Amish Door Restaurant | Taste Test

Fall is upon us. Gone are the leaves, and soon will come the snow. The dawn of the holiday season is just below the horizon, like it or not. November leads to planning and shopping for the annual feast where we visit family, give thanks, watch football and eat far too much tryptophan (or so grandma tells us).

Fall is upon us. Gone are the leaves, and soon will come the snow. The dawn of the holiday season is just below the horizon, like it or not. November leads to planning and shopping for the annual feast where we visit family, give thanks, watch football and eat far too much tryptophan (or so grandma tells us). For some, there will be long hours in the kitchen—baking, chopping and prepping for a meal that’s mostly devoured in 20 minutes—at which time another two hours of cleanup commences. So, what if you’re just not feeling it this year?

If for one reason or another you’ve decided your kitchen is on strike, you still can get your Thanksgiving feast on, thanks to your friendly neighbors at the Amish Door.

A trip to Amish Door Restaurant will leave you full, happy and ready to move to the country tomorrow, leaving all the hustle of city life behind. The sprawling property, just 20 minutes southwest of Canton, sits in the gently rolling hills of Amish country, where the sky goes on forever. There’s an inn and a market, gift shop and bakery for quick pickup of all your favorite Amish goods. In the fall, there are tons of autumn extras: pumpkin rolls, pie, cookies—a cornucopia of pumpkin treats.

The menu at Amish Door Restaurant is built around traditional Midwest home-style comfort food, with some Amish technique thrown in for good measure. Although primarily known for its broasted chicken and “grand buffet” packed full of all the homemade sides you could ever dream of, there’s another way to order: family style. Family-style dinners include your choice of made-to-order meats, sides, bread and pie—all served in bowls, meant to be passed around the table just as you would at home.

For our family-style meal (which can be ordered from the menu any day of the year for $16.49 per person, which includes beverage and dessert) we opted for ham and turkey. With family style, you automatically get mashed potatoes and gravy, dressing and a choice of vegetable (we chose green beans). We absolutely had to try the homemade noodles, too. But that’s not all: The family-style dinners come with the salad bar, an undertaking in itself.

The salad bar includes all the “usual suspects” in terms of salad toppings. What’s unique is the selection of prepared salads—traditional homemade recipes of coleslaw, a sweet carrot salad, pasta salad, macaroni salad, potato salad and a slew of others. But my absolute favorite—mainly because it evokes great memories of childhood eating—is the ham salad. It’s salty, crunchy (from the pickles) and tangy. Give me a basket of Amish Door’s soft, pillowy butter-top rolls and some ham salad, and I’m set for a week.

The meal arrives as advertised in large bowls that can be shared with family around the table. Now, a note about the helpings. They are, in my humble opinion, incredibly generous. They’re also, ironically, all you can eat. So if for some reason you’ve been starving yourself, you can order seconds—and thirds for that matter. If you do opt for seconds, doggie bags are forbidden.

The turkey is a mix of white and dark meat and is, for the most part, shredded. On the plus side, it is tender, flavorful and delicious. You might miss thick white-meat slices and a chance at the coveted drumsticks that you would have if you cooked your own bird. I also love a nice browned chunk of skin. But if you can live without these delicacies, you’ll be more than satisfied. The cured ham hits all the notes of salty and sweet.

Mashed potatoes at Amish Door are homemade and outstanding. Smooth, creamy, buttery and well-seasoned, they are delicious on their own or smothered in the heavenly creamy gravy. Forget mashing until your forearms are sore—these will compete with your mother’s recipe any day.

Amish Door’s green beans are cooked with ham in the traditional style and, while tasty enough, don’t measure up to a green bean casserole, a Midwest favorite that my in-laws have gotten me hooked on. Homemade noodles are definitely a win; cooked in a light, flavorful chicken broth.

And lest we forget the grand finale: pie. We tried both apple and pecan and were not disappointed. The pecan was rich and sweet, with a crunchy brown top. The apple also was a winner, and if you’ve ever baked an apple pie, you know the labor that goes into it. If you’re looking for something outside the traditional Thanksgiving varieties, you’ll likely find something that appeals to you—the staff bakes more than a dozen varieties daily.

Some classic Thanksgiving dishes that you might miss? Sweet potatoes smothered in brown sugar and caramelized marshmallows tops my list—they’re hands-down my favorite guest at the Thanksgiving table.

Also, the often-snubbed cranberry sauce, which I contend makes the most excellent turkey condiment imaginable. Personally, I love to try new cranberry recipes; it’s one case where I don’t mind experimenting. My mom makes a Waldorf salad, which brings a crunchy and sweet complement to the other heavy and rich dishes at the table.

It is likely that some of these special turkey day dishes make their way onto the annual Thanksgiving Day buffet at Amish Door, served from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thanksgiving Day.

So if this Thanksgiving calls for a new tradition, consider making a short drive southwest to the Amish Door. It’s not your grandmother’s cooking, but it could be the next best thing.

Note: The Thanksgiving buffet is $18.99. It is different from the family-style meal.

1210 Winesburg St., Wilmot, Ohio 44689; 888-264-7436

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