If you grew up taking road trips, you might remember the old AAA TripTiks you used to be able to pick up. They’d highlight your directions and point out best rest stops and points of interest. Well, last year we took a road trip to Wooster, to find out what the small town had to teach the big city about cultivating a local food community. What follows is a collection of the stories we discovered on that journey—and to get started we offer our own version of a TripTik to introduce you to three places we loved.
The bread made by Glen and Lisa Grumbling at their Broken Rocks Café has a storied past going back 25 years. The name of their restaurant is derived from a little spot on the shores of Lake Huron in Michigan that the couple had visited before they were married. It was there that Glen obtained some wild grapes from which he grew a culture that, to this day, is key to their signature sourdough bread. The small-town eatery also offers scratch dishes with an emphasis on local ingredients from nearby farms.
123 E. Liberty St. 330.263.2949, BrokenRocksCafe.com
Paul Fryman was a small-town guy, born and raised in Wayne County. After college, he set out to turn his fascination with beer into an honest living, and what resulted might just be the best damn beer you haven’t heard of. JAFB Brewing Company produces a wide-ranging beer selection, including lighter offerings like a cream ale and hefeweizen, to heavier pours like coffee porter, red ale and stout. And somewhere in between, you’ll find their secret treasure: JAF India Pale Ale. Like the brewery, the name may claim that it’s “Just A F%#@ing” IPA, but there’s nothing common about it. It’s an Ohio take on the West Coast IPA style, with a perfect balance of hops’ citrus and pine characteristics. It may well be one of the best IPAs you’ll ever have, and, just by itself, is worth the trip.
120 Beall Ave. 330.601.1827, JafbWooster.com
Tulipan Hungarian Pastry and Coffee Shop is a place to linger over a crafted coffee or tea, decadent European pastries, savory Hungarian breads and biscuits, or palacsinta (crêpes). Tulipan also offers a daily selection of homemade sandwiches, soups and omelets. Owner Elizabeth Lakatos who emigrated from Hungary in 1976 knows a little something about making people feel welcome. The name means “tulip” in Hungarian, and like a cheerful bundle of colorful tulips, the hospitality found at downtown Wooster’s Tulipan makes it a worthy stop. The shop pays homage to Elizabeth’s native homeland, with art, photos and other memorabilia displayed throughout.
122 S. Market St. 330.264.8092, TulipanHungarianPastry.com