For over 50 years, the Dutch Kitchen has served authentic, traditional and modern, home-style Amish cooking to the residents of Plain City and Central Ohio. Sadly, at the end of next week, they will close their doors for the last time. It truly will be “the end of an era.”
The Dutch Kitchen is one of the restaurants that is owned and operated by Dutchman Hospitality Group, a company which strives to “exemplify both the beauty of a country setting and the bounty of the country kitchen.” The DH Group operates a handful of restaurants and bakeries throughout rural Ohio, and also one in Sarasota, Florida. One of their biggest and most recognized restaurants is also located in Plain City – Der Dutchman. In fact, Dutch Kitchen can actually be found just a few miles up Route 42 from its “big sister” restaurant. After they close the doors to the Dutch Kitchen next weekend, most of the staff are planning to be relocated to “The Der”, as they refer to it.
The logical question would then be, “If Der Dutchman serves the same food as Dutch Kitchen, and will have much of the same staff working there, and is located just up the road, then why are people so disappointed?” After hearing the opinions of many customers, I’ve determined that there are two common answers: Tradition and Comfort.
Cyclists from Plain City and the local area have been travelling to Dutch Kitchen for many, many years to enjoy the home-cooked meals and friendly service. Saturday mornings seem to be the appointed meeting time for bikers who are out for a ride. There is actually a party room reserved specifically for those who partake in this weekly event, so that they can enjoy their breakfast with friends and like-minded folks. I believe that the Dutch Kitchen and Der Dutchman actually sponsor some of the athletes, as while we were there, we saw many riders with printed logos across their shirts and other gear. With the loss of the DK, comes the loss of regular gatherings of friends and relatives at this particular venue, who have enjoyed many good meals together as part of this great tradition.
The other factor is comfort. The Dutch Kitchen definitely has a more comfortable and homey feel to the entire dining experience, versus The Der. At Dutch Kitchen, you will find no tour buses full of out-of-towners. There’s no fancy bakery on site. There are no enormous gift shops full of Amish hand-made quilts, wooden toys, or other novelties. What there is, is a comfortable dining area, friendly staff, and good food, with no fuss. And that will be missed.
Dutch Kitchen does offer its patrons the ability to purchase several of the company’s most popular gifts and baked goods, but it does so by way of a few modest shelves in the lobby area. On our visit, I found a few sweets such as packaged, maple-iced cinnamon rolls and berry pies, some dry goods like homemade pastas, and ground and whole bean coffee supplied by Hemisphere Coffee Roasters, which is what they serve in the dining room.
One of the most popular treats is their Peanut Butter Spread. Sometimes referred to as “church spread”, it’s a thick, sweet and creamy spread made with peanut butter, marshmallow cream and sweet syrup, and is used on everything from toast and rolls, to pancakes and waffles. It actually seems like more of a dessert spread than the usual pantry staple. In the famous words of George Takei…”Oh My!!!!”
The dining room of the Dutch Kitchen is decorated with a classical-country feel. The walls, carpeting, and tapestries are all neutral colors, and the seating is all Amish-built, solid wood. There are tables in various sizes to accommodate many different parties and families. As I mentioned, there are also two large party rooms on the other side of the building, and a large walkway between the two, where the buffet is located. I went with a small group of friends on a Saturday morning in order to bid farewell to their famous breakfast buffet.
The breakfast buffet as a whole was set up nicely, and was stocked very well. The hot buffet featured eggs, several styles of potatoes, sausages, bacon, deep-fried mush, biscuits & gravy, pancakes, and the list goes on and on…
The cold buffet offered traditional and Greek yogurt with fruit, granola, honey, and other toppings. There was also cold cereal in several varieties.
In addition to that, they had several trays of donuts and baked goods, including Der Dutchman’s famous cream-filled long johns!!
And here’s a warmer full of sticky, pecan buns and maple-iced cinnamon rolls.
They also featured a build-your-own omelet and waffle station. All of the classic ingredients were available for us to choose from…
Here’s a photo I snapped of my buddy, Roman’s, custom-made omelet. I believe he opted to have his omelet made with every possible ingredient offered. It was HUGE!!
I decided to skip the omelets and stuck with the buffet. Here’s a picture of my first trip…eggs with peppers & mushrooms, breakfast sausage and smoked sausage links, a few seasoned potato wedges, and a piece of a long john.
Plate #2 was bacon and a biscuit & sausage gravy. I loved the big, chunky pieces of flavorful sausage in the gravy!!
Posted on the door as we exited the restaurant, was a closure notice and a farewell note from Dutch Kitchen, thanking its loyal patrons and reminding them that they can continue to enjoy the same great food and service at Der Dutchman. While it’s a friendly gesture, it’s little comfort to those who will miss the Dutch Kitchen for what it has been to them for so many years…memories of sitting down to an amazing meal with people that they love.
If you’d like to visit Dutch Kitchen before the close on July 20th, you can find them at 8690 U.S. Route 42, Plain City, OH 43064. They’ll be open next week, Monday – Friday, 11:00AM – 8:00PM, and Saturday, 6:30AM – 8PM. If you’d like more info on Dutch Kitchen, or any of the Dutchman Hospitality restaurants, you can visit their website.