Outdoor seating, fresh and simple foods, and a central location near a park make Ed Picken's Cafe on Main a perfect lunch spot. On Mansfield's Main Street, the cafe is housed in a cavernous space that's polished and attractive, but seemed too large for a simple lunch cafe. After a little exploration, however, it's clearly more than just a cafe: signs advertised cooking classes in a small, pretty kitchen set near the front windows, local artists displayed works for sale along one wall, and we noticed references to renting Cafe on Main as a special-event location.
For lunch, guests line up at the counter at the back. Menus posted above a long counter list sandwiches, loaded hot dogs, soups, salads and wraps. A deli case displays an array of premade salads, including lettuce, egg and potato. Our apple-walnut salad came lightly dressed with an apple cider vinaigrette that perfectly complemented the crunchy apples, candied walnuts, red onion and fresh, tender greens. A cup of chili was a touch sweet — perhaps from ketchup?—but the seasoned ground beef brought just enough heat, and the base served up great tomato flavor. A tasty roast beef sandwich with red onion and aioli, served warm, carried the humorous name Shawshankwich (a nod to Mansfield's Ohio State Penitentiary, a main player in the movie The Shawshank Redemption).
We sat outside at the bistro tables, rather than in the echo-y cafe, and watched the world go by. All in all, Ed Picken's Cafe on Main makes a wonderful stop for lunch—especially on a pretty day.