Literary City Guide | Canton, OH

I try to show what it is about language and music that enthralls, because I think those are the two elements of poetry.
— Rita Dove

Tour Guide: Elizabeth Jacob

Liz headshot circle.jpg

Elizabeth is the writer and photographer behind Yellow Finch, a blog contributor for Babiekins Magazine and an active board member for Indigo Ink Press. She studied English and Creative Writing at Ohio University. She and her husband, Jon, reside in Canton, Ohio where they and their family own and run the historic restaurant, Benders Tavern. They are wine enthusiasts who enjoy good food and music. (All photos by Elizabeth Jacob.)


Relationship to Canton: I was born and raised in Canton. After college I swore I would never return, but I find that my roots are here.

Writer you'd like to invite to dinner: Wally Lamb

Chef you'd like to prepare the meal: Michael Anthony

Writing soundtrack: St. Germain, Tourist

Pen or Pencil: Pen, black fine point

Coffee or Tea: Coffee

Paperback or Hardback: Hardback

Good Reads


Nancy’s Paperbacks. This quaint used bookstore is tucked away in a cobble stone shopping center that overlooks an open lake. You will find a great selection of literature, a lovely atmosphere and a welcoming face as you walk through the door. 

Paperback Mart. This is another small bookstore tucked away downtown. It is an eclectic shop filled with used paperback books ranging from romance, to sci-fi to mystery.

The Joseph Saxton Gallery of Photography. This contemporary gallery of photography is located in the heart of downtown Canton. It is a perfect stop for your inner artist that thrives to see breathtaking work.  You will find various books on art and photography, magazine and journals.


The Stark County District Library. This library traces its roots back to 1813 when a local tavern owner housed a collection of thirty books. Since then, the library moved several times and officially became the Canton Public Library in 1884. The main branch stands on the original site of one of President McKinley’s homes.

North Canton Public Library. This family friendly library offers endless services for all ages. The second floor is dedicated to children, complete with a play zone, computer center and more. The Little Art Gallery, located on the south end, offers new exhibits featuring local artists every few weeks.


Indigo Ink Press. Indigo Ink Press, founded in 2009 by Jessica Bennett, is a nonprofit independent publisher of fiction, poetry and art. Three publications have currently printed, each varying in style and genre, with unique events organized to celebrate each book. Indigo Ink Press currently looks forward to their next endeavor.

The Greater Canton Writers’ Guild. This group is open to anyone who has an interest in writing and meets monthly. Since 1964 “friendships have formed, and poetry, short stories, and books have emerged.”

Walsh University. Students with a focus on Creative Writing produce and publish an annual literary magazine, Raison d’Etre, conduct writing workshops for local high school students and are continuously involved in coffee shop readings and poetry slams. You can check the university’s calendar for upcoming events.


Canton Food Tours. For a taste of our town you can join Canton Food Tours and experience the city in a different light. Pop in to various restaurants, cafes and bars for a small plate or drink and hear about the history of our community that makes us unique. You will hear historical stories and facts ranging from presidents to gridiron heroes, you will experience the arts and culture district, the historical district and more.  

Ted Gup and his heartfelt book The Secret Gift. Author Ted Gup takes his readers back to 1933, when Canton was in a Depression-scarred state. In his book he unfolds the historical story of his grandfather’s act of kindness that impacted a small town. Ted Gup took his grandfather’s story and set out on a personal journey that led him to the discovery of a complex tale of his own family’s history. This book is a must read!



Good Eats


Muggswitz Coffee and Tea Co.  This local coffee shop roasts in-house, employs knowledgeable baristas and serves superb drinks and pastries. The atmosphere is welcoming and engaging, hosting a stage for music, poetry readings and visual arts. 

Four Kids Coffee. This new hip coffee shop caters to the dairy and gluten free folks. All food items are made without gluten, dairy and nuts.

Carpe Diem Coffee Shop. With a focus on specialty coffee drinks and smoothies there are plenty of options for the entire family. While the downtown location is a standard stop, it’s nice to see a locally owned coffee shop in the center of the mall.


Bender’s Tavern. This upscale casual dining establishment first opened its doors in 1902 and has been serving good food ever since. I am proud to say that my husband is the fourth generation to run this restaurant. Best know for its fresh fish, historical ambiance and grand wine cellar.

Luca. This contemporary Italian restaurant focuses on locally sourced ingredients with a concentration on seasonal preparation. A great spot for dinner or appetizers and drinks at the bar.

Basil Asian Bistro.  A traditional Asian menu with a twist. This is our go to spot for sushi, pho and the only place in town that serves Peking Duck, a personal favorite.

BAM! Healthy Cuisine. Fresh, local and healthy ingredients go into each meal prepared. Choose from a wide selection of salads, wraps, pizzas, smoothies and more.


Taggarts Ice Cream Parlor. This popular ice cream parlor will take you back in time! It boasts high back booths, tile floors and wrought iron chairs that offer a look straight out of the twenties. The Bittner is the perfect melt in your mouth sweet treat. Chocolate ice cream topped with salted pecans and whipped cream.

Hazel Artisan Bakery Café. This bakery, with its European influence, specializes in handmade breads, brioche, traditional desserts, pastries and more.

Ben Heggy’s. This family owned and operated business has been serving fine chocolates and candies since 1923. Make sure you order your Heggy’s chocolates or nuts early during the holiday season because passing these treats out has become a Canton tradition.

Milk and Honey. This locally owned family diner not only serves lunch and dinner, but also offers an extensive ice cream bar featuring specialty sundaes, milkshakes, candies, nuts and more.

Elizabeth's 5 Favorites

1. Favorite view: The view out my front door. We are lucky to be situated across the street from an open park lined with trees and a small pond. In Ohio we experience all four seasons so our park is either filled with a sea of green grass, a canvas of autumn tones, endless winter whites or pale shades of spring. 

2. Favorite place to write: My built in desk located in the office behind our kitchen. I prefer to write late at night, with my coffee in hand, when my head has been cleared from the rush of our day.

3. Favorite museum: The Canton Museum of Art has always been a favorite of mine since childhood. It has hosted several outstanding exhibits over the years and continues to promote the arts in our community.

4. Favorite coffee shop: Four Kids Coffee is the perfect spot for me to visit with my kids. We can all indulge in a pastry, coffee or hot chocolate then the kids can play in the child watch room while I get in some writing time.

5. Favorite thing about Canton: Canton is a small town filled with honest, down to earth people. Because of its size, traveling any where in our town is convenient, which is ideal for families. I will always love big cities, but I know that Canton is home.