The Neshannock Creek Inn is tucked among the quaint shops in the small rural town of Volant, PA. I absolutely loved the drive through the rolling hills of Amish country. The land is vast and beautiful. Don't be surprised if you come upon a horse-drawn buggy on the road. I happened to pass fourteen during my drive. The winding road leads to a tiny town with charming shops on both sides of the road next to the Neshannock Creek hence the name of the restaurant, The Neshannock Creek Inn. Four years ago, Crystal Moyer took over the restaurant and is carrying on the tradition of being the "home of the giant cod sandwich" which happens to be "our biggest seller" according to Crystal.
The restaurant is very homey. Lots of wood tables and booths, lace curtains and wood signs hung on a crossbeam letting you know how far you are from nearby cities. Youngstown? Just 27 miles.
The menu has starters like Fried Ravioli which I didn't expect to see and fried pickles, to my delight, were exactly what I felt should be there. It's a quiet town, laid back, away from all the hustle bustle, a town you park one place and just walk everywhere, so of course, fried pickles.
There are homemade soups, a half dozen salads that come with a homemade breadstick and a nice selection of sandwiches and burgers including the B.O.M., and that giant cod sandwich. If you're coming for dinner, that famous cod is available battered and fried or baked, along with pasta dishes, homestyle meals like meat loaf and their own original dish, "Chicken Alaska".
I was presented with four dishes and couldn't wait to try them all. I was intrigued by the name so I went straight for the Chicken Alaska. Crystal tells me a funny story behind this dish. "When we put this on the menu, I went online to see how other restaurants were serving it and when I did a search, the first thing that came up was Chicken, Alaska, a town in the state of Alaska." There actually wasn't a food dish to be found called Chicken Alaska but the name stayed and the dish is excellent. Two grilled chicken breasts topped with a homemade crab cake and a garlic cream sauce. The chicken is moist and golden. The pan juices are blended with the chopped garlic cream sauce creating a light sauce with great flavor and the perfect accompaniment to the sweet crab. It's a big plate of food that comes with a salad and potato.
I'm a burger fan so I was pleased to see a big burger before me. The B.O.M. is the Burger of the Month and this month it's the Polar Express. A delicious, juicy burger topped with thin slices of grilled ham, fresh tomato and lettuce, grilled onions, peppers and mushrooms, bacon and topped with a slice of cheddar cheese all on a ciabatta roll. I didn't care who was looking, I went in for a big bite. I had to get a bite of everything, it's the only way to enjoy a burger and I must say, I enjoyed this burger. The meat itself covered every square inch of the bun and was juicy and delicious. With all those toppings, you might think it would get lost but somehow it all worked together. I could taste everything and each ingredient had a starring role on this B.O.M. Crystal handed me a B.O.M. Club Card. If you eat 6 different B.O.M. burgers, you receive a shirt and gift card. I'm putting my order in for next month's burger before I leave.
Moyer tells me they are known for their fish, but another favorite is their tuna melt which is piled high with homemade tuna salad. It's basically a pita bread that is loaded with tuna salad, topped with fresh tomatoes and pickled banana peppers then covered with mozzarella cheese and baked in the oven until melted. I cut into a wedge and took a bite. The tuna salad is simple. Just tuna, a little onion and mayo and it's delicious. Those banana peppers give it a little bite and that cheese just holds it all in place. I was pleasantly surprised at how good this was. Simple flavors, nothing fancy, but easy to see why it's popular. I couldn't stop eating it.
So, I'm down to my last dish. That "Giant Cod Sandwich". A huge filet of cod, batter dipped and fried to a golden brown. I could almost hear the crunch just looking at it. It's served on a buttered, toasted bun with fresh lettuce and a side of tartar sauce. I happen to love tartar sauce so on it went and in I went. One bite and I actually got a double crunch. You first get that soft bun but then it's toasted so you get this buttery little crunch then the hot softer crunch that takes you right into that flakey fish. Wow. All I can say is YUM. It's not a bunch of doughy batter. It's a golden, light batter and all fish. The buttery, toasted bun for some reason puts this sandwich over the top. The tale about this sandwich making them famous. That's no fish story. One bite and I was a believer.
I really enjoyed the drive in and every dish I tried today. The prices are very reasonable, the food is fresh and I highly recommend all of the food I tried today. By the way, you might want to save room for dessert. They have a hot apple dumpling and homemade cobblers with ice cream that look amazing and smell even better.