Sandwiches, bottomless soup-and-salad bar are hits.
DELTA, Ohio — Stick to the rivers, don’t go chasing waterfalls in Delta 109’s Middle Earth map of a menu, and you’ll be rewarded with the tender loving care of some true life Americana.
Dabble in risk-taking at the family tavern and eatery in its eponymously named town 40 minutes west of Toledo by way of Airport Highway and find fate in a hasty retreat to the gallows.
Rating: ★ ★ ★
Address: 5214 W. Main St., Delta, Ohio
Menu: American Midwest
Hours: 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday
Wheelchair access: Yes
Average price: $-$$$
Credit cards: MC, V, D, AE
Ratings: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Outstanding; ★ ★ ★ ★ Very Good; ★ ★ ★ Good; ★ ★ Fair; ★ Poor
Star ratings are based on comparisons of similar restaurants.
The Blade pays for critics’ meals.
Steak and potatoes. Yes. Korean barbecue and chicken Parmesan. No.
You just don’t go to Delta, Ohio, trying to get to Korea or Italy, you know? Really, you can’t even go to Kansas City. The full rack of ribs ($21.99) Thursday night special was like a grilled jello mold, so slithery I was obliged to perform ablutions for the pig. But redemption lies in the Rust Belt hollers of the menu.
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Items like the literally named American cheeseburger ($7.99), with its golden industrial sunrise of American cheese and caramelized edges of the hand-packed patty, are from a time when Texaco signs signaled your where-tos and hows. Something Delta 109 has named the “Stooge Pounder” (ridiculous steal at $9.99) is an onion-ring crowned 1-pound mountain version of the burger that feels like it has a T-shirt contest attached to it that the staff has failed to mention. I was in there dissecting it like The Hurt Locker with a Hazmat suit and it still self destructed. But was it worth it.
Other handsome sandwiches pass muster too, like the Reuben ($8.49), Philly cheesesteak ($7.49), and prime rib sandwich ($10.99), made in house and available solo as dinner ($14.95 for 6 ounces to $30.99 for the 20- to 25-ounce large cut). And the chicken closer to home than Korea was delightful; the naked house wings (six for $7.99), with cumin and honey and a good kick, were picked clean by all diners. You can also order the hardy-sized wings, breaded and plain, then add some garlic mashed potatoes and gravy ($1.99) for a kind of backdoor fried chicken dinner.
For a big ticket entrée, the New York steak ($15.99 for 8 oz., $20.99 for 12 oz.) was ponderosa perfect served with hashbrowns and onions seemingly conjured from a Steinbeck interlude.
And the card up the sleeve of Delta 109? A full-blown bottomless soup-and-salad bar (included in dinners, plus $3.49 with other meals, $7.49 on its own) featuring multiple soups and just-right touches like backyard cookout deviled eggs and house made croutons. Aces.
Breakfast served at 7 a.m. seven days a week covers all the diner fare typical of a truck stop but with the casual warmth of a sit-and-stay restaurant where the service by the town’s young and friendly couldn’t be more apple cheeked. Waffles, omelets, French toast, biscuits and gravy, corned beef hash, etc. are all mainstays.
It’s understandable why Delta 109 serves such a wide array of dishes, from quesadillas ($8.45) to fish sticks (!)($7.99), even a whole section with four variations of eggs Benedict (from $7.99). This is the necessary variety for the folks wearing down the finish on the booths. If you’ve found yourself at Delta 109 50 or 60 times, sure, shoot from the hip for some ravioli ($14.99), I guess.
But if all you got is a passage through town one day, tell your gut Cokes are a nickel, realize they have Pepsi products, make peace with it, and then order accordingly from that anachronistic space.
Next time I’ll get the liver and onions ($12.99), because where else?
Contact Bill of Fare at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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