Mehlman Cafeteria

Review by: Michael Stern

Mehlman Cafeteria is a great big cafeteria with a small-town feel. It goes back to the 1960s when Mary Mehlman Dietrich opened a small restaurant in the Wheeling, West Virginia WMCA. Today her son Fred runs the show; and although service is brisk and do-it-yourself, as one expects in a cafeteria, you will feel well taken care of. There seem always to be members of the staff to help pour coffee and to assist the elderly carrying trays to tables.

What to eat at Mehlman Cafeteria in St. Clairsville, OH

What’s on those trays are hearty, heartland square meals: turkey with dressing, stuffed peppers, roast beef, ham, or meatloaf with mashed potatoes. The chicken pot pie is delish, as is the local favorite, ham loaf. There’s always fried fish – a passion in these parts – and we have especially enjoyed such ethnic specialties as kielbasa and sauerkraut and a tangy cabbage roll. On the side, have a good-sized baked potato, broccoli casserole, and, of course, homemade bread. There are plenty of colorful Jell-Os from which to choose, cream and fruit and coconut pie, and the dessert de resistance: apple dumpling.

Mehlman’s is closed Monday and Tuesday!

What To Eat

ham loaf

turkey and dressing

fried fish

broccoli casserole

Roast Beef with Mashed Potatoes and Gravy

Banana Cream Pie


Mehlman Cafeteria Recipes


What do you think of Mehlman Cafeteria?

2 Responses to “Mehlman Cafeteria”

Carrie Hill

March 9th, 2011

My husband and I were looking for a place for lunch while driving from Cincinnati to Philly one spring. We both did a rubberneck routine at the billboard, spotting the word “Cafeteria” (cafeterias are few and far between). We got off at the following exit, drove back along the two-lane road, passed it, still looking, turned around and found it along the south side of the road. When you see a parking lot filled with local cars, you know you’re generally in for a treat.

It was well worth the hunt: we got the food we wanted and it was all delicious; homemade-quality. None of that huge-portions-minimal-taste kind of food found in chains. It’s now on our list for future trips and I’ve recommended it to others traveling that way.


Ted Rishforth

June 11th, 2008

Our summary impression of the Mehlman Cafeteria is that the food is decent, the staff is friendly, and the crowd consists of “regulars.” We made a planned stop at Mehlman Cafeteria on our way from Cincinnati to Pittsburgh based on the other reviews. The full parking lot at 11:45 am was an inviting sign for our first visit.

I had my mind set on the ham loaf, but unfortunately it was a big disappointment; it was very dry and unflavorful, and so I cannot recommend it. On the other hand, the au gratin potatoes, home-style noodles with cabbage, and baked tilapia were all tasty, and a welcome change from the usual interstate highway fast-food fare. The peanut butter pie was a great ending to our otherwise mediocre visit.

Average age of the customers was probably 60+ on the Thursday that we visited, but also included small groups of customers obviously still active in the workforce. Didn’t see any other families with kids; they had probably convinced their parents to take them to Wendy’s or McDonald’s.


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