Date of Trip: January 2005
Warren, Ohio, is a little town with a little charm tucked away between Cleveland and Pittsburg, near the once-vibrant steel city of Youngstown. If you’re traveling Route 422 in northeast Ohio, you’ll find yourself near Warren. Bordered by Niles, this area has amenities you won’t want to drive by.
Mocha House Restaurant
As a dying steel town in America’s heartland, Warren, Ohio, has few saving graces. I spent 2 months in the corner of northeast Ohio, but the Mocha House provided salvation for me! The comfortable dining room is clearly a local hangout for young people, as well as professionals from the nearby bank and court house. Both a smoking and a non-smoking section are available. With tables and booths alongside overstuffed chairs and couches, it’s easy to unwind with any one of the many beverage options the Mocha House offers. On my first trip there, I had the signature café mocha ($2 for a medium). It came complete with fresh whip cream and sprinkles. Expecting less than perfection from a small town coffee shop, I was put to shame. In a word: Excellent!
Many return trips lived up to my first experience at what locals call “the House.” The cappuccino ($1.75 for a single) offered up perfectly roasted espresso. Try a Peppermint Patty, a shot of espresso with crème de menthe, making for a refreshing, highly caffeinated cup ($1.75 for a single). Make sure to pick up a bag of coffee to brew at home; I recommend the classic Mocha Java, $11/lb, or the unforgettable Carmel Nut Fudge. This unique flavored bean is an amazingly smooth mix of fudge, caramel, and hazelnuts, and it also retails for $11/lb.
While I savored the coffees, tea lovers will find equal joy in the wide selections available behind the counter or for them to take home. Classics like Oolong, Green, and English Breakfast are served up along flavors like mango, wild cherry, and vanilla. There are also a number of chai options available.
With a menu for each meal, the Mocha House offers plenty of options for travelers. Vegetarians will find choices in an area saturated by meat lovers. I regret that I was only able to try their dinner selections. The back bean soup was thick with rich ingredients, the salads were always crisp, and the sandwiches were freshly made. A full meal is pricey for the area – around $10 – but it is well worth it. Eat in and chat for hours with friends, or take your food to get back on the road.
Under no circumstances should you pass up the to-die-for deserts. Known far and wide for their cheesecake, the House has amazing variety and flavor. Around Halloween I had the seasonal pumpkin cheesecake, and for the massive slice, I split the $4 and the cake with a friend. Classic chocolate, strawberry, and of course mocha cheesecakes will provide a slice of heaven.
The service matches the cheesecake in terms of delightful. The friendly Midwestern disposition is matched well with caffeinated locals eager to make your experience grand. Stop by — you won’t regret it.