Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls continues to impress 25 years later

I was lucky enough to work and learn alongside former Dayton Daily News food critic Ann Heller over the course of many years together at the paper.

She helped inform my writing, my editing, my eye, my thought process, my palate and so much more and I am fortunate to still be able to call her my friend.

So when her name came up in conversation during a recent trip to dine at the Inn at Cedar Falls near Logan — a small town in Ohio’s Hocking Hills region — it captured my attention completely.

I was speaking to the Inn’s owners Terry Lingo and Ellen Grinsfelder after a truly excellent meal and Grinsfelder mentioned that Ann had reviewed it some time ago.

In fact, it was an article from 1992.

MORE FOOD NEWS: New restaurant sets opening date in former Max & Erma’s in Beavercreek

Although it had published more than two decades ago, Grinsfelder was raving about the job that Ann had done capturing the spirit of the restaurant and the food and the positive impact her words had carried to her business.

When I arrived home I decided to find the review and read the insights and opinions that meant so much so many years later to the owners of the Inn and to compare her experience with my own.

Ann wrote: “Halfway between Old Man’s Cave and Ash Cave, the Inn is surrounded on three sides by the Hocking Hills state park and is privately operated by Ellen Grinsfelder, daughter of the late Anne Castle. Castle was a woman who dreamed of a place where stressed urban dwellers could buy a slice of tranquility.

The kitchen at the Inn is the middle room in two 1840s log cabins that have been restored and turned into a rustic dining room and a seasonal sitting room that becomes another dining room when the temperature drops.”

DID YOU HEAR? Fairfield Commons restaurant makes list of ‘fastest growing’

The restaurant, now called Kindred Spirits, has continued to expand and update and, although the menu is not exactly the same, the warm charming setting and the delicious menu preparations that Ann raved about that greet guests at the Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls restaurant still rings true today.

Kindred Spirits focuses on seasonal farm to table recipes that bring out the flavor of the ingredients in an honest, straightforward way that has a simple elegance to it.

The restaurant’s two intimate log cabins seat about 45 people and a large outdoor dining area is the place to be when the weather is cooperating.

Abby Cole was recently named executive chef of the restaurant after serving several years as sous chef, impressing guests and her bosses with her techniques and creativity. She will be responsible for designing the Inn’s dining and special event menus and helping provide direction of its culinary experiences.

9 must-eat sandwiches in Dayton

The menu changes seasonally and the dishes that will be featured on the fall menu include a rack of lamb ($35) served with couscous, spiced carrots and pistachio cream; an Asian marinated portabella ($23) served with rice noodles, sumac broth, plum vinegar, spinach and salt cured yolks; pistachio crusted scallops ($29) with chorizo and apple risotto, spinach and lemon thyme sauce; cornmeal crusted trout ($25) served with artichokes, collard greens, roasted potatoes and topped with a brown butter caper sauce. The chicken paprikash ($27) features a seared chicken thigh, Ohio City Pasta’s red pepper fagiolini rigati and a sour cream-paprika sauce. And then there’s the pumpkin ravioli ($19). It’s all as delicious as it sounds.

The Inn’s best-selling pan roasted filet mignon ($41) will never be knocked down from its No. 1 spot. The preparations, sauce and side servings may change, but it is a crowd-pleaser and continues to be a favorite of visitors to the restaurant.

The Wisconsin cheese ball and tapenade basket ($7) served with flatbread, crackers and crostini and the rosemary and parmesan crème brûlée ($9) — a rich, savory version of the sweet dish you see on dessert menus — are classic appetizers that stay untouched through menu iterations.

MMMMM … Hamilton, Lebanon eateries among Ohio’s 10 Best Mom & Pop Restaurants

For dessert, the restaurant is known for its triple berry cobbler with vanilla bean ice cream. And for guests lucky enough to stay at the one of the cabins or new yurts, breakfast features many delicious options including homemade granola which is sold at the Inn’s gift shop.

In addition to a stellar meal in a remarkable setting, eating at the Inn also presents the opportunity to sample some of the region’s handiwork.

Ann’s review written 25 years ago ended, “The Inn at Cedar Falls is a place to feed both body and soul. Go for both.”

I would make the same recommendation today with the addendum to look into booking a room while you are at it. The relaxing setting and charming cabins can only enhance the meal.

Dayton Eats looks at the regional food stories and restaurant news that make mouths water. Share info about your menu updates, special dinners and events, new chefs, interesting new dishes and culinary adventures. Do you know of new exciting format changes, specials, happy hours, restaurant updates or any other tasty news you think is worth a closer look at? E-mail Alexis Larsen at with the information and we will work to include it in future coverage.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in

WORTH THE DRIVE: Ohio Caverns are a subterranean wonderland
WORTH THE DRIVE: Ohio Caverns are a subterranean wonderland

Looking for an underground getaway? Take a trip to the Ohio Caverns, the largest known cave system in the state.  The caverns, described long ago as the place “where nature carved a fairyland,” are located in West Liberty. Here are 7 things to know about the subterranean wonderland:  Accidental discovery. The caves were accidentally...
Fire department surprises 3-year-old with birthday party after guests cancel at last minute
Fire department surprises 3-year-old with birthday party after guests cancel at last minute

The Harrisburg Fire Department in North Carolina surprised a 3-year-old with a birthday party after several of his classmates canceled Sunday.  Melissa Reid said she received several text messages the morning of her son's birthday party from parents, letting her know her son's classmates couldn't make it.  >> Need something to...
Springfield’s Rocking Horse gets $50,000 to help kids impacted by drugs
Springfield’s Rocking Horse gets $50,000 to help kids impacted by drugs

A Springfield medical health center will receive new money to help local kids who have lost a parent to drugs. CVS Health distributed a $50,000 grant to Rocking Horse Community Health Center Friday morning that will be used to help Clark County children who have been impacted the most by the opioid epidemic. The money will also go to help children...
CHEERS! The Dayton Art Institute Oktoberfest mugs are a coveted collectible
CHEERS! The Dayton Art Institute Oktoberfest mugs are a coveted collectible

Handcrafted mugs created by regional potters have been a sought-after collectible since Oktoberfest at the Dayton Art Institute began in the 1970s.  The earliest mug in the DAI’s collection, from 1974, is made from glass and features a printed DAI logo. In the years following the mugs were mass produced until the idea to use local potters...
What cats see when they look in the mirror
What cats see when they look in the mirror

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all? Abby, our 16-year old cat, thinks she is. When Abby could no longer jump up on the kitchen counter to eat from her bowl, we searched for a place she could easily reach but Teddy, our Lab, could not. We placed the queen bee’s bowl in front of a large mirror on the master bathroom&rsquo...
More Stories