Road Trip: The Lodge at Hide-A-Way Hills
Can't think of many better ways to spend a Sunday afternoon in the fall than driving down to scenic Hocking Hills, and that's exactly what I did this weekend. Michael Hermick, who's been running the Lodge at Hide-A-Way Hills since June, invited me and other local foodies to join in on a family-style meal featuring dishes from the restaurant's newly revamped menu.
I didn't know much at all about Hideaway Hills, much less the Lodge, before this trip. It's a gorgeous, 1,650-acre private resort community with more than 600 cottages and cabins dotted throughout. More than half the residents live there year-round; the other half are "weekenders" who drive in from Columbus and other cities.
The Lodge, nestled deep inside the resort, boasts a full-service restaurant and brewpup that caters mostly to residents but is also open to the public (as long as you make reservations in advance). This place is cozy and charming, with a definite woodsy ski lodge vibe. It's just fantastic this time of year, thanks to floor-to-ceiling windows looking out on the fall foliage. Highly recommended for a quick fall road trip.
Hermick was recruited by Liz Lessner, who owns a home in Hideaway Hills and serves on the Lodge's board, to take over operations at the restaurant earlier this summer. His menu is filled with hearty entrees (think meatloaf, steaks and lasagna) plus burgers, sandwiches, pizzas and salads. You may know Hermick's name from his Zapico Foods sauce line, and his marinara sauces, vinaigrette dressings and barbecue sauces are all incorporated into these dishes.
Here's a look at the multi-course feast we enjoyed Sunday:
Simple and spicy Italian Red Soup & Rice
House Dinner Salad with Hermick's housemade vinaigrette
Fall Off the Bone Baby Back Ribs. That's the actual menu name and, well, it's accurate. This meaty hunk of meat, slathered in Hermick's own fantastic BBQ sauce, did indeed fall off the bone--and was the highlight of the meal.
The main course was a beautiful Eggplant Parmesan, topped with Zapico marinara sauce.
And finally, a Bourbon Pecan Pumpkin Cheesecake. Outstanding.
Each course was paired with either a wine or a beer from the on-premises Hideaway Hills Microbrewery. We tried the smooth-tasting Rush Creek Lager and the darker, hoppier Pale Ale.
Driving to this place involves lots of steep, windy roads. So, accordingly, not everyone made it through the quite generous drink pours.
Our host relaxes after the meal.
The Lodge at Hide-A-Way Hills
29042 Hide-A-Way Hills Rd., Route 1, Sugar Grove
Hours: 5-9 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, 6-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday