Tag: Southeast Ohio

Horsin’ Around

Horsin’ Around

Katie Pittman: I don’t know how it happened, but one day Grace and I started chatting about going horseback riding. I hadn’t been on a horse since I was about 10 years old, and I was thrown off that horse (a story for another day), […]

Climb Athens Center Brings Bouldering to the Community

Climb Athens Center Brings Bouldering to the Community

Ted Welser pushes aside a vacuum plastic curtain and climbs a set of steep stairs that lead to the loft of his garage on the residential east side of Athens.  The plywood walls are barely visible under interlocking nobs and bits. Polyurethane climbing holds make […]

Zanesville’s Bryan Place designed for business

Zanesville’s Bryan Place designed for business

From the outside, Bryan Place in Zanesville looks like a large, old building. White columns and archways support its brick exterior and multitude of windows. But behind the black, iron fence and through the trees and flowers is a seemingly out-of-place sign that teases Sunday brunch, furniture sale and an occasional comedy show.

That’s what makes Bryan Place so special. The building previously served as The YWCA of Zanesville from 1926 to 1993. During that time, many young women called one of the 36 rooms on the second and third floors of the building home during the week.

“They would come to town and they would work or they would go to the Meredith Business College over here or the Ohio Bell next door,” Carol Bryan, owner and lead designer of Bryan Place says. “… They lived here and their parents would come and get them and take them home for the weekend.”

The YWCA merged with the YMCA in 1993 and left the location, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. But the property wasn’t vacant for long: it became Bryan Place that same year. It now hosts various events including:

  • Luncheons and dinners
  • Receptions and weddings
  • Club meetings
  • Comedy shows

Its weekly dining hours are 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., but other events are held outside those hours. In addition, the building stocks for-sale furniture in the old bedrooms.

Bryan owns both Bryan Place and Bryan’s Furniture Interiors and decided to use the extra space to stock furniture for the company. When potential customers go to Bryan’s Furniture Interiors on Dresden Road, the staff sends them down to Bryan Place to view its dining rooms, living rooms and adult and child bedrooms.

The most picturesque part of the former YWCA, even with the perfectly furnished rooms upstairs, is the dining space that formerly served as the gym. Several years ago, Bryan no longer wanted the room to look like a gymnasium, so she decided to renovate it. Bryan says she intended to have the walls resemble traditional Zanesville buildings, and the idea eventually evolved into what it is now.

“I just found the old stuff, just old architectural things, and we tried to make it into little houses and make it look like the courtyard,” she says.

Bryan’s history with flipping houses came in handy during the gymnasium renovation. Her 40 years of experience allowed her to appreciate the antique pieces she repurposed to make up the house facades that line the walls of the former recreational space. Bryan remembers the story behind each exterior feature.

“The old garage barn door came from an auction down the street,” she says as she points to an individual piece in the room. “This building over here was from a house that was kind of behind this; they tore the house down, and I’m over there salvaging the front door and the windows. And the stuff from the shutters up there came from an old house up on the river.”

Someone could wander around Zanesville to get the same feeling one would get in the indoor courtyard, but why not sit, enjoy a comedy show, a good meal and maybe take home a sofa all in one place?

Bryan Place is open 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. for Sunday brunch, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on weekdays for lunch, and until 5 p.m. for furniture sales at 49 North 6th Street. Visit the location, Bryan’s Furniture site or call (740) 450-8008 for more information.

Portsmouth Students Cultivate Human Rights Garden

Portsmouth Students Cultivate Human Rights Garden

In today’s politically and socially charged environment, it can feel challenging to find positive outlets for children. However, Portsmouth City School students found inspiration in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. They used their artful handiwork to instill themes of community, health and […]

What’s your story, sorority house boy?

What’s your story, sorority house boy?

Q: What is your major and hometown? How many siblings do you have? A: I am an Information and Telecommunication Systems major from Virginia Beach, VA. I have a brother who is three years older than me. Q: How/when did you hear about this House […]

Chillicothe Woman Makes Artisan Truffles, Other Chocolates

Chillicothe Woman Makes Artisan Truffles, Other Chocolates

In 2012 Janet Bowers retired from her long career in Psychology work and needed a way to keep busy. She turned to her love for chocolate, and began researching and creating truffles from locally sourced ingredients in her family farm kitchen.

Mixing New and Old Roots

The Hocking County company’s concentration is in chocolate truffles, but also serves up caramels, chocolate mold assortments, and candy bars. The name comes from Bowers’ great-grandmother who named the family farm Wren Valley after her favorite bird. The farm has been in the family for over 150 years, according to Bowers.

