Al's Corner Restaurant
 Barberton, Ohio        Date of Visit  04/21/14             
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Every time I get to this incredible little gem in Barberton, I wonder why in the world I go so seldom. I had never heard of it till the butcher shop they are related to was written up in Gourmet Magazine and we had given them a try shortly afterward.  It usually takes me a bit to remember they are only open for three hours in the middle of the day. That’s why it’s hard for us to make it there. The service and structure haven’t changed at all but the young lady who served us from the steam table was more cheerful than I remembered from previous visits.


New Digs Soon

It's What They Got...Just Point & Eat
The structure hasn’t changed but it is about to, there is a sign in the window proclaiming a move and merger of the shop and the restaurant into the same place instead of half a block down the street. That should be interesting. Hmmmm....I wonder if it will still be Al's Corner?

The ogre ordered the sampler which comes with a pile of stuff. Namely, Hungarian sausage (hot or mild…he got mild), stuffed cabbage, chicken paprikash, a pierogie, cabbage and dumplings with a slice of bread and butter. Even the mild sausage packs some serious flavor. The meat/starch/veg items and combos are simple and simply wonderful, full of deep flavor and well suited to the steam table service.

Old World Stupidgood Stuffed Cabbage

I Don't Want To Know How Much Butter Is In The Dumplings & Cabbage

Looks Hot...But Just Super Flavorful

Even The Mild Slovenian Sausage Has Great Forward Flavor

I ordered a hot sausage sandwich. The soft bun failed miserably at containing the pile of kraut, peppers and onions piled on top. It looks more like a grilled veggie sandwich but the paprika, cayenne and garlic loaded into this link could blow through buckets of veg.

I added a single pierogie, loaded…which means buttery onions, bacon and sour cream. Cutting into the tater pocket released a slow ooze of cheese from the middle…perfect. Tell ya the truth, I would just get the pierogie and leave all the noise off the top of it. The cheese stands alone (with the tater and pasta).

They had something else I hadn’t seen before, sausage rolls…one with an Italian sausage and provolone cheese, the other hot Hungarian and cheddar. Both are wrapped in a flaky puff pastry and are excellent versions of pigs in a blanket, just for adult palates and way better.

That's All The Sausage It Takes To Pack Huge Roll With Flavor

Onion, Bacon & Sour Cream Load The Pierogie

But Are Wholly Unnecessary. This Thing Is Awesome!

Pigs In A Blanket On Crack

This Little Piggy Went In My Mouth. This One Wanted To Go To Market. Nope, Mouth.

The strudel of the day was cherry…okay, we’re splitting one of those. When I went up to get one there was a basket of beer bread slices with honey butter, now we’re splitting one of each. I got the bread and butter on a lark…it was there, but I would’ve gotten more had I known. The smear (So real butter) is sweet which would quickly bore but once the butter melts the crumbly textured (sorta like soda bread) and crisply crusted slice brings a sudden and definitive bitter hoppy bite. Then there is the strudel. I might trip a kid in a race for the last piece of this stuff. The layer after layer of thin dough never crunches clunkily but is surrenderingly crisp on all four sides…even the bottom. The inside is stuffed with sour and tangy cherries wrapped in thick, red and sweet happiness. I’m going to have to get there more often.|

Surprising Layers Of Taste

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  B- A- Simple, Serious, Stupendous.
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Al's Corner Restaurant 
 Barberton, Ohio        Date of Visit  03/22/10              No Known Website

This journey resulted from a surprising find in Gourmet magazine. A couple of years ago they featured a local business and their old world approach to charcuterie or making sausages. While they went into detail regarding that aspect of the business they did quickly mention that there was also a small restaurant operated just down the block. Hence the visit to Al’s Corner Restaurant in Barberton Ohio.




I had actually been past the place on occasion but had never noticed it sitting there on the corner right downtown. Stepping inside assures you that the owners are not overly concerned with accommodations. Small booths line one wall, tables the other, a drinks station rests against the back wall, and a u shaped counter bends its way through the middle. I get the feel that the counter was the original put in by Woolworths or some other long gone department store that had a soda shop. The paint is cracking, the coolers hum noisily, the seating does not appear comfortable, but there is a line of people standing in front of a steam table waiting to order and eat.

The menu is haphazardly screwed into the wall and lists a number of familiar comfort foods. Stuffed cabbage, pierogis, chicken paprikash, sauerkraut, noodles and cabbage, and of course Al’s famous sausage in a mild Slovene or spicy Hungarian. You get your plate right at the steam table and saunter to whatever chair looks like it might hold you up.

Galumpki (Stuffed Cabbage)

Halushka (Cabbage and Dumplings/Noodles)

Chicken Paprikash

All three of us ordered the sampler platter which consisted of tastes of all of the above. Cabbage and noodles swaddled in butter, rich and spicy orange sauces run over the cabbage roll and the chicken and dumplings. The spicy version of the sausage has an excellent snap and flavor that easily stands out against everything else on the plate. All in all everything on the plate is rich and comforting in a Middle-European sort of way. Plastic plates and utensils fit right in with the rustic settings and the service.
While we were standing in front of the table watching our plates get loaded down, an employee strolled past us carrying a tray of apple strudel. Oh jeez, as if the three pounds of comfort food on the plate aren't bad enough. Well, we split a piece and let me just say, if everyone made strudel taste like this, crispy layers of thin dough encasing perfect apple filling, we might be singing "Baseball, Hot Dogs, Apple Strudel, and Chevrolet" in commercials. The only reason to head to Al’s are the Hungarian classics but they are certainly more than reason enough.

Apple Strudel




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