Where the Locals Like to Eat

Local restaurant owners share the scoop on where they like to go out to eat

person holding a forkful of bruschetta and glass of red wine

Marion County is full of amazing eateries, and that’s not just my (very correct) opinion. It’s the chefs and the owners who think so, too. But they’re not just talking about their own delicacies, they’re telling us where they like to go find good food in Marion.

Joe Staud owns Pufferbelly’s Ice Cream Station on Fairmont Avenue. What’s a pufferbelly? I can assure you it isn’t intentionally referring to how you feel after eating every last bite of your meal. It’s a train-themed ice cream shop with flavors galore and dishes a-plenty. But what’s Joe Staud to do for good food? It’s not easy to relax where you work. Instead, he goes to Muriale’s for their famous Aunt Mary’s Lasagna.

Unlike Pufferbelly’s, Muriale’s is an Italian restaurant with pasta, pizzas, and tiramisu. For Staud, it isn’t just about the food. He said he goes there for the customer service and top-notch dining experience.

Even a local business owner, a staple in the ice cream community, hasn’t gone everywhere. One day he said he plans to make it out to the new Beer Burger Bowery, the newest restaurant in town and the only burger joint in the county.

Now the question is: What’s an Italian to do for good food?

deli sandwich with stuffed olive on side

Ali Gross is the manager at Hermosilla’s Deli, a homey Italian sandwich shop with excellent cannolis (my personal and also very accurate opinion).

“There are so many great local eats in Marion County! We don’t eat out very often, but when we do, one of our favorite places is Little Red Hen Bakery on Saturday mornings,” she said.

It’s the biscuits and gravy the whole family goes for, which are fluffy and rich, she added.

The Little Red Hen is a bakery with astronomical cinnamon rolls, breakfast deliciousness, and perfect paninis.

Bakeries aren’t her only go-to food outings. She also recommends El Rey, The Rambling Root, and Backwoods at the Belmont.

One place she still has to try, she said, is Street Food Kitchen, located in Rivesville’s Short Story Brewing.

“I follow them on Instagram, and their food looks so fresh and presented so beautifully. I have heard wonderful things about the food and atmosphere,” she said.

And what do you know, Street Food Kitchen Chef Donnie Orr has a great appreciation for the atmosphere as well. When he’s hungry, he said he goes to a Marion classic, Country Club Bakery.

“My grandfather, a coal miner, used to take me there when I was very young. And Cheech, the owner at that time, would always give me a free fresh pepperoni roll. Every time I walk into that little store it’s like a trip back to being a little kid with my grandpa,” he said.

What’s even sweeter than memory lane is the partnership it’s formed.

“We currently use three of their products at the restaurant and plan on always doing so,” Orr added.

sandwich on plate with green coffee mug

Other restaurants he likes to go to are Backwoods at the Belmont for the rockstar chef, The Rambling Root for the locally sourced ingredients, Joe n Throw for the killer coffee, the Little Red Hen Bakery for more pepperoni rolls and Muriale’s for classic and consistently good Marion County food.

So as you can see, we have amazing eateries that suggest amazing eateries, indicating that Marion County is full of amazing eateries! When you’re not sure if you should try out a new place, take a calculated risk based on the opinions of some very good chefs.

Where is your go-to restaurant in Marion County?


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