 Career Path

Janet Bowers was born and raised in Chillicothe. She attended Bowling Green State University for her undergraduate studies in Geology and American Literature, and Ohio State University for her graduate work.

Years later she decided to return to the classroom to earn a Doctorate in clinical and forensic psychology. She opened her own private practice that she operated for more than 30 years out of Evergreen, Colorado. She worked closely with major hospitals and court systems. Upon inheriting her family farm in Ohio, Bowers closed up her practice so that she and her husband, Rodger, could move back to her home roots.

Pursuing the Passion

To Bowers, her retirement was liberating. She remembers thinking to herself, “I want to do what I’ve always wanted to do …and that was to learn more about chocolate and do something with it.”

Bowers says after moving back to Ohio, she struggled to find the fabulous piece of chocolate she craved. So, she took it upon herself to craft her own Old World European-style artisan chocolates.

What Goes In

Bowers creates each truffle in her farm house kitchen at Wren Valley and attributes her psychology background to the playful names of each treat. The Chai Dreamer is a blend of milk and dark chocolates, candied ginger, cinnamon in local cream, and topped with organic dried sweetheart rose petals. Aztec Chili came from her deep love for central American dishes; sweet glazed oranges and dark chocolate with the kick of habanero chilies, cayenne and cinnamon create the sweet heat truffle.

“I love looking at someone’s face when they first take a bite, it’s like the sun comes out!” Bowers says.

The Woodland Creature gift box includes chocolate mice filled with silky peanut crème, chocolate bunny molds and chocolate beehives bursting with sweet, locally sourced honey.

Several friends and some contracted workers help Bowers to regularly turn out orders for weddings, showers, corporate gatherings and restocking purchase location supply. From decorating to packaging, Bowers hand-picks who helps put the final touches on the chocolates and caramels.

“It takes patience, and skill, and speed to make that work,” Bowers says. “It really took me pushing me to begin the search for the right people.”

Local Relations

Bowers says it has been essentially important to use locally sourced and organic ingredients every chance she gets. Snowville Creamery, Sticky Pete’s pure maple syrup and Silver Bridge Coffee Company are a few of the local vendors behind her creations.

Dozens of flavors and fillings line the Wren Valley Truffle menu, but oftentimes Bowers lets her customers call the shots.

“Tell me what you like,” she says. “I get really inspired by people who love chocolate.”

She recently had a special order that resulted in a new layered orange and raspberry crème truffle.

The Nelsonville Emporium, located in Public Square in Nelsonville, is one shop invested in selling local craftsmanship, artwork and chocolate confections. Owner Jennifer L’Heureux says Bowers is centered on local ingredients and local economic opportunity.

“She likes to make sure people can grow. She is very supportive of the arts,” L’Heureux says. “We want to support local agriculture and entrepreneurs,” Bowers says. “I go out of my way to do that whenever I can.”

What’s Next

The growth of Wren Valley Truffles has called for consideration to expand and open a shop of its own, but Bowers believes it would tie her down too much.

“We’ve outgrown where we are, and that’s a good problem,” Bowers says. Bowers says her success has come from an atypical business model: “If it’s not fun, and I’m not getting joy and inspiration out of the process, then I’m not going to do it anymore.”

Bowers says she is working on starting classes ranging from beginner to advanced to teach others about creating their own chocolate confections. Bowers hopes to include demonstrations on how to make the truffles, how to source ingredients, and tips for what makes a good product, she says.

The handcrafted Old World European-style truffles, along with all of the other chocolate confections offered at Wren Valley Truffles, can be found at Glenlaurel Scottish Inn, Hocking Hills Winery, Hocking Hills Dining Lodge and Nelsonville Emporium.

A Pup and a Cup Tea Company Brings Natural Recipes and Wisdom to Gallia County.

A Pup and a Cup Tea Company Brings Natural Recipes and Wisdom to Gallia County.

Infusing Life into the Business Mashell Brown spends her summers serving samples of tea and medicinal knowledge at the Chillicothe Farmers Market with the help of her husband, Dan. The couple makes the hour-long drive each week from Gallipolis, where Dan grew up. There, he […]

Women’s Rights Activists Take a Stand in Millersburg

Women’s Rights Activists Take a Stand in Millersburg

Hidden on the outskirts of Appalachian Ohio, the predominately red Holmes County is home to a small group of liberal citizens attempting to find their place. Greta Monter, a resident of Millersburg and member of the local Democratic party, never thought she would be politically […]

Southeast Ohio’s barbecue game packs a punch

Southeast Ohio’s barbecue game packs a punch

An inside look at four restaurants that showcase the region’s tastiest barbecue to pig out on
By Alicia MacDonald

When it comes to barbecue that makes your mouth water, it’s likely Southeast Ohio isn’t the first place that comes to mind. But hidden along the rolling hills and winding backroads of the region lie some of Ohio’s most enticing BBQ joints that combine locally-sourced ingredients with tried-and-true recipes passed down through the generations.

