‘Yes, This Is a Restaurant’


We drove from Geneva on the Lake, Ohio, to West Hazleton, Pennsylvania, today. Nearly 400 miles, and the first 300 on two-lane roads–state highways and U.S. routes out of Ashtabula County, the northeasternmost in Ohio, across northern Pennsylvania to Mansfield. Eastbound on U.S. 6, we hit U.S. 15 there and took it south to Interstate 180, which makes a semicircle to the east and south of Williamsport and leads you to I-80. From there we drove until very heavy rain hit, just after sunset. After about 10 miles during which a lot of traffic simply pulled over to the shoulder, we and some other kept going with our hazard flashers on until we got to the Pennsylvania 93 exit and drove south until we found a motel.

We got a late-ish start out of Geneva OLT, about 11:30, but I was inclined to stop when I saw stuff that interested me anyway. Well, most stuff. I did skip a picturesquely seedy old resort called "Ralph's" on the outskirts of town. But not too far down the road, I stopped at the little box of a public hall in Denmark Township. And just east of there was a little crossroads (Ohio 7 and 167) called Pierpont, near the Pennsylvania line in Ashtabula County. The place is as closed as it says it is. It looks like a mess, outside and in. But if one local's review is to be believed, it would be a pretty unusual dining experience. (The text of the sign in the window: "Temporarily Closed. If you live out of town, leave your phone number if you want me to call when I reopen. Thanks.")


12 Replies to “‘Yes, This Is a Restaurant’”

  1. OK — so you happen upon a place like that as you’re just passing through. Do you stop? It’s off the beaten path in more ways than one. I’d like to think someday I might try it. But I think my reaction would be, “That’s … interesting.” Then I’d take my pictures and head down the road.

  2. So there is both Ashtabula OH as well as the ashtabula bottom bracket (The one-piece kind on kids’ bmx bikes). Two minutes of quick googling didn’t turn up a connection. Can it not be true that the ashtabula bottom bracket was associated with Ashtabula OH?

  3. They *must* be connected, although all I can tell you about the history of Ashtabula County is that Clarence Darrow once practiced law there and Carl Sandburg once wrote a poem about Ashtabula. In addition to that, you’ve jogged my memory to recall that the classic “Everybody’s Bike Book” discussed the Ashtabula crank in passing.

  4. Hey I live in Geneva, Ohio. I actually just moved here about 4 months ago after my fiance and I stayed at Ralph’s Place that you mentioned in your blog, and fell in love with the area. I haven’t seen that building yet, but that is really funny!!

  5. Kristin, if you ever get to Rogene’s — just drive over to Conneaut, turn south on 7 until you get to Pierpont — let us know about the cuisine. Also curious to hear about Ralph’s, which I could only judge by the rather weathered signs you see out along the road.

  6. I dropped by the “Brick Tee Shirt House” out of curiosity. The 1800’s home has been saved and decorated by a great-great grandmother. Her adult granddaughter serves homemade meals from their kitchen for donations. The food is hearty Amish/County/Rural chicken and gravy, dumplings, steak and the like. Rogene will proudly give you a tour of her home and tell you the history of the people who have lived there. She has never gone into debt while restoring the 3-story manor and relies on income from donations for the food and sales of antiques. Plan on an hour or two – not because of the wait, but to fully appreciate the home, food, and stories. So glad you added photos! Hope you get to see inside – it is AMAZING!

  7. Please Listen, She is very lovely elderly woman. She makes food for people who stay are just out for a bite. She only makes you pay what you feel you owe her. Which trust and believe her food is wonderful, so much is in order:) One day she would hopefully love to make that place an official restaurant. I live down the road from her actually. I live next to the Jamboree, Its across from this House. She is a wonderful woman who loves when people are happy and comfortable. So please when you get a chance go down there! She would love your presence.

  8. Hi, Jennifer: Thanks for your comment. I’m glad to hear that Rogene’s is still a going concern, and I will try to get back there to meet this person you’re talking about (though I am in California, so it might take me a while).

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