3 Must-Try Pumpkin Treats in Northeast Ohio that are Far from Basic (Sorry PSL)

Tis’ the season! With the return of crisp fall weather; an emergence in riding boots, puffer vests and black leggings presents itself. We all can thank Han Solo for the parade of ladies walking around looking like the captain of the Millennium Falcon while picking pumpkins this fall. Wearing this undeniably basic look is fine. It is polished and functional! However, do not let it take over your palate. Think outside the box (far from Starbucks’ iconic PSL) and try some delicious seasonal treats that will leave you feeling like a true pumpkin connoisseur. 

Destination #1: Swenson’s Drive-In Restaurant (seven locations – North Akron, West Akron, Stow/Kent, Montrose, Seven Hills, North Canton, Jackson) 

Swenson’s pumpkin milkshake reigns as the ultimate fall treat. This seasonal specialty transitions a summer favorite into the days of sweater weather. Besides creating a mood, this shake tastes heavenly. It is not too sweet, super creamy and the cinnamon undertones enhance the pumpkin notes! What’s not to love? Another perk? Even the color of the shake pleases. It is a tint of orange that is inviting and cheery.

Personally, I think the pumpkin shake pairs nicely with Swenson’s potato teezers. The teezers supply a little kick because they include jalapeno peppers, so the shake assists in cooling your taste buds down. Balance is key with anything! However, a shake can go with almost anything and there is no such thing as too much pumpkin.

Burgers, fries, chicken nuggets, egg salad, sloppy joes . . . the possibilities to combo with are endless since Swenson’s menu is extensive! Swenson’s hours of operations make pumpkin shakes readily available to you all season long. During the week, each location is open until around 11:00 P.M. – 12:00 A.M. On the weekends, they are open until as late as 1:30 A.M. While times vary at different Swenson’s, they all remain open long enough to help satisfy your late-night pumpkin craving. Not going to lie, I slurped down three pumpkin shakes during midterm week. 10 / 10 suggest to reward yourself for studying or because why not?

Destination #2: Wally Waffle (two locations – Akron, Tallmadge) 

Next stop! Wally Waffle. The Tallmadge location is closer to us Kent Staters, but both locations provide a consistent and equally scrumptious pumpkin waffle. I would say pick the Tallmadge restaurant if you want a more modern rustic vibe. The Highland Square, Akron location feels a little more lived in and retro with gilded wallpapers, bright colors, and eclectic art hanging. While I left you to decide which atmosphere suits you best, I am eliminating any menu anxiety you may experience. Gather up your girl gang and order the pumpkin waffles! You won’t be disappointed. This entrée subtly warms you up like a nice hug or cozy blanket. The waffle itself is amber, topped with a dollop of whipped cream (yum), and sprinkled in cinnamon! With each bite, I always taste a little bit of spice. Eating this dish transports me to my happy place. I always think of the fall foliage, apple cider, autumn showers and pumpkin carving. I think the best time to try this waffle is on a gloomy, grey fall day with a cup of joe (but honestly anytime will work because it is so savory)!

Destination #3: The Bake Shop (Bath, Ohio)

The Bake Shop signifies home to me. As a local and regular, I think I have the permission to tell you this little eatery provides exceptional food and service. I am hooked! I solemnly promise it is not because it is one of the few places to eat in my small town. I will seriously drive anywhere for good eats because I am head over heels for delicious cuisine; however, I lucked out and this little gem is ten minutes away from my parents’ house.

The menu is ridiculously cheap (yay!) and includes main staples such as sandwiches, soup, cakes, cookies, donuts, ice cream and scones. For autumn, The Bake Shop sells pumpkin pie on a first come, first served basis. Each day varies, so sometimes whole pies are for sale while other days individual slices are available. Afraid pie won’t be there when you go? Just give them a call! I ring anytime I am uncertain to see if what I desire is still offered.

If pumpkin isn’t your thing, the bakery also offers an assortment of fall festive cut-out cookies. They satisfy your sweet tooth and excite because of the varying designs. This past Thursday, the cookies were baked and iced to look like fall leaves. There were also a few Halloween-inspired cut-outs. The jack o’ lantern shapes were my favorite!

Happy Noshing! I hope you get the opportunity to try all three destinations and their delicious fall treats.