Experience the beauty of the Appalachian Plateau in the friendly and welcoming city of Hocking Hills, Ohio. The area offers a prime spot to witness the beauty of nature as it changes through the seasons, from the color displays in autumn to the lush greenery of summer. Sunrise is always a very special occasion here, and the sunsets are simply breathtaking. Staying at a vacation rental in Hocking Hills allows you and your family to enjoy these natural wonders from your front door. Vacation rentals also give you easy access to the abundance of family-friendly restaurants in the area. Many of the restaurants are locally owned by families that have brought their favorite recipes to share with the community. Almost all of the restaurants listed here offer gluten-free options and accommodate vegetarian and other dietary needs.

1. Bob Evans

Enjoy the casual vibe and attentive service at Bob Evans, serving traditional homemade American dishes. Order from the family menu, which presents you with numerous Sunday family dinner-style choices that serve four people. Try the meatloaf with real mashed potatoes and a bowl of glazed carrots, the roast turkey dinner with celery-bread stuffing and a cranberry jelly, fried chicken, or chicken fried steak with country gravy.

2. Millstone Southern Smoked BBQ

Head to the Millstone Southern Smoked BBQ for the best barbecue in southeastern Ohio. The Millstone specializes in friendly service, a fun atmosphere, and smoked meats that spend a minimum of 15 hours in the smoker. The pulled pork, baby back ribs, and smoked brisket are popular menu items. Visit for Sunday brunch, or join the restaurant for live music every Tuesday from May through September.

3, The Olde Dutch Restaurant & Banquet Haus

Enjoy the friendly service and welcoming atmosphere at the Olde Dutch, where home cooking and large portions are always on the menu. Choose from entrees such as the turkey or meatloaf dinner with real mashed potatoes, or chicken and noodles simmered in a rich broth. If you are really hungry, indulge in the all-you-can-eat buffet, which includes a wide variety of kid-friendly foods as well as dessert.

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4. M and M Family Diner

Head to the M and M Family Diner for home-cooked meals, friendly service, and an atmosphere that makes you feel like you are among family. The menu offers traditional diner fare. The cheddar and broccoli soup is a standout, and the desserts are homemade.

5. Hocking Hills Diner

Try the Hocking Hills Diner for breakfast, lunch, and dinner served up all day. Along the traditional breakfast items, try Suzie’s Scramble if you’re feeling adventurous. It consists of green peppers, onions, tomatoes, and mushrooms scrambled with two eggs served on a bed of hash brown potatoes and layered with cheese and salsa. The kid’s menu features silver dollar pancakes with bacon or sausage for breakfast, and pizzas, noodles, chicken tenders, and cheeseburgers for lunch and dinner.

6. Utopia Brick Oven Restaurant

Wind down at the end of the day in the relaxed atmosphere of Utopia Brick Oven Restaurant. The pizza here is seasoned with herbs grown on the patio and cooked at extremely high heat in the brick-fired oven. There are creative twists on familiar dishes, such as grilled meats with a caramel barbecue sauce, and the menu features daily specials. The desserts also deserve mention. Along with several flavors of authentic Italian gelato, try the chef’s own chocolate velvet layer cake with cinnamon cream cheese filling, or the Oreo cookie cheesecake.

7. Hungry Buffalo

The Hungry Buffalo offers a very relaxed and casual atmosphere with wooden tables and booth seating. The menu devotes a fair amount of space to hot dogs, burgers, and wings and waffles. Diners rave about the fried green tomatoes and fried pickle chips. The meatballs in barbecue sauce sandwich, the smokehouse pizza, and the wings also score high marks.

8. La Cascada

Make dinner time fiesta time at La Cascada, a locally owned authentic Mexican restaurant where everything is prepared fresh daily using the highest quality ingredients. Dive into the tangy flavors of bean burritos, enchiladas, chimichangas, quesadillas, and sizzling fajitas. Be sure to leave room for dessert. The house specialty here is deep-fried ice cream.

9. Pizza Crossing

Pizza Crossing is a sure bet for keeping the kids happy. The pizza here is great, but the menu offers much more. Check out the daily lunch specials and the variety of salads and subs available. Pizza Crossing also offers half subs for smaller children, and boneless or baked wings and chicken tenders with your choice of five sauces.

10. Pearl’s Diner

Stop at Pearl’s before hitting the trails, and encounter friendly service, a cozy atmosphere, and homemade food for breakfast and lunch. The sausage gravy and biscuits are the breakfast favorites, along with the selection of desserts at lunchtime.

11. Penny’s Pastries

Penny’s Pastries is a great choice for a quick snack or dessert when you want to reward the family with something sweet. Cakes, cookies, cupcakes, and other assorted pastries are fresh and carefully prepared. The homemade cookies and chocolate-iced donuts filled with Bavarian cream win praise from local patrons.

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