15800 National Rd.
Saint Clairsville Ohio 43950United States
Line up with customers from three states for well-made comfort food -- including heavenly pies -- at modest prices.
Melhman's sits on a hilltop just above Interstate-70 and actually is located on the Historic National Road in St. Clairsville, which makes it a roadside dining classic. This single-story, unassuming building can be difficult to find the first time because it looks more like a motel than a restaurant (keep your eyes peeled for a concrete building with a large blacktop parking lot on the south side of US-40). If you see a double line of customers winding around the building, you'll know you've got the right place. Don't let the line intimidate you; it moves quickly and chatting with your neighbors in line is part of the Mehlman's experience. Once inside, you'll notice that Mehlman's has that frozen-in-time feel of a roadside classic. Not much seems to have changed since Mary and Fred Mehlman turned the building from motel to restaurant in 1966. The wood paneling, dark carpet and stained glass accents give Mehlman's a well-worn country-kitchen feel. The menu, which changes daily, is homemade comfort food, meat and potatoes with not a fresh vegetable in sight (check the website for the day's offerings, if you're curious before you go). You'll find old favorites like fried chicken ($2.20) and prime rib ($7.95), with all the sides you'd expect at your grandmother's Sunday dinner. Nothing on the main menu is really spectacular, its appeal is in familiarity and really low prices. The pies at Melhman's are the treat, with just about every flavor -- from classic apple to old-fashioned raisin ($1.60). If you like peanut butter, try the peanut butter pie here; it's good enough to make old men throw elbows for the last piece! In classic cafeteria style, desserts are served first here, so you'll have to commit to pie (or cake, tapioca pudding, Jell-O or dumplings) before you pick the rest of your meal. Mehlman's is affordable, quick and clean, and a great alternative to the regular road-trip fast food. The best menu comparison (and it works for clientele, too) is Bob Evans, but more authentic. Bring cash; credit cards are not accepted. Mehlman's is closed on Mondays.