Serving Main Street Tipp City and not a bit more fuss than is necessary, Sam and Ethel’s is a little local diner that seems to be something of a county favorite. Just north of Dayton are a number of little highway towns with a lot of charm but not a lot of notoriety to the averave traveler outside of Dayton. Because of that, a lot of little hidden gems lie in wait up there, waiting to be discovered. Sam & Ethel’s is one of those gems.
Tons of breakfast food makes up the menu, which is really cool, much of it is the classics, eggs cooked any way you like, stacks of pancakes, sausage and bacon, and french toast. Those favorites attract a lot of people for the breakfasts. The breakfast specials will easily be the most enticing draw for the first meal. But it’s lunch where I think the food is the best.
The burger is a prime example. A third-pound patty with the veggies, it goes for a very simple appeal, though the patty seemed a little dry. What’s really great, though, is when they dress up the burgers in a different way. I’m a big fan of the “Western burger” which is topped with onion rings, cheese, and this amazing barbecue sauce. The stuff must be mixed with some kind of jelly, it’s got that consistency, and it makes the sauce over-the-top sweet, which is a nice contract to the patty and the onion rings. A little creativity goes a long way. It comes with house-made chips, too, and for a very reasonable price it’s a very filling meal. What’s better, they also have a few daily specials and a complementary little dish at the end: a sopapilla; fried cinnamon dough with a little chocolate drizzed on top.
The atmosphere of the little restaurant is hard to forget, it’s inside a very small house and feels every part like one, with a fireplace and photos of the town on the mantle, and with very friendly servers and a hefty crowd of locals who fill the place for all of the meals. I can’t imagine the place has a lot of seating, and I bet there can be a wait at times without a lot of space for people to wait for a table. So maybe don’t come for dinner. But even so, Sam and Ethel’s is worth a special trip.
- Generally recommend very small parties for this spot, space is limited.
- The restaurant does have its own parking in the rear, if you don’t want to park on the street.
- Daily lunch specials are around $6 for a good meal.