North Central Regional Recipe Winner
Nancy Butcher, Operations Consultant/Baker
Nutcracker Family Restaurant (Pataskala, Ohio)
Recipe: Banana Crème Cake
Offering a “pleasant step back to a slower, simpler time,” the Nutcracker Family Restaurant, a ‘50s style diner, has been a family-owned business and part of the Pataskala, Ohio, community for nearly a quarter-of-a-century. Recognized by the Ohio Restaurant Association with several “Ohio’s Good Neighbor” Awards, the restaurant boasts a “strong sense of community and respect,” says almost-retired owner Nancy Butcher, who ran the business with her husband Steve for 24 years before transitioning it to their oldest son and daughter-in-law this year.
Butcher, who was recognized for another award-winning dessert (Chocolate SnickersTM Cookie Pie) in the 2016 recipe contest, wanted to find a good use for some over-ripe bananas, beyond the usual banana bread. She created a Double Decker Banana Cake with creamy filling and caramel sauce; Gold MedalTM Yellow Cake Mix makes this indulgent dessert as easy to prepare as it is to enjoy! The dessert, which sometimes includes chocolate chips or nuts for a change of pace, has been a hit since it debuted.
Nutcracker uses a variety of General Mills’ products in its regular menu items, including cake and brownie batters, pancake batter, cinnamon rolls, icing/frosting and biscuits. While the restaurant is open all day, the homemade breakfast items have always been the best-sellers.
Butcher got her start working at the local Burger Chef as a teenager and has enjoyed running a family business and being a dedicated part of the community. Now that she and Steve are retiring, “we reduced our work hours to just 40 hours a work assisting in the transition.” Butcher continues to bake her homemade pies and cakes while sharing her wisdom with the next generation. Nancy and Steve met in the military and veterans remain near and dear to their hearts: The restaurant offers free meals for veterans and members of the military for Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day.
Nutcracker, which features many of the famous holiday decorations, is a regional tourist destination and a favorite among locals. According to Butcher, “we know our regulars and welcome newcomers.” In addition to her well-known baked goods, other popular menu items include hand-breaded country fried steak and house-made meatloaf and corned beef hash.
As a Regional Recipe Winner in the Neighborhood to Nation contest, Butcher will receive $5,000 as well as $1,000 to share with a local nonprofit. The family saw “first-hand the importance of Honor Flight when my husband served as an escort for a Korean War Veteran” and will share the donation with Honor Flight Columbus.
Address: 63 E. Broad Street Pataskala, OH 43062 (population: 18,000)