Leesburg is, in many ways, the prototypical Midwest American micro town. It’s got a few streets of local shops and a government building, surrounded by a clutch of houses and cornfields as far as the eye can see. The closest thing to a “busy road” running through this small town is State Route 56. Cincinnati, 50 miles to the west, may as well be on another planet. It’s places like these where the chains have not yet invaded that a shop like the Leesburg Dairy Bar can thrive. I love local fast-food places like this, I wish every small town had one.
The premise is pretty simple, it’s a walk up place serving local patrons the basic kinds of fast food. There are subs, pizza, hamburgers, chili dogs and other things. When there’s no one around for miles to compete, it’s easy to see how a place like this could strive to provide just about anything with ease. I think it only has a pizza shop and a cafe to challenge its business in town. That said, the food is remarkably good. The chili in the dog has a very tasty kick to it, and it’s one of the more flavorful chili dogs I’ve tasted overall. That’s a pleasant surprise when chili on a dog so often seems like a throwaway.
The side items are also good. They’re a bit over-fried and so suffer from an uncomfortable greasiness, but they also have a unique flavor which makes the food distinct, even among similar types of food. I’ve tasted plenty of onion rings. These are better. There are, of course, ice cream options on the menu, but as is typical for a place like this, they aren’t made in-house, and as unoriginal creations of this restaurant I can’t make them a factor in the review.
The service is great, as is typical in a small town like this where friendliness is almost always an appreciated strength. People walk over during breaks to grab lunch or a snack and make small-talk with the workers. Even in a town where everyone knows everyone, the shop owners seem especially apt to be nice to a visitor like me.
All told, this is a place that stays in business primarily for its convenience, but nonetheless the food is still good. Places like this can all too often have the same basic flavors, but the Dairy Bar has been able to diversify its palette a little. Delicious.
- Really, when it comes down to it, this is the only burger joint for miles, and that’s the main appeal.
- The food here is worth a stop if you’re driving cross-country, as it has a surprising amount of variety and it’s pretty good, too.
- As it’s a walk-up storefront, this is a nice place to grab food and walk, or use one of the picnic tables, but it has no interior seating or accommodations to sit and eat in inclimate weather. Consider it a takeout place.