Papi's by the Lake @ Harveysburg, OH. This is the kind of place
where "everybody knows your name."
You won't find it, unless you are told about it and search it out.
The closest they get to advertising and signage is their Facebook
page, a website and a few reviews.
Harveysburg is village SE of Dayton, on OH 73. The primary business
over the past 50 years has been their "speed trap." They take
the speed limit very seriously. Once upon a time, I was ticketed
for 46 in a 45. It is a zero-tolerance, no favors, no waivers
operation. The speed limit has since been raised to 50 MPH.
You've been warned.
This past July, a meat cutter of 40-years, with no restaurant
experience, decided to live his dream and open a restaurant on one
heck of a shoestring. Attaboy!
It's located in half the gymnasium of the olde, tired, closed
high school. The hoops and scoreboard are still there. The
furnishings, I kid you not, are a mix of early-attic and Olive
Garden cast-offs. The kitchen area is a wall'd and curtain'd
off corner of the half-gymnasium. Our waitress wore a Lowe's
While the address is technically 74 West Main St, that will not get
you to the entrance ... it's around the back. Drive down the gravel
alley on the east side of the bulding. This should help:
The retired meat cutter certainly knows his proteins. The beef,
fish and fowl portions are top-notch, generous, prepared as
ordered and nicely seasoned.
Their standard dinner salad is the typical rural midwest salad:
Roughly chopped lettuce with a few diced tomatores and a sprinkle
of croutons from a bag. Unless you you ask for the salad dressing
on the side, it'll come swimming in salad dressing. This is the
"rural Ohio" way. But this salad is different - it is served on
a dinner platter. It is huge. The owner explained, "I don't
want you to run out of salad before your dinner arrives." Mission
Dinners include two or three sides - the usual assortment. My
choices were dressing and mac & cheese. Both underwhelmed. The
dressing was of the thick gooey type and had precious little
texture beyond gooey. The mac & cheese seemed to be a single
cheese, not a blend. Rather one-note. Not creamy; nor firm.
My dining companion's baked potato was properly cooked. In
keeping with the theme, it was huge. Half of it went home.
The green beans are typical rural-Ohio ... cooked to the point
Price? Dinner for four was $44 something, including the tax.
Only two beverages for the table. No desserts were ordered or
sampled. Both the owner and waitress made a valient effort to
sell their cakes and pies ... mentioning homemade by a friend.
I believe them. We were simply too stuffed and had Xmas sweet
galore at home.
I like Papi's. No pretentions. No apologies. Solid home
cooking. Stick with the basics and you'll have a good meal.
I really want to see this place succeed. Ignoring the Police Dept,
they are probably the largest employer in the village. Goodness
knows this areas need jobs ...
I'm thinking that maybe this would be a good place for FN to
film an episode of Dinner Impossible. Help with signage,
decor and the side dishes may indeed be welcome.