Fine dining, at least in the contemporary sense, has been a mostly urban endeavor—large cities have the population and the resources necessary for sustaining our favorite white tablecloth establishments. But in the farm-to-table era, one can trace a necessary shift in bringing the table and the farm a bit closer together.
In San Francisco, you have the iconic French Laundry, two-hours-and-change away in Yountville in the Napa Valley. A stone’s throw from Washington, D.C. you’ll find The Inn at Little Washington, nestled in the mountains of quaint Washington, VA. In New York, it’s Blue Hill at Stone Barns in the almost Tolkien-esque Berkshires. The appeal of any of these establishments, aside from world renowned cuisine, is the journey and the pleasure found in treating yourself to a respite from city life and enjoying the bounty and the beauty of the countryside.
And if there is one thing we have in abundance in central Ohio, it’s countryside. Drive 30 minutes in any direction from downtown and you’ll find yourself surrounded by verdant fields and the faint floral scent of country air. And if your ramblings take you northwest on Ohio 33, you’ll eventually find yourself in the lovely town of Marysville—home to Scott’s Miracle-Gro, Honda, and as recently as 2014, Hinkley’s and her companion watering hole, Leon’s Garage. The former located in a pre-20th century residence, the latter in an upcycled filling station.
Hinkley’s, the restaurant proper, is housed in an immense red brick home located on the main drag leading into Marysville’s historic downtown. The building’s restrained Second Empire Victorian styling would be inconspicuous in Vic Village, but in its current, less competitive context, she is endowed with a certain gravitas afforded by a stately lawn, multiple wide bay windows, and stout turn-of-the-last-century construction.