Wanderlust Wednesday: Balyeat’s Coffee Shop

Balyeat’s Coffee Shop. RL Fifield photo, 2005.

Gas was 99 cents a gallon in the Midwest in May of 2005. Driving east across the Indiana state line, my friend Mrs. G and I entered Van Wert, Ohio.

There, beckoning to us in hot neon:

Balyeat’s Coffee Shop
Young Fried Chicken
Day and Night


Balyeat’s counter, with the pie cabinet on the right. RL Fifield photo, 2005.

It was around 10am and we’d had a rather unsatisfying diner breakfast in Fort Worth. But I went in to grab a cup of coffee all the same and check out the interior. Balyeat’s was founded in 1924 to accommodate the swarms of Lincoln Highway travelers that passed its door. Today, it hosts mostly locals. The waitress lists what’s good today;  you can ask for a menu if you like. The 1970s renovations are unfortunate, but after traveling for a few days, Mrs. G and I got savvy to the fact that you have to discern those restaurants cooking from scratch, and those that use pre-prepared food service. This place is the real deal.  Read this article about Balyeat’s and its owner, Dale Davies, from the Toledo Blade. And then try to resist your new-found pie craving.


About Becky Fifield

Becky Fifield is a cultural heritage professional with 25 years experience in institutions large and small. She is currently Head of Collection Management for the Special Collections of the New York Public Library. An advocate for preventive conservation, Ms. Fifield is a Professional Associate of the American Institute for Conservation, Chair of the AIC Collection Care Network, and former Chair of Alliance for Response NYC. She is also a scholar of 18th century female unfree labor and dress. There's a bit of pun in the title The Still Room, delineating a quiet space brimming with the ingredients of memory, where consideration, analysis, and wordcraft can take place. Ms. Fifield’s interests include museum practice, dress history, historic preservation, transit, social and women’s history, food, current events, geneaology, roadtrips, and considerations on general sense of place. Becky and her husband, Dr. V, live in the Hudson Valley.

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