Lock 24: Rustic and Wonderful
Elkton, Ohio, has special meaning for me as my mother taught school there in a one room school house during World War II. She would drive there each day from Youngstown; getting to the schoolhouse early to start the wood burning fire that heated the building. The school was still standing a number of years ago, although I didn’t see it this trip. Probably gone now.
One of the best Thanksgivings I can remember was spent at Lock 24 in Elkton. That was years ago. My in-laws drove up from Mansfield for Thanksgiving dinner. My wife was teaching school, so we decided to eat out. It was a grey November day…a few snow showers. If you called Hollywood and asked for a set for a rustic Thanksgiving dinner…it would be Lock 24. Surprisingly there weren’t all that many people there. But the food was memorable, and the ride there and back put the scene in scenic. It’s funny how you remember impressions rather than the specifics of life’s events.
Lock 24 has functioned as a restaurant for many, many years…surviving through several owners. When it first opened, it was a white table cloth type restaurant. We would put on our best dressy casual duds for dinner. The second floor had a gift shop that offered some really pretty and rustic chachkies. When the owners decided to close to pursue other dreams, it was a sad day.
Fast forward to 2019. Lock 24 had been operating under new ownership for several years and nobody bothered to tell me. I was thrilled to re-discover an old friend. My wife and I have made several trips to Elkton over the past few weeks to see if it lived up to some of the rave reviews I have read. It does!! Hooray!!!
It is still a rustic restaurant masterpiece. Located in a barn built in the 1830’s along an old canal with the shortest covered bridge in America nearby…you might expect the Walton’s to drive by on their way to the General Store. It has a really great bar and the patio must be a hit in the summer. They have turned the upstairs into a wine bar. It opened just a few weeks ago. Next trip down we will spend some time.
The white table cloth gig is long gone…and it can now be described as solid casual dining with American high-end pub grub raised to even higher levels. The menu is deceiving. A first glance it doesn’t look all that extensive. But by the time you get to the bottom and you have made a mental note of all the things you would like to try…it is a fairly extensive menu.
Emphasis is on casual food. Lots of interesting burgers and salads and creative appetizers and several gourmet sandwiches. The obligatory ribs were served to the table next to ours and looked wonderful. There are several steaks that are fired grilled with Prime Rib served on Saturday nights. The sirloin steak was perfect two visits ago. The Prime Rib came out undercooked last Saturday night. I sent it back reluctantly drawing on my restaurant experience that undercooked meat sent back invariably comes back well done. Not so here. It came back perfect and was delicious. All but one of the salad dressings are made in-house. It also offers several fish and chicken entrees and flat breads for a wide variety from which to choose.
As I said earlier, impressions stay longer than specific memories of an event. When you eat out as often as we do, after a while it all turns into a blur. So here are my impressions. The atmosphere is half the experience. The other half is divided between driving around “them parts” and the food being very, very good. The service was prompt, efficient and friendly. Buy wine by the bottle here as opposed to by the glass. Pricing is more than fair. Get the sweet potato casserole!!
And they take reservations. Take advantage of that. Next time I will try the ribs!!!
Four out of five meatballs.
Phone: (330) 420-0464
42087 OH-154, Lisbon, OH 44432