On a recent cold and rainy Saturday afternoon, some friends and I paid a lunchtime visit to the Dry Hill General Store and Deli in Butler. Owned and operated by Richard and Carolyn Dugger, the business combines an old-fashioned general store with a comfortable, cozy eatery featuring two dining rooms built around a kitchen area and front counter.
Customers enter through the store and make their way to the dining area. The walls are covered with a light wood paneling. Seating is available at wooden tables equipped with chairs upholstered with teal-colored vinyl. During our visit, the dining area was also decorated with red Christmas ornaments hanging from a wrap-around shelf that also displays vintage soda bottles, as well as sporting memorabilia connected with Cleveland, Ohio. Overall, the dining area is clean, cozy and quite welcoming.
Open six days a week for breakfast, lunch and dinner, the eatery offers a rotating selection of daily specials while the menu spotlights sandwiches, burgers, dinner meals and even pizza.
We were invited to choose a table, and once we were settled, a server arrived with menus and to take our drink orders. I considered some of the burger options, including the Chili Cheeseburger and the Double Cheeseburger. Although I was hungry, the Colossal Burger — a third-pound burger topped with country ham, a chicken patty, three slices of bacon, 2 slices of cheese and other assorted toppings — seemed a little too formidable.
I also looked over the sandwich offerings, including the Bacon Ranch Chicken Sandwich, Grilled Ham and Cheese, Club Sandwich and Fried Bologna Sandwich.
I decided to order the Famous Dry Hill Patty Melt, which features a third-pound burger patty topped with a choice of provolone or Swiss cheese, sauteed onions and mayonnaise on either Texas toast or grilled rye bread. I chose the provolone cheese and the rye for my patty melt.
My friends ordered the Reuben, the Two Hot Dog Special Supreme Platter and a special that paired a BLT Sandwich with a bowl of Chicken Vegetable Soup. On a cold day, the soup sounded so appealing that myself and my friend with the Reuben also decided to add a bowl of it to our orders.
Dry Hill also offers cold subs, as well as the variety of hot sandwiches. Some examples include Roast Beef and Cheese Sub, Italian Sub, Cajun Turkey Sub and the Mountain Delight Sub, which consists of ham, turkey, bacon, lettuce, tomatoes, onions and honey mustard dressing on a sub roll.
The eatery also offers several dinner platters, including Grilled Chicken, Fried Flounder, Hamburger Steak, Fried Shrimp, Country Ham and Sugar Cured Ham.
In addition to my patty melt and soup, I also ordered a side of Sweet Potato Fries. Other side items include a Side Garden Salad, Cole Slaw, Curly Fries, Tater Tots and French Fries.
The meals arrived quite promptly. The soup tasted wonderful and indeed helped chase off the chill of a cold, rainy day. The homemade soup features plenty of vegetables, including carrots, green beans, cabbage, corn and potatoes, all simmered in a tomato-based broth with plenty of white-meat chicken.
I also liked the well-prepared patty melt with the crisp, tasty Sweet Potato Fries, which were served with a dipping sauce of honey butter, sugar and cinnamon.
I also noticed with approval that my friend’s Reuben was prepared in the traditional manner, with plenty of corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and Thousand Island Dressing piled onto grilled rye bread.
Before we finished the meal, we surrendered to temptation and tried some of the desserts showcased beneath the glass display case at the front of the dining area. The sweets featured during our visit included Butterscotch Pie, Coconut Pie, Chocolate Pie and Almond Joy Cake. A sign at the display case also noted that most of the pies and cakes are available as whole desserts for purchase in time for Christmas and other holiday gatherings.
I tried a slice of the Chocolate Pie, as did one of the other members of my dining party. Another friend chose the Butterscotch Pie. Both desserts tasted smooth, sweet and delicious. The Chocolate Pie features a dark, rich chocolate mousse in a pastry pie shell topped with plenty of whipped topping dusted with chocolate shavings.
A bite of the butterscotch pie was exchanged for a bite of the chocolate, so I can assure that both desserts would be much appreciated by diners with a sweet tooth.
If you’d like to give Dry Hill General Store and Deli a try soon, keep in mind that on Saturday, Dec. 21, the eatery will hold its Christmas dinner. This special meal will start serving at 3 p.m. and feature turkey or grilled ham with dressing, gravy, mashed potatoes, green beans, sweet potatoes, deviled eggs, cole slaw, cranberry salad, roll and a selection of desserts, including pumpkin brownie, coconut pie and a Christmas dessert.
Saturday’s meal will also feature special music by the Turkey Track Trio, a local band which will be holding a CD release party for its latest album, “Real Live Dolls,” from 5 to 8 p.m. It’s dinner and a show. How could you beat that?
If you can’t make it for the holiday meal, consider a visit in the near future. My friends and I all agreed that the food was quite tasty and prepared by people who knew what they are doing in the kitchen.
The prices are also quite affordable. You might even put a visit to Dry Hill high atop your list of New Year’s resolutions. If you do go, be sure to let them know they came recommended.
AT A GLANCE: Dry Hill General Store and Deli, 1535 Dry Hill Road, Butler. 768-3084. Monday-Saturday, 7 a.m.-7:30 p.m. Menu items $12.99 and under. Credit cards accepted. Carryout available.