Thursday, October 15, 2009

Marv's Place and Ethel's Attic

by Sarah Kyriakedes

Homemade food, cheerful service and picturesque scenery are three aspects in the realm of restaurants that are hard to come by today; however, Marv’s Place, located at the center of the quaint town of Sardis, Ohio, along the Ohio River provides those who visit with all of the above.

The restaurant’s old-fashioned structure and unique atmosphere truly takes customers on a journey back into time with its authentic wood countertops and original black and white photographs adorning the walls.

The restaurant is located in the historical 1894 commercial building that was acquired in the 1940s by Marvin and Ethel Merriner. Under the Merriner’s ownership the building served as a grocery store, poolroom, and apartment complex. Over time the building was passed down to their grandchildren and the townspeople of Sardis feared that it would get torn down and an important piece of Sardis history would be lost. Instead, the family renovated it by turning it into the family-run restaurant on the first level and a consignment and artwork shop in the upper level called Ethel’s Attic. To honor their lineage they decided to name the business after their grandparents, Marvin and Ethel.

Although the restaurant is distinct in its historical value, it has other claims to fame in both Ohio and West Virginia. All of the food served at Marv’s Place is made from scratch. The family strives to serve quality food that, as its co-owner, Sharon Davis said, “one would expect their grandma to fix.” From the infamous Marv’s burger to the homemade desserts, it is hard to go wrong when choosing an item off their menu.

“People love to come here, because we’re one of the few places left that serves food that doesn’t taste like a TV dinner,” Davis explained.

Marv’s Place attracts a varied clientele ranging from townspeople stopping by for their daily cup of soup to the out-of-town travelers stumbling in to grab a bite to eat.

After a satisfying home-cooked meal, head upstairs to browse antique goods and homemade crafts in Ethel’s Attic. A few years ago, Davis and her two brothers, Charles and Jim Merriner, decided to expand their business and open this charming little shop.

Keeping in line with authentic feel of Marv’s Place, the shop acts as both a consignment shop and an Artisan’s Mall. Customers can drop off their antique goods to be sold and they can also browse artwork made by local Southern Ohio artists.

When shopping, it truly feels like you have discovered a world full of treasures; handmade baskets hang from a wooden tree in the corner, intricate painting line the walls, beautiful glass ornaments lie in an antique trunk and colorful marbles fill several baskets. And all of this exceptional art is only half of what you can find at Ethel’s Attic.

The shop also sells antiques that townspeople have brought in- original glass Coca-Cola bottles, sewing machines, wooden furniture and china dishware, are just a few of the items that can be found.

There is also a children’s toy section to keep the little ones busy while mom and dad shop around. There are no electronic video games or board games to be found; only toys from a much simpler time are sold here.

The Merriner family is able to provide their customers with two businesses that stop you in your tracks with a cheerful atmosphere and quality of life products; both of which are not all that common in today’s society. Marv’s Place and Ethel’s Attic are truly a breath of fresh air, and worth the trip to Sardis, Ohio.

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