It has long had an efficient carryout operation so temporarily transitioning to carryout-only was not a big challenge.

Last week, I flipped through my brain’s Rolodex in search of restaurants with food that would make me especially happy in these days of challenge and sacrifice.


The words *HARTVILLE KITCHEN* popped up surrounded by flashing lights. Excellent idea, huh?


Hartville Kitchen has long had an efficient carryout operation in place so temporarily transitioning to carryout-only was not as big of a challenge as some restaurants face.


Although with a 440-seat dining room that typically feeds about 3,000 guests on a busy Saturday, this beloved comfort-food destination definitely is taking a financial hit these days.


“Carryout has been up 20 percent week-to-week, but it’s not enough to put a dent in what we’re losing in the dining room,” said Zach Coblentz, VP of food for Hartville Kitchen. He noted that the popular bakery in the restaurant’s lobby remains open for business.


Fortunately, the popular fried chicken, roast beef, mashed potatoes and gravy, and homemade pies are readily available for consumption at home.


Last Thursday, I studied the menu at HartvilleKitchen.com, then phoned in to order and pay for a Hartville Kitchen feast to go -- two dinners, each including three sides and fresh-baked dinner rolls, plus two slices of pie. Call in your order at least half an hour before you want to pick up.


When I arrived, I pulled into a numbered parking spot on the side of the building that faces Hartville Hardware, phoned the restaurant (the number is on a sign), and within about two minutes, a young guy handed me my order through the window.


Packed in Styrofoam containers, the food stayed pretty warm during the 25-minute drive home. Yes, it’s a a road trip but was worth it. I’ve got a lot of extra time on my hands lately.


Two of us thoroughly enjoyed every bit of this bountiful, country-style mega-meal, after putting everything onto plates.


The first dinner was four pieces (leg, thigh, breast and wing) of perfectly broasted chicken, crispy outside and tender inside ($13.99) The second was sliced roast pork, perfectly paired with the kitchen’s heavenly, homemade mashed potatoes and gravy ($13.99).


The other sides -- remember two people ate most of this -- were mac 'n’ cheese, with a thick cheddar sauce; green beans, obviously canned but seasoned and dotted with ham; mashed sweet potato casserole topped with buttery brown sugar (divine!); finely chopped coleslaw with sweet dressing, and a chopped tossed salad of iceberg lettuce, tomatoes and carrots with Hartville Kitchen Sweet & Sour Dressing (a must).


Also excellent are the fresh-baked wheat rolls, two per dinner, with whipped butter.


And then there was dessert. The mixed-berry pie was crust, berries and a whole lot of whipped cream, totally pleasurable ($3.99). I’d like to tell you about the slice of chocolate peanut butter pie that I ordered ($3.49), but it was accidentally left out of the carryout bag, although listed on the receipt and paid for.


This was certainly disappointing, but it wasn’t like we hadn’t had enough to eat. After the meal, I phoned the restaurant about the missing pie, and a friendly guy apologized, took my name and telephone number, and said next time I’m in to tell them they owe me a piece of pie. (I won’t forget.)


Hartville Kitchen carryout is available Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., closed Sunday and Wednesday. The restaurant is is at 1015 Edison St. NW. Call 330-877-9353 to place orders and for information.


Reach Dan at 330-580-8306 or dan.kane@cantonrep.com


On Twitter: @dkaneREP