Most Sunday mornings, as coffee brews and the smell of freshly baked cinnamon rolls perfumes the air, a line weaves from the tiny vestibule of The Winds Cafe and Bakery out through its front door to the brick-lined walkway and picketed entrance. Many of its patrons—the ones idly chatting or reading the newspaper—are residents of the leafy college town of Yellow Springs, Ohio, which has as much Mayberry in its personality as East Coast progressiveness. Nearly as many of them have driven 20 miles or more from Dayton, Columbus, or Cincinnati. They patiently wait for what thousands of diners have waited for in the cafe’s 36 years of operation: creative meals that celebrate the rhythms of the earth and support the tradition of local agriculture. The rotating menu might include a beet salad with arugula, paprika, horseradish, and a strip of tempura bacon, or corn fritters with lime dipping sauce. Fall and winter vegetables and game yield to spring lambs and early greens; brilliant fruits and vegetables champion the summer. With its casual Euro-charm, inspired wine list, and mindful cuisine, The Winds is mighty. Tues.–Sat. 11:30 a.m.–2 p.m., 5–10 p.m.; Sun. 10 a.m.–3 p.m. 215 Xenia Ave., Yellow Springs, Ohio, 937-767-1144, windscafe.com
While in Yellow Springs, check out …
Ye Olde Trail Tavern: This dive bar inside the shell of an old log cabin (with dollar bills plastering the walls) slings quality pub grub, like fried-bologna sandwiches, “Most Excellent” grilled cheeses, and pours of craft beers. 28 Xenia Ave., 937-767-7448, thetrailtavern.com
Williams Eatery: Fans of Peruvian stop in for papas rellenas and aji de pollo. Bring your own wine, and they provide the corkscrew and glasses. 101a Corry St., 937-319-6154, williamseatery.com
Little Miami Scenic Trail: The paved rail trail cuts through Yellow Springs, providing a pleasant option for walking off a meal. There is even a restored train depot with water and a restroom. 200 Upper Xenia Ave.
Springs Survival: Preppers can stock up on their MREs, dehydrated vegetables, and self-filtering water bottles at this tongue-in-cheek (we think) apocalypse-survival shop. 125 S. Walnut St., 937-767-0135, springssurvival.com
Ha Ha Pizza: This scrappy Yellow Springs institution serves whole-wheat–crust pizzas unconventionally topped with the likes of turkey sausage and bananas.
108 Xenia Ave., 937-767-2131
Photos by Tony Valainis
This article appeared in the October 2013 issue. See more Destination Dinner stories here.