Pizza, pirogue and hummus oh my!

I ran into this post on a restaurant guide last year:

Youngstown?

I’ll be in Youngstown on business for a couple of weeks, and was wondering if anybody has any personal recommendations. There was a thread back in October that referenced a post on cleveland.com that isn’t there any more… but beyond that, this town doesn’t appear to have been much talked about here. Any veteran Youngstownians here with recs for a houndish visitor?

Is this town a distant suburb of Cleveland and Pittsburgh, or is it a place unto itself?

Lime Rickey

This knucklehead replied to him:

I lived in Youngstown for 5 years in the early 90’s. The chow was really bad. A decent Indian restaurant opened, but was forced to close within a year. The same thing happened with a Jamaican place.

The tragic thing was that with so many people of Italian descent, you’d think that there would be some decent Italian food. I found none. It was all boring Americanized fare.

The pizza was especially poor. Lots of people gave me their recommendations for their favorite pizza joints, but I found each and every one to be lacking. Tasteless crust, rubbery cheese, and always ALWAYS the mushrooms were canned! There is a local variety of pizza that they call “Briar Hill,” named after a neighborhood. It was just an unexceptional white pizza. I resorted to making my own pizza while I lived there.

Sadly, the best chow I found in Y-town was at the chains…and I hate chains!

Maybe things have improved over the last 9 years, but I doubt it.

Oh, now that I think about it, I did discover a coffee shop in the university area, called “The Beat.” They created some tasty sandwiches. But coffee houses were a little too radical for Youngstown back then. I wonder if it even survived. (In another post Fire Rev mentions Quaker Steak and Lube for wings).
Fire Rev

Lime Ricky replies:
Damn… I’m discouraged. There’s gotta be something worth eating after spending 10 hours a day plowing through mountains of paperwork. If I have to eat TGIF and Applebees I’m going to be sorely disappointed.

Come on hounds… gimme something!
Lime Ricky

I weighed in with this:

Wow. I don’t know what FireRev is talking about because the Youngstown area has great food! He suggests Quaker Steak wings as they have won national competitions. They are tiny pigeon wings that get beaten in competition locally by wings at Inner Circle Pizza and blackberry BBQ wings at the Royal Oaks. He says the area has poor pizza and that Briar Hill pizza is unexceptional white pizza. It is not white pizza but red sauce pizza with roasted peppers and sprinkled on parmesan Cheese. This pizza has won many awards and is made at: Avalon Gardens, Belleria, Sunrise and many other area shops. There is white pizza in the area that is spicy cheese pizza and is great made at Carmen’s, Brothers and Luigi’s. Sunrise and the Swiss chess pizza at the Elmton are two of the best pizzas I have ever tasted and I’ve eaten pizza around the country.

To say no good Italian food is found in the area is crazy. Alberini’s has been around for 50 years making great Italian food. The eggplant parmesan at Cafe 422 is the best I’ve ever tasted. The White Rose has been making great Italian food for 60 years. Then there’s; Johnny’s, Schaggeti’s, Cafe Capri, MVR, Cafe Cimmento, Combine Brothers, the Wave and two dozen others.

People line up for the Friday fish at the Boulevard tavern. Then there’s Hunky food at Rip’s Cafe that’s been open 65 years. Hunky food at Paprika Cafe and pirogue at Tennies Tavern also. Great fried chicken at Sunrise Inn and Uncle Nick’s chicken at the Buena Vista. Nick says, “If the colonel would have had my recipe he’d have been a general.” Great chow at Martini’s, Anthony’s on the River, Rachel’s Steakhouse, BBQ at Charlie Staples is the best BBQ around. Huge steak and chicken salads at Trax Inn are a favorite. Saratoga has been around 70 years making a great chicken salad. Great Mexican restaurants and a Puerto Rican one are in the area.

Handle’s Ice Cream has been around for 70 years and is rated in many magazines as one of the top 10 ice creams in the world. Hamburg’s at Raptis, Masters, and Yankee Kitchen are some of the best you’ll ever eat. Hot dogs and chili at the Warren Hot Dog Shop and Jib Jab have people waiting in line. Nearby New castle PA is the home of the chilidog. Fancier food is available at the Blue Wolf, Saliah, Fifth Season, the Upstairs, the Youngstown Club, Vernon’s and dozens of others is worth checking out.

Yes, the Beat has good sandwiches but not as good as other coffee shops like the Mocha House. Coffee houses to radical for this area? Panera, which is a great coffee house chain, started in this area. The best rubens I’ve ever eaten at: Rusty’s, Kravets Deli and Mary M’s. Kravit’s markets bagels that go around the country. For great Mediterranean food try: Aladdin’s, Ghossain’s nearby Mary’s and Natalis. Ghossains sells humus, tabuli and pita bread to national restaurants and grocers. Belly Buster makes subs that blow away chains like Subway. Great cooking oriental at the table at the Tokyo House has people lined up. A ton of good oriental buffets in the area.

Churches in the area also have dinners they’ve been serving for over 50 years. Specialties at some are stuffed cabbage and pirogue, Swiss, steak, pizza, cheese puffs, fish, potpies etc. Each church has senior citizens making their national dishes. Where else but Youngstown can you go to the Golden Dawn for breakfast for 70 years and get an omelets and a cold draught beer in a frosted mug. I know I’ve left out a ton of places but folks don’t be a stuffed shirt you got to get out more. There are restaurants in the Youngstown/Warren area that have been making great food for 50-70 years you don’t need to go to chains or trendy restaurants in Canfield/Boardman.

If you can’t find good food here you just aren’t trying. Youngstown recently asked for volunteers to help plant trees and flowers in the city and had over 300 volunteers show up to help. This is a come back city and the young people in the area are helping turn the city around. There are some great martini bars downtown and places that showcase original music. There is an active original music scene going on. Many places have open mike and a great art and poetry scene is also happening. Forget bad press and read some of the Youngstown blogs about the wonderful changes happening in this area!

elecpencil Oct 07, 2007 02:20AM

(Wow! I notice I was up at 2:20 AM composing that. Being a good will ambassador is a 24/7 job).

These two nice replies came the same day:

· hunkys, hamburgs and oriental food … god i love ohio lol!
seriously tho, elecpencil is 100% correct that some people have got to get out more instead of just dismissing a place offhand. this is a an excellent fantastic post and i want to bookmark it for the next time i drive home for a visit from nyc to the cleve. thx so much elec!
mrnyc Oct 07, 2007 11:27AM

· re: elecpencil
You forgot East Wind on Market St.. The Best Fast Chinese Food in the area.
For Japanese/ Sushi, I think Asuka is the best, But their Hibachi grill doesn’t Compare to Ken’s at Tokyo House.
Cthulou Oct 07, 2007 06:16PM

I will soon post restaurant reviews (once my broke ass gets some extra cash).
Tell me about your favorite local places to eat.

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1 Comment

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One response to “Pizza, pirogue and hummus oh my!

  1. crseum

    Elmton chicken parmasan!

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