Story and photos by Donald Ring, Icon intern
Whether it's pork chops for the summer barbecue, meat and cheese trays for that office party or just looking to get a lunch sub on the go, The Dough Hook, 117 N. Main St. is the perfect spot for all your meat, bakery and deli needs.
As Sharon and John Calvelage, owners, explain, owning their own store has always been a dream of theirs.
Mrs. Calvelage says, “I used to sell similar products at the Bluffton farmers' market in addition to working a 40-hour a week job. After some time, I wanted to work for myself, not for other people. One day, I went through town and saw that there was a sign on a storefront that it was for sale. And the rest, she says with a slight chuckle, is history.”
Operating as The Dough Hook since October 2008, Mrs. Calvelage says that they wanted to name it that for they wanted to “combine the bakery and the meat market together, so dough for the bakery and hook for the meat.”
Open Tuesday through Friday 8.a.m to 5 p.m. and Saturday 8 a.m. to noon, The Dough Hook offers an array of baked goods made fresh including: breads, cakes, cookies, cinnamon rolls and Mel-O-Cream donuts.
In addition, a variety of pies that include apple, peach, rhubarb, pecan, cherry, blackberry and pumpkin are offered on the weekends.
Mrs. Calvelage says that although the Mel-o-Cream donuts are popular, amongst all the pastries, “the cinnamon rolls are by far the best sellers.”
Their deli offers a multitude of sandwiches (tuna, chicken and ham salad), lunch meats (roast beef, ham, turkey breast, and more) and Amish cheeses. The Dough Hook also offers an array of Amish products (jellies, noodles, etc.) that are supplied from Holmes County, Ohio.
In addition to its bakery/deli, The Dough Hook also has a meat market that specializes in certified Hereford beef. Customers can choose from English roast, rump roast, baked steak, sirloin, rib-eye and New York strip, all specifically cut to order. They also offer ground sirloin (grounded fresh daily), pork chops, pork roast and boneless chicken breast and thighs.
In terms of some of the specific to Bluffton products, Mr. Calvelage states that their ham loaf, titled, “Bluffton Ham Loaf,” is made from “a recipe that has been passed down from previous owners and has been handed down from generations.”
In addition to the ham loaf, another product specific to Bluffton is their smoked sausage. The Dough Hook also has several beef and pork packages available. The customer has the option of creating his own package by picking and choosing what cuts of meat he wants.
Customers who purchase packages of 25-90 pounds will receive a 5% discount and if any purchase is greater than 90 pounds then they will receive a 10% discount.
According to Mrs. Calvelage, the secret in maintaining a successful meat market downtown is the fact that “we feel that we have a good product, which doesn’t use any coloring or additives.” A lot of our meat is served fresh, we cut it when the customer comes in.
“Most importantly," she adds, in this day and age, “people want to know where their food comes from, here they can talk to the butcher and be assured that all of our products are from the United States.”
Besides serving Bluffton, The Dough Hook also has customers in Findlay, Lima, Arlington, Columbus Grove, Pandora, Jenera and Ada.
As a result, when it comes to orders, Mrs. Calvelage says usually “we don’t do a lot of shipping, everything is mostly cash and carry out.” Mr. Calvelage says that when they do ship orders to customers it’s during the cooler months with the most popular item being the smoked sausage.
October will mark the fourth anniversary of The Dough Hook and Mrs. Calvelage says it has been amazing how the community has embraced their business and notes how vibrant downtown Bluffton is.
“I think Bluffton is a wonderful community to have a business in, the people are very supportive. There are not a lot of downtowns where every storefront is filled.”
For further information call The Dough Hook at 419-369-4264 or visit their website at www.doughhook.com.