downtown tiffin dining

Downtown Tiffin Business Directory connects businesses and customers

Interactive site allows people to search products, categories

TIFFIN, OHIO – May 4, 2021 – A new website is available for residents and visitors to find out everything that is offered in Downtown Tiffin with just a click of a button. The Downtown Tiffin Business Directory is an interactive site where customers can search for products that are available downtown, including shopping, dining, classes and arts. It is a one stop location for downtown business information, and it links directly to the individual business pages for online shopping options. 

The site features a search bar to find individual items or services and category tabs for Art, Classes, Fitness, Food & Drink, Glass, Home, Religion, Services, and Shopping. To find the site, visit downtowntiffinevents.com and click the button on the top of the page (or click here from your browser).

The service was developed by Judy Smith and members of the Downtown Business Enhancement Committee to support downtown small businesses.

Bill Jones, chair of the Downtown Business Enhancement Committee said, “We’re excited to be able to link all of the downtown businesses with this website and show people that there’s a lot to do in Downtown Tiffin.”

About Downtown Tiffin

The revitalization of downtown Tiffin began in 2011, when a group of community members came together to for “Tiffin Tomorrow”, with the goal of promoting and encouraging economic development in downtown Tiffin, and creating plans, programs and actions to ensure long-term vitality and prosperity. In 2014, the city of Tiffin contracted with SIEDC to act as the downtown organization and “Tiffin Tomorrow” came under the SIEDC umbrella as the “Downtown Development Committee,” which serves as the governing board of the downtown organization. In 2015, Tiffin joined Heritage Ohio’s Ohio Main Street Program. For more information, click here.

B.E.S.T. to open in Downtown Tiffin

Restaurant featuring street tacos, breakfast staples

TIFFIN, OHIO – April 22, 2021 – B.E.S.T. Taco Shop & Breakfast Spot (BEST) a veteran-owned taqueria, has announced today that it is planning to open in mid-May at 45 S. Washington St., across from The Ritz Theatre in Downtown Tiffin.

The restaurant gets its name for the acronym for Bacon, Eggs, and Street Tacos (B.E.S.T.), as a reference to the menu, which will include popular items such as California-inspired and baja-style street tacos, homemade fire-roasted salsa and guacamole, burritos, quesadillas, traditional sides, an Ohio based queso and breakfast items; including breakfast tacos and burritos, omelets and fresh fruits. The restaurant will also have many vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free and low carb options.

Owner/operator Jeff Snavely, a Tiffin Columbian High School graduate, served in the U.S. Army and then lived in Arizona and California for a few years before returning to Tiffin in 2014. He has been working on making the restaurant a reality after more than two years of planning and investments.

“This community is such a fabulous place to live, work, and eat. Seeing the way that the community has grown under its excellent leadership, I wanted to be part of that and make something for my family and give back to my hometown,” Snavely said. “I want to take this opportunity to thank my friends and family who encouraged and helped me in every way toward taking this leap, and especially to my brother Matt Snavely, whose faith and support helped make this dream possible.”

Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz is excited to see the new eatery opening. “Congratulations to Jeff Snavely on the opening of B.E.S.T. I’m proud that we continue to attract new, exciting businesses in Downtown Tiffin.”

B.E.S.T. will be open 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 8 a.m.-8p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Breakfast is available for delivery 8 a.m.-1 p.m. on the weekends. The lunch/dinner menu available 11 a.m.-8 p.m. daily. While the restaurant will be open for dine-in in the near future, the preferred service method is carry-out and delivery for the time being. For more information, find B.E.S.T. on Facebook and look for their website with full menu soon. For hiring information, email resumes to bestoftiffin@gmail.com.

About the Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership

Started in 1983 as the Seneca Industrial and Economic Development Corp. (SIEDC), the Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership is a private, non-profit corporation dedicated to driving positive economic, downtown, and community development in Tiffin and Seneca County, Ohio, which consistently ranks among the top communities nationally for economic development. Learn more about the great things going on in Tiffin and Seneca County at www.tiffinseneca.org.

Bear’s Den expanding business with new patio space

$40,000 investment includes second bar outdoors

TIFFIN, OHIO – Aug. 10, 2020 – The Bear’s Den, 68 E. Perry St., celebrating 46 years in Downtown Tiffin, will be expanding its business with a $40,000 investment into the construction of an updated patio space. Plans to have the space changed were approved by the City of Tiffin Architectural Board of Review in June.

The investment includes removing the current patio and replacing it with a new patio to be partially covered by a slant roof and installing rod iron fencing along the sidewalk, as well as extending utilities out to the new patio to for a second, outdoor bar, which would be accessible by a new door leading out of the establishment. The increased space will allow for more outdoor seating and entertainment.

