Warren, Ohio was once a booming town in Trumbull county with a rich industrial history of iron and coal manufacturing. It’s convenient location at the intersection of four railroad junctions made it the ideal spot for trading furniture, linseed oil, automobiles, lightbulbs and other goods. With modernization, Warren has undergone a decline in wealth with the final straw being the recent closure of a massive GM Plant. Now, many buildings are dilapidated, 34.6% of the population is below the poverty line, and the town has one of the highest crime rates in America with 1 out of 22 people being victims of violent or property crimes.
Despite the abysmal economic and social state of Warren, the Packard Theatre was the locale of our third tour stop for the Christmas Wonderland tour. Bringing live entertainment to places that need it most makes my job as a dancer pretty amazing.
Unwilling to sit around, I set out to find the gems hidden behind the grit, and I happened upon Nova Coffee. While trendy, Instagram-worthy coffee shops are a dime a dozen in big cities, it gets harder and harder to find quirky, hipster spots playing soft acoustic music as you get further away from big commerce centers.
Nova Coffee serves up unique lattes (hello there blueberry graham cracker!) and iced coffees as well as a good basic, strong cup of joe. The toasts and sandwiches are also amazing and, more importantly, dirt cheap. An avocado toast in NYC will easily set you back $12, but Nova serves it up for $4.99. The hummus toast was also tasty, with an ample serving of hummus and a perfectly fried egg on top. To top it all off, I had to try out a couple house made donuts. The blueberry cake donut was sweet and dense with a strong blueberry flavor, and the Nova Special was a classic glazed donut topped with a dollop of rich icing.
Nova Coffee is a gem of find in a town that doesn’t have too many options, and I’d highly recommend checking it out!
Other Warren Finds:
“Health store” and “Warren, Ohio” seemed like an oxymoron given the lingering northern industrial grit, so I was eager to try out Beautiful Whirl’d, a health smoothie, salad, sandwich and wrap shop. It can be hard to get veggies on the road, and my wrap stuffed with greens, goat cheese, chicken, strawberries, and pecans was the perfect pre-show meal. Not to mention it was only. $6.99, and a nice hippie woman with dreds kindly checked in to be sure everything was tasty. While it might not be the most instagramable spot, it is tasty and well priced.
The Speakeasy Lounge
Right below the Best Western is The Speakeasy Lounge, a prohibition styled bar and grill. You can snag a drink for $5 and the food is surprisingly delicious. My $8 burger was juicy, well cooked and came with a heaping serving of house made fries. That paired with a shared appetizer of buffalo chicken nachos made for a delightfully indulgent meal, and I had left overs to eat for lunch the next day. Other good grub ordered around the group included the pulled pork sandwich, steak sandwich, and wings.
Combat Athlete Performance Academy
With hours spent on the bus, it’s nice to find a real gym to get the body moving, and the Combat Athlete Performance Academy exceeded expectations. Ryan offered us a group boxing class, and he had impressive expertise in technique that made for a phenomenal class. Afterwards, we got to fool around on the turf using equipment such as a tire flip, sled pull, battle ropes, and mat room. The staff, facilities, and training knowledge was top notch, and It’s a gym I wish I could have a monthly membership at.
Other worthwhile stops
- Modern Methods Brew Company: solid craft beer in a laid back setting
- FattyCakes Soap: homemade soap with amazing, unique scents
- Sunrise Diner: a quintensential diner with everything from pizzas to pumpkin ravioli
No matter how small a town may be, there are always delicious things to find and adventure to be had, sometimes it just takes a bit of digging to find the gems!