So, move over Memphis, Southeast Ohio is bringing their barbecue game to the table. On the menu is four barbecue joints worth the drive for.

Celebrating its 10th anniversary in October of this year, Millstone continues to use locally sourced hickory to smoke pork, beef and chicken for the folks of Southeast Ohio to savor. The meat crew prepares its three Southern Pride smokers each night, allowing the dry-rubbed meat to smoke and develop flavor for up to 14 hours. “We wanted a sit down restaurant with a variety of food so that somebody who didn’t like smoked meat could get something else to eat,” says Millstone’s managing member, William Birch. “When people come in here, they know that they’re going to have friendly service and food they can rely on to be good.”

12790 Grey Street, Logan, (740) 385-5341

The iconic pig statue, Sir David Lee, stands righteously outside of Grillin' Dave Style.
The iconic pig statue, Sir David Lee, stands righteously outside of Grillin’ Dave Style.

Combining fast food, drive-thru service and barbecue, Grillin’ Dave-Style brings quality, smoked meat to the comfort of your front seat. This barbecue staple has been attracting locals and tourists since 2007 with its smoked prime rib and leg of lamb. With a menu that offers smoked chicken, pork and brisket, Grillin’ also serves up smoked salmon, fried bologna and 33 flavors of soft serve ice cream. Seating is limited, but the picnic tables out front will make you feel right at home. The life-size pig statue out front makes Grillin’ Dave-Style impossible to miss. “You see the same people every single day and they come and get the same thing,” says Grillin’ Dave Style manager Cami Wilson. “That’s just what we serve and they know us from that.”

1612 Linden Avenue, Zanesville, (740) 452-3808

The Scioto Ribber is known for their steak. They offer a 16 oz. and a 32 oz. option for hungry customers craving quality smoked meat.
The Scioto Ribber is known for their steak. They offer a 16 oz. and a 32 oz. option for hungry customers craving quality smoked meat.

A barbecue gem near the Ohio River, The Scioto Ribber has been smoking meat since 1978 and it shows in the meats offered on the menu. All meat is smoked behind the restaurant in one of nine smokers, five of which run at all times. Customers can see meat being smoked as they walk in the back door, as a sweet, smoky aroma brushes across their face. “We’re kind of in the Bible Belt, where everyone comes together to eat, especially on Sundays,” says The Scioto Ribber waitress Kirsten Crock. “I want our customers to have an experience that they haven’t had anywhere else. Everyone’s ate steak and ribs, but nobody has had our quality of steak or ribs.”

At The Scioto Ribber, steaks are smoked on one of nine smokers, five of which are consistently smoking meat.
At The Scioto Ribber, steaks are smoked on one of nine smokers, five of which are consistently smoking meat.
With seating indoors and out, Rowdy's brings in customers from all across the country.
With seating indoors and out, Rowdy’s brings in customers from all across the country.

With an ‘if you’re not wearing it, you’re doing something wrong’ mentality, Rowdy’s aspires to give customers a place to relax and chow down on the county’s tastiest barbecue. Named after owner Nathan Kitts’ son, Rowdy’s is embracing the cult-following that barbecue possesses, and is bringing that fan base to the region. Located off Route 93, customers are greeted by the rustic façade, cornhole boards and smell of good ol’ barbecue. The menu’s attention to detail is what led the restaurant to sell out for the first ten months it was open.

“I’ve always said that I want a guy wearing a suit to be able to come in and sit down beside a guy wearing shorts and both of them be able to be comfortable,” says Kitts. “I just want it to be a place where people can gather and relax.”

Rowdy's Smokehouse owner, Nathan Kitts, makes customer's feel right at home with his tried-and-true recipes.
Rowdy’s Smokehouse owner, Nathan Kitts, makes customer’s feel right at home with his tried-and-true recipes.
Salt Fork State Park’s unrefined elegance

Salt Fork State Park’s unrefined elegance

By Michael Slevin Webster’s New World College Dictionary defines “gem” in two ways. “A cut and polished gemstone or a pearl, used for ornamentation,” and “Anything prized for its beauty and value, esp. if small and perfect of its kind.” Within the parameters of these definitions, Salt Fork State […]