Tuula’s European Cafe (Facebook / @TuulasEuroCafe)
3856 Hard Road (map it!)
Dublin, OH 43016
Open Mon-Sat, 9a-6p; Sun, 10a-4p
Accepts cash & credit/debit
Vegetarian/vegan/gluten free? Y/Y/N
Visited: Saturday, October 5, 2013 at 10:00 a.m.
There are a lot of restaurants out that that go by someone’s name. Sometimes the name points to their history, like Jack’s Sandwich Shop or Dan’s Drive-In named after the original owners. Sometimes the names don’t have much meaning, but they still linger, like Michael’s Goody Boy or Fitzy’s Diner. And sometimes it’s named for the person standing behind the counter, the person who made and serves you your food, like Colin’s Coffee, or Tuula’s European Cafe.
Tuula’s space is a single room cafe with a strip mall storefront. It’s a little difficult to find, with its front toward Hard Road, a little west of Sawmill Road. It’s a high-traffic area, but there’s no clear driveway from the road into the parking lot of Tuula’s. We drove past it, then took our first right and had to cut through the back parking lot of a larger shopping center. Still, we found it!
Our stop at the cafe took place on our way to a pumpkin patch for some autumnal goodness. The skies were threatening at first, so Tuula’s was a cozy respite while we waited out the rain. Tuula’s is meant to be just such a place: a casual and quiet spot for a small lunch or a quick snack plus coffee, or to relax, read, or get some work done.
The cafe counter gives you the opportunity to drool over all of the fresh-baked goodies. There are cookies, cakes, and pies, or you can go savory with a quiche or a frittata.
And behold: standing behind the counter is Tuula herself! She’s very sweet and welcoming. These are the types of places you want to go, where you can meet the owner. It changes the experience entirely.
Tuula certainly knows how to present her handiwork. Towers and plates of the baked goods practically sell themselves.
We were in a sweet snack mood, so we chose a pulla, with is made out of a yeast dough with various spices and fruits.
The pulla is fluffy and very lightly sweet, with fruit mixed in plus a little glaze and some powdered sugar. It’s big, a little chewy, and good for sharing – it cuts easily with a fork.
Same for the cinnamon roll, which is about as big and seems to be made of the same yeast dough. It’s nothing like the over-saturated garden variety cinnamon rolls. Just a little sweet and easy to pull apart.
Top these pastries off with a wicked latte – especially on a cool fall morning – and you know you’re in the right place. Whether you find yourself regularly in the Sawmill Road area or not, I think Tuula’s is worth stopping in, especially if you need a quick snack, a cup of coffee, or quiet place just to hang. Knowing that the restaurant’s namesake will most likely be there only makes it better, and even more worth the visit!