By Allen Worrell firstname.lastname@example.org
April 13, 2014
Since opening on July 3rd of last year, The Dutch Oven has been serving up fresh meats and sweet treats much to the delight of Hillsville and Carroll County.
Specializing in fresh bread baked daily, create-your-own sandwiches, and doughnuts as big as most people’s heads, The Dutch Oven has quickly built a strong local following.
“We’ve been blessed. To only have been open a few months, I would say it’s probably exceeded my expectations,” said owner Rolin Moller. “I feel like the Lord has blessed us. People come in here and I tell them they are the reason it’s a success. We couldn’t do it without the customers for sure.”
While The Dutch Oven’s doughnuts, muffins and pies are enough to satisfy even the most critical taste buds, Miller said the restaurant’s sandwiches, soups and salads are still its “bread and butter.” Even though most mainstays such as BLTs, grilled cheese and pulled pork sandwiches are popular, Miller said the create-your-own sandwich has been the biggest hit. Offering a create-you-own sandwich for $3.99, customers can choose between such meats as oven roasted chicken, smoked turkey, roast beef, ham, bologna or chicken salad, as well as a multitude of cheeses, and breads from white, whole wheat, sourdough or sourdough roll. Many factors go into making The Dutch Oven’s sandwiches so good, Miller said.
“People a lot of times say they’ve never had a sandwich like this. I think it has a lot to do with the bread,” Miller said. “We’re pretty much baking our own bread every day because we have a hard time keeping up. It’s a big thing.”
The Dutch Oven also uses Troyer meats and cheeses from the heart of Ohio’s Amish County. The company offers a full line of premium, domestic, and international cheese, complimented with a full line of meats, jerky, jar goods, and specialty items.
“I have to give a lot of credit to Troyers. I’ve used other meats, and I’m really impressed with their product. It’s a quality product,” Miller said. “I also have to brag on my wife Hannah. She has a real knack for baking and she does a great job.”
The Dutch Oven also offers full salads such as a chef salad and taco salad that are very popular, as well as smaller sides such as potato salad, pasta salad, mixed bean salad and macaroni salad. And then, of course, there are the doughnuts. In fact, The Dutch Oven was born after Miller and his family sold doughnuts and baked goods for three to four years at the Salem Farmers’ Market, where they were a huge hit. In Hillsville, the restaurant often sells as many as 100 of the fresh-baked bundles of goodness each day.
“We pretty much are making somewhere between seven or eight dozen doughnuts a day. And most days we sell that many. There are some days we make a little bit more. You just never know,” Miller said. “Muffins are a big thing for us, too. We sell a lot of muffins and it’s funny because here a while back the school system came in here and ordered about 40, mostly blueberry muffins, and we had a run on blueberry muffins that was unreal.”
The Dutch Oven also offers pumpkin cream cheese, morning glory, raisin bran and apple caramel muffins, in addition to an assortment of cookies. As far as new offerings since the restaurant opened in July, Miller believes in the old saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” But there have been a few additions. During the winter, the eatery has added soups, usually offering a different one each day. New boards have also been added which highlight daily specials and items not on the regular menu. Pastries and pies are also “changed up” from time to time.
“We’ve also added the Amish Wedding stuff - the canned goods, the jars, the jams, and we’ve got salsas, peaches, and other canned items. It is items that typically would be at an Amish wedding,” Miller said. “They have the tables and they sit big platters of it out, which is kind of where this stuff comes from. It’s the same place where we get our meats and cheeses, Troyer from Ohio, they take care of the same product.”
Speaking of Troyer’s meat and cheeses, Miller said The Dutch Oven has made an effort recently to try to sell more meat and cheese by the pound. And while it doesn’t technically cater, because it doesn’t serve the food, the restaurant does provide meat and cheese trays for those interested.
“Recently the school system had something going at the administration building and we took a tray of meat and cheese and condiments and drinks and chips, enough to feed 25. We will furnish the bread and condiments, the whole nine yards. Or people will come in when a friend has died and ask us to fix a meat and cheese tray for 20 people,” Miller said. “We’ve been doing that and we will do some small catering. We don’t really take it out and set it up and feed everybody, we more or less provide it for them.”
The Dutch Oven has also dabbled in some custom baking. A man from Galax recently ordered Christmas cupcakes, which he put into tins for his clients. Since then, he’s ordered 120 red velvet cupcakes with icing on them, six in a box.
“That is something else we will do,” Miller said. “We were really busy around Christmas time with all the baking.”
The Dutch Oven is located at 118 Court Street in Hillsville. It is currently open from 7 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and from 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m. on Saturdays. The restaurant can be reached by calling (276) 728-0302 or can be found on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ThDutchOven.
“The hours can be long and some days you feel like this is such a drag, but then you see someone walk out the door with a smile on their face and it means a lot to know you did the best you could to make them happy,” Miller said. “I told my wife, that’s what keeps you going, to know you are making someone happy - even though they might have to go on a diet.”