Place: Hartville Café & Arabica Coffee House
Location: 1273 W. Maple St. Hartville, Oh 44632 Google Maps
My first visit to Hartville Café was a mixed bag. On one hand, I loved the idea of the place and they had an appetizing menu, but on the other, the food I chose just wasn’t anything special. I will say that when I’m in the area, I’ll be going back to try out some other items and definitely will have some dessert.
Walking from the parking lot I had the “what is this place?” thought going on in my head. There isn’t really much to the outside. But once you walk in, it instantly gives you a warm, cozy feeling. There are some knick-knacks scattered around that you can buy from the store while you weave your way to the main dining area, passing along the way the bakery with giant muffins, pastries and desserts.
We sat on the main floor and I noticed that upstairs is where the tea room is situated. I believe you can also rent out this area for banquets or parties. Fun, homey decorations hung on the walls and on stands throughout. A few of the people I was eating with thought the place was too cold but I had a sweater on with a shirt underneath, so I didn’t feel it. Now people do have different tolerances to the cold, but I thought I would mention it.
Very down to earth staff. Everyone was friendly from the moment we walked in. However, the serving of the food was done without any synchronization. Salads were brought out together, but two soups arrived 5 minutes later and the last soup was an additional 5 minute wait. Then one wrap came, then two pizzas, then another 5 min break and three other wraps came out.
While we didn’t order any, the waitress did come out with a complimentary sample of their vanilla chai tea in an espresso cup. I thought this was a very nice touch to start off the meal and coincided well with the aura of the place.
I opted for one of their new pizzas that they were advertising heavily (no joke, I saw three flyers displaying their new pizzas). As some of you know, I’m a sucker for pizza; it’s so versatile and so easy to personalize. I looked through their menu and while some other items caught my eye, the Asian Chicken Wrap for example, it was ultimately always going to be impossible to distract me from ordering one of their pizza options: Vegetarian, Italian, and Margherita. I was rather hungry so I opted for the Italian since the pepperoni, cooked ham, and roasted peppers seemed more filling than pure veggies or cheese.
The pizza came with a salad and I ordered blue cheese dressing. Nothing out of the ordinary here; pretty much what you would expect a complimentary salad to be. The lettuce was fresh and the dressing rich and creamy. The tomatoes were good considering it is December and we have a foot of snow outside, so I enjoyed it.
In the mean time, I should note that three people ordered the Chicken Noodle soup and, while there was the issue of timing, two people commented that it was only luke-warm. Granted, they were the same people who were cold in general, so perhaps the soup cooled down just being around them – I can’t say for sure since I didn’t volunteer to taste test...
And now for the moment I had been waiting for, my pizza! Upon it being laid down in front of me, I started regretting my decision. It was a small, four-slice pizza, on what I determined to be flat bread as a crust, and the toppings didn’t go very close to the edge. Ok, I thought – here’s to hoping the ingredients and flavour really pop! I tried cutting the slices apart from one another and either a) my knife was too dull or b) the crust was really that hard, but after pressing down with the knife with so much force that I almost let my pizza fly off my plate once cutting all the way through, I decided that I would just use my hands to pull the pieces apart – quickly mind you, to avoid burning myself as, opposite the accusations of the chicken soup, the pizza was HOT!
Ok, patience, I get it. Finally, I picked up a piece and noticed it was very soggy – the cooked ham was the culprit here. Argh, ok, keep going, I’m hungry. Take a bite, chew, taste the sauce, the ham, the pepperoni, and the bell peppers. Hmm, well the sauce was ok, a little too acidic for me; the ham had a good flavour, but was too watery; pepperoni is a staple and tasted as you would expect; and finally, the chopped bell peppers were pretending to be the promised roasted peppers. So, as you can imagine, the super hard crust on the end, mixed with a watery center from the ham and no roasted peppers, I felt a little deceived. But, down the hatch it went.
Unfortunately, none – but from the look of the desert counter, I am sad that I ate lunch and didn’t just get dessert!
For the first time in a while, I opted for a “specialty drink” – their Pumpkin Chai. This was really, really good. Hot chai tea, with real pumpkin puree, whipped cream and cinnamon. Yum! Maybe that’s what I wasn’t cold? Others ordered water or soft drinks.
I didn’t pay as it was a business meeting, but $11.99 for a pizza that even a pizza lover thought, “eh”, is a bit steep. Yes, it did come with a salad, but it was just a side salad, nothing really to it. I don’t know how much the Pumpkin Chai was (no price listed on the menu), but it was delicious!
While I was disappointed in the pizza, everyone else’s wraps / sandwiches looked good. Plus, the bakery section…let me just say that I’ve never seen muffins so big.
Note - As mentioned, I was on a business meeting and couldn't take photos for the blog. When I go back, I'll be sure to take some and share