“I needed to add more outdoor seating, but wanted to give people something nicer than what my old patio had to offer,” said Dennis Wickert, who has owned the Bear’s Den since 1974. “Thanks to the City of Tiffin, Clouse Construction and Croghan Colonial Bank for their help and support.”

Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz commented, “It is always great news to see a longstanding business investing in our community, but it is especially exciting to have more high quality outdoor seating options and the opportunity for people to better experience wonderful Downtown Tiffin.”

About Downtown Tiffin

The revitalization of downtown Tiffin began in 2011, when a group of community members came together to for “Tiffin Tomorrow”, with the goal of promoting and encouraging economic development in downtown Tiffin, and creating plans, programs and actions to ensure long-term vitality and prosperity. In 2014, the city of Tiffin contracted with SIEDC to act as the downtown organization and “Tiffin Tomorrow” came under the SIEDC umbrella as the “Downtown Development Committee,” which serves as the governing board of the downtown organization. In 2015, Tiffin joined Heritage Ohio’s Ohio Main Street Program. For more information, click here.

How to start a food business in Tiffin

Phat CakesWith the influx of new businesses in Tiffin, many of which are food related, we would like to provide information on starting that process. This is a guide describing the steps to opening your food business. This process is required for starting a new food or beverage establishment, a remodeled or altered establishment, when there is a change of ownership or when an establishment has been closed for more than a year.

1. How to Begin: In the Guide to Starting a Food Business you will find a complete description of the process, time frame, fee schedule, additional permit contacts, required equipment and a final inspection checklist. The packet also contains a Review Application which must be completed by the business owner.

2. Submission: To obtain your license, you must submit a set of plans, the completed application and plan review fees to the Seneca County General Health District (SCGHD), which has 30 days to review those items. When plans are approved, the owner must contact the SCGHD to set up a pre-licensing inspection.

3. Pre-licensing Inspection: This inspection will take place after all equipment is in place, cleaning is done and all required inspections are completed by the building, plumbing, electrical and fire agencies.

Please see the Program Guidelines for all of the rules and regulations and/or contact Nicki Rumaschlag with the SCGHD at 419.447.3691 ext. 348 with any questions you may have.

Empire at 138 brings fine dining downtown

New restaurant plans winter opening

IMG_20150917_141127TIFFIN, OHIO – September 18, 2015 – This winter, a new, upscale restaurant will be opening at 136-138 S. Washington St. in Tiffin. Called the Empire at 138, the establishment will bring a historic flair to white tablecloth dining in downtown Tiffin.

“The building dates back to the mid-1800s, when it was part of the ‘Empire Block.’ We would like to bring some of that historic Tiffin feel back to the downtown, and create an elite dining experience” partner Rick Reser said.

Focused on preserving and reusing as many historical architectural elements as possible, Reser and wife Renee Perry, also a business partner, are currently renovating 136 S. Washington, which will serve as the dining room of the new restaurant. The other building, 138, is to house the bar ­— a historical piece from McClain’s Restaurant in Bellevue — which will feature a wide range of cocktails and local beer as well as a broad wine list.

Open for both a casual lunch and an upscale dinner, partner and Chef Mike Pinkston describes the menu as, “classic American fare using organic and as many local ingredients as possible.” There will also be vegan and vegetarian options, as well as high-quality meats and seasonal items.

The Empire joins the developing “grow local” initiative in Seneca County currently supported by area organizations and businesses, such as Grow Seneca, the Seneca County Farmers Market and the Beehive Café.

About SIEDC

Started in 1983, the Seneca Industrial and Economic Development Corp. (SIEDC) is a private, non-profit corporation dedicated to driving positive economic, downtown, and community development in Tiffin and Seneca County, Ohio, which consistently ranks among the top communities nationally for economic development. Learn more about the great things going on at the company’s blog at www.senecasuccess.com.

Recap – first Downtown Historic Bar Tour a success

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The downtown Tiffin revitalization efforts have been hard at work helping to enhance the great events that downtown Tiffin has offered in the last few years and starting some others. One of the new ones this year is expected to take place every year – the Downtown Historic Bar Tour.

Starting at the Clover Club, participants made their way through downtown Tiffin on South Washington Street, stopping at eight unique Tiffin bars. At the beginning of the tour, participants received a booklet with historical information about the bars and bar owners gave a brief history of their establishment at each stop. Kudos to tour host Seneca County Young Professionals for a great event.

