332-0300. They often sell out so calling ahead is always a good idea. The restaurant is on State Route 56 at 16178 Pike St., Laurelville. The doughnuts are the most delicious fluffy, glazed doughnuts you will ever enjoy.

The photo above includes a cute display of a felted doughnut and doughnut holes, plus a cup of coffee. The display changes seasonally an is created by a server’s mother.

My friend and I meet at The Ridge Inn every month. We were there last week to enjoy a late breakfast, but too early for doughnuts. I am picking up my order of 2 dozen doughnut holes this afternoon – ready to share with good friends! By the way, my friend says the doughnuts (and holes) freeze well too.

Mary at Marsh Hollow

Power OUT 2009

Like most of Hocking County, we lost power on Wednesday, January 28. While others came back on line day by day, our power was not restored until Monday, February 2 (by which time the damn groundhog had seen his shadow). We were pretty well able to deal with the loss of electric heat with our various woodburning appliances, a dependable kerosene heater, and propane gas stoves, but the lack of water – you need electricity to run the well pump – was the most difficult to handle. Especially when you’re trying to keep horses and goats watered. By Sunday, I was scooping water out of our creek, and trying NOT to worry about what our neighbors upstream were putting in.

So we survived, and kept very busy. In addition to all the fire-stoking and water carrying, we worked a puzzle, read a lot more than usual, and went out to breakfast and dinner every day but one. Fortunately, Laurelville had power so everything was open, except one day the library was closed. We’re grateful to the Ridge Inn for its excellent free wireless network (and we discovered their fabulous croissant french toast) and to the Village Cafe for filling our water carriers and for their tasty home fries.

But we’ve decided we are going to get a generator!

The Ridge Inn: New Restaurant in Laurelville!

There is a GREAT new addition to dining in Laurelville: The Ridge Inn. My friends Beth, Beth, Kathy and new friend Pat met there for lunch today. I had the cusabi chicken salad and crab chowder. Crab chowder in Laurelville?! Both were wonderful. The salad included diced chicken, pecan pieces and dried cranberries tossed in cusabi dressing, a light cucumber flavor, and was served over mixed greens. The crab chowder was so good I ordered some for take-out – my Dave is sure to love it tonight for dinner.

Everyone enjoyed their lunch, including really, really good coffee. Kathy & Pat ordered hot tea and got to pick from a selection of very fine teas from Harney & Sons. Beth and I had biscotti for dessert, and Beth had a muffin.

So far, the Ridge Inn is only open for breakfast and lunch, Tuesday through Sunday. But they are planning their grand opening for next week and then will start serving dinner.

The lunch menu includes hamburgers, cusabi chicken sandwich, grilled cheese sandwich, chicken salad sandwich, the Ridge salad and the cusabi chicken salad. They also usually have 2 soups and 2 specials.

The building is brand new and the ambience is very fresh and modern. Since very few new buildings and businesses are ever added to the Laurelville village proper, this is a bit of a shock. But the design fits in.Almost all of the tables are near windows. Plus the second floor has a meeting room that can be reserved.

My friends and I HIGHLY recommend the Ridge Inn.

Mary at Marsh Hollow

P.S. I need to ask the owner why she named it “The Ridge Inn” when it is most definitely NOT on a ridge!