One of The Most Unique Restaurants in Ohio is Set Inside a Former Jail

Ever wondered about the unique experience of dining in a jail? For a memorable culinary adventure, consider visiting The Olde Jaol Steakhouse and Tavern in Wooster, Ohio. Housed in a historic jail from the 1860s, this restaurant offers a diverse menu featuring steaks, seafood, burgers, and salads. For an extra twist, you can even choose to dine in the former cell rooms, immersing yourself in the ambiance of old stone walls, iron bars, and antique furnishings.

The History of The Olde Jaol

The restaurant resides in the former Wayne County Jail, built in 1865 and in operation until 1977. Designed by architect Thomas Boyd, who also designed the Ohio Statehouse, the jail boasts Gothic Revival architecture with turrets, arches, and gargoyles.

With 32 cells accommodating up to 100 inmates, the jail witnessed notable events such as executions and hosted famous figures like Charles Lindbergh’s baby kidnapper, Bruno Hauptmann. Closed in 1977, the jail was converted into a restaurant in 1995, preserving original features while adding modern elements.

The Menu of The Olde Jaol

The Olde Jaol Steakhouse and Tavern’s menu caters to diverse tastes, specializing in USDA-certified, hand-cut daily steaks. Options include ribeye, sirloin, filet mignon, and porterhouse with various toppings.

The menu also features seafood, chicken, pork, lamb, burgers, sandwiches, salads, soups, and a vegetarian selection. Indulge in desserts like cheesecake, pie, cake, brownie, or their signature bread pudding. A full bar complements the menu, offering wines, beers, cocktails, and spirits.

The Atmosphere of The Olde Jaol

Beyond its culinary offerings, The Olde Jaol is a historic attraction with distinctive dining areas. Choose between the cozy main dining room with a fireplace and piano, former cell rooms turned private booths, or the casual patio with a fountain and fire pit. The lively tavern boasts a bar, pool table, dart board, and hosts events like live music and karaoke. A banquet room accommodates up to 100 guests, ideal for special occasions.

The Olde Jaol’s Unique Features

The restaurant includes a museum showcasing artifacts and memorabilia from the jail’s history, offering insight into its past. Explore photographs, documents, weapons, and uniforms, and discover original features like gallows and a solitary confinement cell. Guided tours, available by appointment, share captivating stories and anecdotes.


The Olde Jaol Steakhouse and Tavern combines delicious cuisine with a captivating historic atmosphere. Whether dining in a former cell or exploring the jail’s museum, this unique establishment satisfies both culinary and curiosity cravings. Perfect for a romantic evening, family outing, or group event, The Olde Jaol Steakhouse and Tavern promises a memorable experience.

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