Is it a stretch to call Downtown Canton a Road Trip? At about 10 miles and only a 20 minute drive from either Jackson Township or North Canton, you won’t end up spending a ton of time in your car. Because once you arrive in the vibrant city center, all the places you want to visit - including restaurants, the newly unveiled Centennial Plaza and the galleries and boutique shops in the city’s Arts District - are within walking distance.
Living in the suburbs, we can easily forget what a treasure the downtown area is for our community. For many of us, it’s a matter of “out of sight – out of mind.” We drive daily through the Belden Village mecca and see a never-ending supply of national restaurant chains and retail storefronts beckoning for our patronage. They take most of their profits out of this community to deliver back to the corporate office.
But the entrepreneurs that open businesses downtown are committed to Canton. They share their passion and invest their time and money to make this area unique. In the coming months we’ll be telling more stories from other business owners, artists, and community leaders. This month, here’s what Alison Matas suggested for the perfect afternoon or evening of great eats in downtown Canton.
Fromage du Monde
Start your downtown adventure with an appetizer at Fromage du Monde, an artisan cheese shop offering flights of cheeses from around the world. Owner Nicole Dietz is a passionate cheesemonger. Easy to talk to and extremely knowledgeable, Dietz enjoys sharing the unique stories of the creameries that make her favorites.
One of the shop’s top-selling cheeses is Fourmage, which is a hard Dutch cheese made of a blend of cow, goat, sheep and buffalo milks.
“It has a warm flavor profile of hazelnut and caramel and it absolutely belongs on every table,” Dietz said.
If you’re looking to try a full flight of cheese, Dietz says the House Favorites Flight is best. It has cow’s milk cheese, a sheep or goat’s milk cheese and a bleu cheese, accompanied by house-made compote, candied pecans, pickles, crostini, whole grain mustard and dried fruit.
Along with deli service in the shop, the catering business is booming with boards, trays and grazing tables featuring select cheeses, crackers and crostini, seasonal enhancements, house-made compotes and inviting garnishes.
Fromage is located at 340 Fourth St. NW. Learn more at fromagecanton.com.
Basil Asian Bistro
There are plenty of delicious dinner options in downtown Canton, but Basil Asian Bistro is one of the best.
The upscale Asian fusion restaurant, housed in a brick building next door to the Canton Palace Theatre, has an expansive menu inspired by Pacific and Southeastern Asian cuisine. Owner Tony Ly has crafted a menu with 23 stir fry options, specialty sushi, fried rice, Thai curry dishes, noodles and more.
If you feel overwhelmed by all the delicious choices, you can stick to Basil’s house favorite, the coconut spaghetti, which is Mandarin egg noodles tossed in a mild and sweet coconut sauce with shrimp, pork and vegetables.
The service at Basil is always on point. Friendly and efficient, they know the menu and are quick to make recommendations that match your tastes. The restaurant, which opened in 2014, is located at 585 Market Ave, North. See the full menu at basilasianrestaurant.com.
After dinner drinks? Walk across the street to 410 Lounge, where the bar’s mixologists can make just about anything you’re looking for.
410 Lounge has been under new ownership since early June. Its decor now has a “nostalgic theme” focused on Hollywood entertainers from the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s that owner Mehdi Payandeh says will remind patrons of “wonderful childhood memories.”
As for drinks, the most popular on the menu are margaritas, martinis and the old fashioned.
“Our chocolate and dessert martinis have a slight edge over the rest,” Payandeh said.
If you’re really feeling adventurous, opt for the Sazerac, America’s oldest-known cocktail. This close cousin to the old-fashioned is simultaneously soft and bold, smooth and brash, and so unmistakably New Orleans, the city where is was invented.
Payandeh soon hopes to be open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily to offer a lunchtime menu of flatbreads, happy hour cocktails, and after-dinner dessert drinks. 410 Lounge is located at 410 Market Ave. North. See the full menu at 410lounge.com.
Although parking is plentiful in Downtown Canton, there is a convenience factor of being dropped at the doorstep of your destination. Ride-hailing apps like Uber and Lyft coordinate an ample supply of vetted drivers in the area. Since its introduction to Stark County in 2014, popularity of the service continues to grow. Statistics show more than one third of adults have called for a ride using this technology.
With a just a few taps on your smartphone, you can summon a private driver like royalty. Even on a busy Friday night, you should expect to see your car in 15 minutes or less. And while the cost will vary depending on your origination, expect to pay less than $20 for safe, reliable transportation to and from. So, enjoy one last cocktail and begin planning your next night out on the town!