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Posted by on Jul 28, 2013 | 5 comments

Pro Football Hall of Fame 2013: Where to Eat in Canton

Pro Football Hall of Fame 2013: Where to Eat in Canton

In her last post, Lisa covered What To Do during Pro-Football Hall of Fall Week in Canton (and there is a lot to do). But all that ‘doing’ is going to leave you hungry, right? Right.

Never fear, we’re a couple of dining-out professionals and will take care of your growling stomach in no time.

Taggart's Ice Cream ParlorNow, you could visit one of our city’s many chain restaurants; if you want Olive Garden or Outback or TGI Fridays, you’ve hit the jackpot ‘cuz I think we have one of every chain restaurant ever. But what fun is that? You can eat at those in any ol’ town.

We think that Hall of Fame Week is not only a great reason to celebrate our city’s love for football, but get a ‘taste’ of Canton’s most-loved classics while you’re here. Some of these spots have been around for 50, even 100 years, making them as legendary to us locals as the Hall of Fame itself.

Try ‘em out, get a taste of our most classic and beloved local fare, and save the chains for another time! Scroll down for pics!

Top 10 Canton Dining Classics

Bender’s Tavern. It’s ‘Canton’s Oldest and Finest Restaurant,’ established in 1902 and in the heart of downtown. The gorgeous tile floors and marble walls may be steeped in Canton history, but the cuisine offers fresh, modern takes on classic seafood preparations. If the dinner prices are daunting, they’re open for lunch, and prices are very reasonable. TIP: Don’t overlook Bender’s wine list; they have one of the most renowned wine cellars in Northeast Ohio.

Baker’s Cafe ’33. While the outdated wood paneling, menu that hasn’t changed since, oh forever, and off-the-beaten-path location might have you 2nd-guessing this choice, Baker’s is a hidden gem for delicious steaks, stiff drinks….and pie. The perfect combo in my book. What they lack in atmosphere (confession: I actually LIKE their low-key vibe) is made up for in a perfectly cooked steak at a fair price. TIP: Do not leave without a piece of pie: their daily fruit pies (the double-crust raspberry- WHOA) and peanut butter pie are must haves. RUMOR: Canton legend has it that the Enshrinees eat here each year during HOF Week!

Sparta Steakhouse. It’s old school, inside and out, and we wouldn’t want it any other way. It’s a definite fave of Two Amused Bouches. On the menu are garlic marinated steaks, Grecian salads, their signature ‘Sparta fries’, flaming cheese, classic cocktails and more – all at prices that will make you think you really did go back in time. Even better, the service is always friendly and top-notch.

Mulligan’s Pub. Don’t let the strip mall exterior in Belden Village fool you; inside you’ll find salvaged light fixtures, antique wood booths, and stained glass windows that harken to another time…or maybe a library? While they serve up plenty o’ steaks, seafood, and ribs, my faves are simpler – their classic Reuben and filet mignon sandwich. Can’t go wrong.

Taggart’s Ice Cream Parlor. Taggart’s has been a local landmark since 1926 and home of Canton’s best known sweet treat, the Bittner: homemade vanilla ice cream blended with their own chocolate syrup, topped with the most amazing roasted and salted pecans. Sweet + salty = yes. TIP: the Mini-Bittner is plenty for me, and truth be told, my very favorite is their kids’ size Turtle Sundae. While you’re there, try their Chicago dog or Taggart’s Original Olive Nut sandwich.

Milk and Honey. The name alone conjures up and good and wholesome things, doesn’t it? Inside, you’ll find an old-fashioned candy & nut shop, ice cream counter and diner with an authentic retro feel. While I’ve eaten lunch and dinner there plenty of times, I’ll be honest – I really go for their homemade ice cream. From classics like mint chocolate chip to limited-time creations like red velvet cake, you simply can’t miss. Try the hot fudge waffle sundae too, says my son. :)

Woody’s Root Beer Stand. Woody’s is legendary for three things in Canton: hot dogs, root beer floats, and the super-cute teenage girls they employ. Girls aside, it’s a great spot to grab a crazy-affordable and quick bite to eat during the summer, and it’s RIGHT around the corner from the Hall of Fame. (Seriously, turn right on Fulton when leaving the HOF and you’ll run into Woody’s.)

John’s Bar. For classic American burgers, steaks, and homemade soups PLUS plenty of Greek favorites, try John’s Bar – a Canton staple since the 1940s. I love their Greek salads, Grecian Angus burger, and the dark, cozy decor. BONUS: for all you early risers, they’re open for breakfast.

Desert Inn. For something totally different, try a Canton fave for all things Middle Eastern: the Desert Inn. Their specialty is family-style Arabic food – think huge platters of kebobs, seasoned rice, Grecian salad, broasted potatoes, and garlic bread. OK, I’m pretty sure broasted potatoes are not Arabic, but Desert Inn is still great. The more people in your group, the more fun it is. Oh, and on select nights they have bellydancers. :)

Napoli’s Italian Eatery. Good grief, am I just now mentioning pizza? Sorry, I got distracting by our city’s abundance of meat and ice cream. If classic Italian is your thing (and isn’t it everyone’s thing?) try Napoli’s in the heart of downtown Canton. They cover all the classics like Eggplant Parm, Chicken Marsala, and Italian subs, plus the hometown favorite – their hand-tossed New York style, extra-chewy pizza. Try it with meatballs – mmmmm. You’re welcome.

If these classics aren’t what you had in mind, we’re here for you and have compiled at least 25 more places around town you might like:

Canton, Ohio Patios
Downtown Canton Pubs/Bars
Canton Happy Hour/Drink Specials



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  1. You forgot Heggy’s! Love their homemade ice cream, handmade chocolates, and roasted nuts!

    • Ah, you’re right, another good one! Home of hot buttered fries, too!

  2. I would have to say this list would be perfect if Tim’s Tavern were on it…:)

    • Tim’s Tavern! How could I forget it? Perfect for fried fish and more peanut butter pie. :)

  3. Great recommendations! I’ve eaten at all 10 and you nailed this list. No idea why you would ever visit one of those chains when there are all these amazing restaurants…

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