Here is the complete list of bars visited on the tour:

  • Clover Club: Opened in 1936, the Clover Club features an antique art-deco bar, white tablecloth dining area and landscaped patio garden, not to mention 18 taps and a stock of 50 different beers.
  • GW’s Fine Food & Spirits: GW’s opened in May 2010 and caters to not only the bar crowd but also the after-bar crowd with food service and late hours on the weekends. This bar features two dining areas and a large patio with seating.
  • DP’s: Don Paull has owned DP’s since 1972, and it was one of the last ‘stag’ bars in Tiffin. DP’s has a nautical theme and a unique layout with four different levels and a patio area closed in by the building’s walls.
  • MST Pub and Grub: MST is made up of three separate buildings, all of which served a variety of different purposes over the last 100 years. The current bar was established in October 2009.
  • Reino’s Party Room (lunch): Reino’s Pizza and Pasta was established in 1950 and has always served beer and wine along with Italian food. Its current location on West Market Street was once the National Theater, among other businesses.
  • Bear’s Den:The Bear’s Den has been a bar or tavern since the early 1950’s. Dennis Wickert bought Izola’s Tavern in 1974, later changed the name to Bear’s Den and has been running the bar with his wife, Gwynn, since 1986. Bear’s Den often hosts live music on Saturdays.
  • Phat Cakes & Cafe: Phat Cakes was founded in 2009 and opened the store on Washington Street, which started out as The Sandwich Shop in the mid-1930s and was later Reino’s, in 2012. They offer a full menu, including desserts, sandwiches, wraps and salads, along with alcohol.
  • Viaduct Bar & Grill: The Viaduct started out as a bar in late 1800s. It has had many names since, but it has been the Viaduct since 2010. The bar often hosts live music on the weekends, and boasts a unique outdoor patio with seating and a pond.
  • McGowan’s Tavern: This building once housed “the largest movie theater on the West side of the river.” For many years it was an “Arcade” under several different owners before becoming McGowan’s Tavern in the mid-1960s.

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Phat Cakes offers hip cuisine in Tiffin’s downtown

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A view of the cupcake case at Phat Cakes.

I had dinner at Phat Cakes & Cafe for the first time in downtown Tiffin last night, and it didn’t disappoint. The decor is clean and neat with a hint of urban vibe. College students, residents, visitors – a nice mix of people who come to the two-year old restaurant started by Pittsburgh culinary graduate Natalie Wertz, who honed her skills in Columbus and Pittsburgh before choosing to move back to Tiffin.

There’s a glint in her eye as she discusses one of the new dinner specials–the Cali French Toast–and how a visit to California and the taste of orange-infused French Toast inspired her to create it. She’s pleased one of her regular patrons–who always orders the house famous Black Jac, a blackened chicken breast on a panko-crusted pepper jack macaroni and cheese dish–ventures to try her new creation. They were glad they did. It’s also worth mentioning that they have a nice wine and beer selection (on tap…on this night I had the Magic Hat #9.)

Wertz’s local fame grew because of her custom cakes (wedding, birthday, shaped cakes) and cupcakes, which is still a passion of hers. Cupcake choices available during my visit included the warm fudgy Red Velvet and a Bananas Foster, among others (I had the bread pudding, though). A nice selection of tempting cheesecakes, brownies, and cookies were also there for dessert.

Thursday nights also feature live jazz, which often showcases local jazz band Zarathustra. Phat Cakes also gets a lot of traffic from people attending one of the shows at the $6.6M renovated Ritz Theatre. In the future, Wertz hopes to add more tables and perhaps a party/gathering/overflow room. She is definitely a “Seneca Success.”

Northwest Ohio’s only Vegan restaurant + grocery store

Outside SignOK, I get to brag about one of my newfound favorite downtown hangouts – Phoebe’s Healthier Options. For those that haven’t heard of Phoebe’s, it’s a great little cafe restaurant and grocery store located in downtown Tiffin (138 S. Washington) that opened last year. Owner Wendy Welly became vegan — meaning she doesn’t eat meat or dairy — about four years ago and wanted to create a place for “healther options” eating. It’s a great option for anyone wanting to grab some healthy fast food, and the removal of meat and dairy also means the removal of cholesterol, a lot of fat, as the inclusion of fresh, wholesome organic (grown without pesticides) ingredients. It’s the only Vegan restaurant in northwest Ohio (see happycow.net) – how about that for Tiffin being trendy :)

Her menu includes homemade wraps, soups, pasta and rice dishes, smoothies, and great appetizers like fresh hummus and guacamole with veggies or chips (see menu). My favorites include the Sloppy Joe wrap (lentils in a seasoned red sauce with pickles and onions) as well as the new Sweet Potato Black Bean Burger, which her husband Mark inspired her to create.

The atmosphere is relaxed and friendly, and Welly wanted it to be reminiscent of the 80s TV show Cheers, where everybody knows your name. The restaurant does make people comfortable, and it sees a lot of regulars. There are also classes on various health trends (juicing, essential oils, etc.) held there as well as a monthly Vegan potluck and movie night. It’s also worth noting that she sells great bulk spices, nuts, raisins, seeds and other items from Rock Run Bulk Foods (also located in Tiffin.)