DINING TRADITIONS IN OUR COMMUNITY

Some area restaurants are dining-out traditions. Long history of operation, favorite ambiance, delicious food and friendly servers—there are many reasons why we keep going back to them.

We recognize their names the moment a friend suggests them as dining spots. We can visualize their location. We might even know where we want to sit in the dining room, and maybe we have an idea about what we will order from a menu that we frequently have held in our hands through the years.

These dining places—from simple eateries to upscale establishments—are familiar to us. They are comfortable. The restaurants are dining traditions when we just don’t want to eat at home.

You will find such longtime favorites throughout Stark County, but here are a few from Canton.

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Bender’s Tavern

The history of Bender’s Tavern, operated by the fourth generation of the Jacob family, in downtown Canton can be traced back almost a century as a community gathering place.

Its marble and oak paneled rooms echo the sounds of a “procession” of Cantonians, a history on its website notes, from “the secrets of hushed voices of lovers” to the “bold and aggressive words of those in business.” Oh, and the food is great, too, including fish flown in fresh every day from Foley Fish in Boston.

137 Court Ave. SW, Canton | 330-453-8424

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Baker’s Cafe

The exterior of Baker’s Cafe ’33 is not the attraction for generations of Cantonians who return to the cinderblock building.

The inside of Baker’s—a comfortable restaurant, with a friendly staff, that has been serving delicious steaks since this industrial section of Canton flourished—draws regulars back to a dining room that still offers a menu on the wall. They’re not just locals. Those in the area for sporting events also find their way to favorite tables and booths.

1927 Stark Ave. SW, Canton | 330-454-0528

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Desert Inn

The Desert Inn hasn’t been around as long as some other traditional Canton restaurants, but it has an Arabic menu—hummus, baba ganoush, grape leaves, tabooli, kibbee—that boasts a lengthy heritage. John Shaheen Sr. opened the restaurant on 12th Street NW in 1970.

Current owners Mark and Tina Shaheen built the modern version of the Desert Inn at its current location in 2006.

The elder Shaheen favored family-style dining, and that familiar service still is enjoyed today.

204 12th St. NW, Canton | 330-456-1766

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Taggarts Ice Cream Parlor & Restaurant

When Joe Taggart took over what became Taggarts Ice Cream Parlor & Restaurant on Fulton Road in the 1920s, he brought in high-backed maple booths and a soda fountain. They’re still there. So are the original marble countertops.

Owners Ernie and Patti Schott continue to be “custodians of tradition,” as the website notes. “Things do not change here because customers won’t hear of it!” If you have been wanting that ice cream sundae from your childhood, it still is served.

1401 Fulton Rd. NW, Canton | 330-452-6844
107 S. Main St., Magnolia | 330-866-9344

Photo courtesy of Tim's Tavern Facebook

Photo courtesy of Tim’s Tavern Facebook

Tim’s Tavern

Former McKinley High School athlete and pro baseball player Tim Triner conceived of Tim’s Tavern late in the 1950s as a sports bar, and the “beer joint,” as its website calls itself, indeed has had its name on the jerseys of more than a few area ball teams.

But, in the 1960s, something else got battered up—fish. A piece sold for 10 cents, and you could get a draft beer for a dime to wash it down. People still line up to get a basket of fish, along with plenty of other menu items.

3323 Parkway St. NW, Canton Twp. | 330-455-6306

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Kennedy’s Bar-B-Que

Patti and Ernie Schott, current Taggarts owners, continue to preserve local landmark Kennedy’s Bar-B-Que, as well. “We’re keeping the recipes, the menu, everything the same,” Ernie said when they bought the place in 2009 from the estate of Jack Kennedy, the longtime owner.

That means the small eatery near the McKinley National Memorial still serves its signature bean soup and smoked pork sandwiches with a special homemade relish. Shhh! The relish recipe is a secret.

1420 7th St. NW, Canton | 330-454-0193

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Ferraro’s Family Restaurant & Bakery

When you’ve been serving diners—families and working people—24 hours a day, seven days a week, and you’ve been in operation for about 115 years, you can build up a large and faithful customer base. That’s what Frank Ferraro has done.

Ferraro built a bread oven in 1899. Ferraro’s baked goods still are a favorite. A specialty is an order of Frankie Fries—homemade potato chips seasoned with garlic and Parmesan cheese.

3822 Navarre Rd. SW, Canton Twp. | 330-478-8010

About The Author

Gary Brown
Contributor

Gary Brown has written articles and columns for About periodically since the publication’s inception, including pieces on books, recreational sports and historical subjects. A columnist and staff writer for The Repository, Brown enjoys such outdoor pursuits as golfing, sailing, skiing, biking and hiking. An avid student of the arts, he also uses those activities to inspire watercolor paintings.

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