HARRISVILLE A reader friend tipped me off to Conlins Hometown Bakery in Harrisville.
The restaurant was the former home to the legendary Jim Scanlons Bread. It is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The food is quite good, the service attentive and very reasonably priced.
With that vote of confidence, we journeyed to Harrisville last week for lunch.
The Bakery doesnt have the most appealing front, but once inside youve entered a clean, friendly hometown eatery. The aroma of fresh baked goods excites the senses. Trays of doughnuts, cinnamon rolls, cookies and turnovers cover the lunch counter, dedicated to displaying the pastries rather than accommodating diners.
Its really much more than a bakery, we quickly found out.
We chose a table for two by the front window. Our friendly young waitress brought menus and told us about the lunch special. We were astounded at the number of choices available for all three meals.
Four pages for lunch alone: deep-fried appetizers, cold sandwiches, hot sandwiches, burgers, wraps, quesadillas, salads, subs, pizzas, calzones and wings.
We started with a small pizza and chose two toppings, bacon and anchovies ($12.49). My reader friend told me that Jim Tabolt bought the Bakery about a year ago. Prior to that, he worked at Vinnies Pizzeria in Croghan, known for its excellent pizzas.
Jims pizza was more than excellent it was fabulous! One of the best weve had in a long, long time. This was a wonderful, homemade, thin-crust pizza, served hot, with just the right amount of bacon, anchovies and sauce. The cheese was melted and browned perfectly and the yeasty aroma was heavenly.
While we waited for the pizzas to arrive, we continued to scope out the menu. Wed need a busload of people to try everything offered for lunch, but there were just two of us.
So we decided on a turkey Reuben ($7.59) and a taco wrap ($7.99).
A Reuben is traditionally made with rye bread and corned beef. The Bakery makes theirs with homemade wheat bread and turkey, and of course the obligatory Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and Russian dressing.
It was packed full of ingredients (maybe a little heavy on the dressing) and grilled to perfection. It was delicious and plentiful.
The taco wrap was generously stuffed with all the yummy fixins usually found in a taco: seasoned ground beef, lettuce, tomato, onion, black olives and cheddar jack cheese. It was one yummy wrap, full of fresh ingredients all wrapped up in a soft flour tortilla. Although they werent needed, sour cream and salsa were served on the side.
These were two great sandwiches, both served with homemade potato chips. They were good, but would have been even better if they had been fresh out of the fryer.
Sampling some of the pastries that had been tempting us throughout lunch was a must. We decided to take our goodies home to enjoy later since we had eaten more than enough for lunch. We loaded up two large Styrofoam containers.
The cinnamon rolls were huge. I mean really huge about eight inches around, taking up most of the room in the clamshell. We had enough room for a carrot cake doughnut and some white chocolate chip cookies.
But then, as we were ogling the selections lining the counter, Jim came out from the kitchen with a fresh-out-of-the-oven sheet tray of warm blackberry turnovers. We were determined to make room in our containers for these.
Heres the truth: The turnovers never made it out of the parking lot. Working with puff pastry is no easy feat, but Jim has it down. The pastry was flaky and flavorful, the fresh blackberry filling heavenly. Just the right amount of sweetness all around. Amazing.
Back home, the other pastries were very good but probably should have been enjoyed at the restaurant earlier in the day rather than at home in the evening. Unlike store-bought baked goods, fresh bakery goods contain no preservatives, and their freshness and appeal tend to diminish by the hour.
I did think the white chocolate chip cookies were excellent. I like to put my cookies in the fridge or even the freezer. Love em that way.
Lunch for two cost $28.94 before tip. Two to-go boxes full of pastries (enough for four) added $15 to the bill.
As we paid our tab at the counter, we got to peek into the kitchen. It looked clean and well-organized good to know.
All in all, this was a terrific dining experience and a sure bet if you like flavorful, well-prepared food. The owner does much of the cooking. Hes made this a great little eatery and should be proud.
Harrisville is a one-street little downtown village with at least four restaurants, most of which we have visited. We really loved the food at Conlins Hometown Bakery and plan to return.
You can contact restaurant reviewer Walter Siebel via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Conlins Hometown Bakery
8207 Main St.
Much more than a bakery, Conlins is a diner-style eatery offering breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as an array of fresh baked goods.
HOURS: 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. Tuesday
7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday
7 a.m.. to 1 p.m. Sunday
OUR PICKS: Fresh crust pizza with bacon and anchovies for toppings, turkey Reuben, taco wrap, any of the baked goods