Canal Tavern's menu features taste of Zoar heritage
TimesReporter.com Barb Limbacher
Bread pudding, prepared using an original Zoar recipe, is a favorite dessert served at the Canal Tavern of Zoar.
A Zoar-area tavern which originally opened for business more than 180 years ago is making a comeback.
The Canal Tavern of Zoar (formerly Inn on the River) opened last year after a three year hiatus. Jon and Cindy Elsasser of Zoar purchased the tavern in 2011 and completely remodeled the interior before opening for business in the summer of 2012.
The tavern was originally opened in 1829 by the Society of Separatists of Zoar for use by travelers after an increase in traffic on the on the Ohio and Erie Canal, between Massillon and Dover. At that time, a blacksmith shop was located adjacent to the tavern to shoe the mules and horses that pulled the canal boats.
Chief Cameron Krahel and sous chef (second in charge) Natalie Hodous maintain day-to-day operations in the tavern’s kitchen, preparing all the food from scratch. Many of the recipes used by the restaurant are original Zoar dishes.
Krahel earned a degree in business management and culinary arts from Hocking College. He has been a chef 20 years. Hodous is a 2007 graduate of the Art Institute at Pittsburgh and has a bachelor’s degree in culinary management. Both have been at the tavern since it opened.
Among customer favorites are prime rib, Tavern Meatloaf (prepared in a crust), potato cakes, the Tavern Burger, German spaetzle and bread pudding.
The restaurant is open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for lunch Wednesday through Saturday and 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. for dinner Wednesday and Thursday and from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Brunch is served from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, with the grill available from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The following are several of the old Zoar recipes prepared daily at the Canal Tavern of Zoar.
11⁄2 cups milk
1 teaspoon salt
1⁄8 teaspoon nutmeg
1⁄8 teaspoon white pepper
1 pound flour
Beat eggs, milk and seasonings together. Add flour slowly until a smooth consistency. Over boiling water place a colander or spaetzle machine and allow the batter to drop through. Cook for a few minutes until the spaetzle floats to the top.
Scoop from boiling water and place spaetzle into an ice water bath. Then, sauté in butter and serve. To make soup add spaetzle to chicken stock.
1 pound Yukon gold potatoes
Mixed herbs (parsley, oregano, thyme)
1⁄2 pound flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
Salt and pepper to taste.
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1⁄2 cup chopped onion
2 cups half and half
In a food processor blend batches of potatoes, onion, half and half and herbs. (If a food processor is not available, use a grater and shred the potatoes and onions.) After the ingredients are blended, place into a separate bowl. Add the remaining ingredients, except for the flour, and mix thoroughly. Add flour (slowly) until a thick “pancake” consistency. In a skillet heat butter or oil and fry lightly (pancakes should be size of half-dollar coins). Top with a favorite topping such as gravy, a cream sauce, tomato topping or, German favorites sour cream or apple sauce.