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.