Photos by Tim Johnson
Plain City may be less than 30 miles from downtown Columbus but the quiet burg has a completely different vibe than most Central Ohio communities.
Many of the businesses are nestled among corn and soybean fields. Plain City has a thriving Mennonite community, as well as a business district anchored by a 110-year-old clock tower. Residents appreciate the town’s long history, which dates from 1818.
Plain City celebrates its roots with the Heritage Festival held each May. The event offers demonstrations of some Amish handcrafts and samples of Amish-style food, said Julie Weaver, president of the Uptown Plain City Organization.
Amish people lived in the community from the 1890s until the 1960s, she said.
Today’s residents like the area because of its great school system and small-town feel, said resident Abbey Martini.
“It’s close enough to Dublin and Columbus that you don’t feel like you’re missing out on anything but you still get to know your neighbors,” she said.
Many out-of-towners know the area because it’s home to Der Dutchman Restaurant. The restaurant, which serves Amish-style food, draws patrons from throughout Central Ohio. There’s even a four-seater buggy you can eat inside of in the dining room; it’s available on a first-come, first-serve basis. The restaurant also offers occasional buggy rides on Friday and Saturday evenings, depending on the weather.
For a lighter meal, head over to The Cheese House. In addition to selling deli meat and more than 50 varieties of cheese, the shop serves subs, panini sandwiches and ice cream. The store also has an interesting array of dry goods, including colorful sprinkles, Amish popcorn and scoopable candies. On the weekends, diners can enjoy homemade cinnamon rolls and pies.
Be sure and pop into The Corner Cupboard, a quaint antique shop located in the same building. The shop has a fun mix of vintage housewares, local crafts and other odds and ends.
Another fun shopping experience is Yutzy’s Farm Market. The market sells produce from local farmers as well as fruits and vegetables from neighboring states. The store’s website lists what produce is currently for sale. The market also has a huge selection of bulk foods and deli goods.
Even kids will enjoy wandering the aisles looking at the spices, candies, baking supplies and various other dry goods. Don’t leave without sampling the homemade whoopee pie — a delicious dollop of marshmallow fluff between two chewy oatmeal cookies.
The market also features a pick-your-own strawberry patch and sells Ohio-made play equipment.
Children have their pick of fun places to play in Plain City.
Locals favor Pastime Park. The awesome green space offers camping, disc golf, a playground and is home to Plain City Aquatic Center. The outdoor facility features a zero-depth entry pool, a spray pad and water slide.
No drive through Plain City is complete without a look at the old Clock Tower, located at the corner of Chillicothe and Main streets. Tique-Tock, a store filled with interesting antiques and collectibles, sits at the tower’s base now.
The Plain City Public Library offers a variety of family programs. The children’s area has a puppet theatre stocked with lots of colorful puppets. There are also fun interactive displays and plenty of cozy spots for reading.
Families will definitely want to check out a few other nearby businesses.
Main Street Treasures has a unique selection of gifts — everything from jewelry and collectibles to chocolates and handmade aprons. The shop also stocks some locally made items like felt school banners and wood crafts.
Wise Brothers Sporting Goods sells new and used sporting equipment. The ever-changing merchandise covers a wide variety of sports, including soccer, football and volleyball.
Sports fans also will want to visit Phoenix Bat Company, which crafts wooden bats for major-league players and history buffs who play in old-school leagues that follow the rules from the mid-nineteenth century.
Phoenix offers factory tours at 6 p.m. Tuesdays and 1:30 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays. The cost is $10 and visitors receive a custom-engraved mini bat.