Troy’s Ording’s surprises since 1962

Photo: Ording’s deli counter

By Warwick Kensington

It’s another day in the daily grind of the food service world, and Joe Ording continues at the conn as he has for 55 years directing his team members, some of which are family and some employees that have worked for him for decades.

If you’ve never been to this unassuming gas-station looking carry-out on 25-A in Troy, it might be because you passed it by thinking it was anything other than a place that served food.  On one hand, it’s a convenience store with the staples you’d expect.  Beer, cheap wine, potato chips, soft drinks, a new rack for the Dayton City Paper, and even the dreaded Lawrence Screwdriver that was the bane of my high school days…But I digress.

On the other hand, though, it is a deli/carry-out that serves up a large selection of items from sandwiches, pizza, fried foods, salads, side dishes, and desserts.

On my first visit for the Dayton City Paper, my companion and I came for the fried chicken, pizza, and a strawberry pie.  Although this was the first of two trips for the DCP, I have actually had their fried chicken many times before and there is a reason for that.  It’s KILLER!  We went for the 8-Piece Tub ($12.49), and I can report with confidence that you will not find finer fried chicken anywhere in our region.  The chicken is regionally sourced from three different vendors, and unlike some of the fast-food chicken chains, the pieces are not injected with weird stuff to make them larger than they should be.   Combine that with a carefully concocted coating that as Mr. Ording says is “Special made for us at the University of Wisconsin in Madison and shipped here by the hundreds of pounds,” and you have something not only very special but consistent.  To further inculcate my love for their fried chicken, my then wife of 13 years had four generations of family from Troy and every time one of her relatives would pass, Ording’s would cater the wake, which always contained their fried chicken.  I often shamelessly asked, “Hey!  Is anyone in your family going to die soon?   I could really go for some Ording’s fried chicken!”  Luckily, she had a good sense of humor and an understanding appetite.

We also tried a Pepperoni, Sausage, and Mushroom Pizza ($15.99).  The pizza is what I’d characterize as a traditional 1960’s era Dayton-style pizza in every aspect including the thin cracker-like crust and unsavory “sweetish” sauce, being served on tin foil and placed in a paper bag.  The pizza is very basic but the locals love it, likely due to its nostalgic prowess.

When I think of Troy, one of the first things that comes to mind is strawberries, given that it’s home to one of the most highly attended festivals in the state (Troy Strawberry Festival) as well as Fulton Farms.  So, naturally, I had to get their seasonally available Strawberry Pie.  If you are hoping for something like a small town Amish-style pie made with a homemade lard crust, fresh strawberries, a rich but not too sweet glaze, and homemade whipped cream on top, you’ll be in for a surprise.  Instead what we received was a presumably factory-made crust complete with the perfectly symmetric lines on the top, as compared to a finger-pinched crust, and a cloyingly sweet glaze (that they swear is an Ording’s original recipe) that completely drowned the large fresh strawberries.  Then, when I accepted the offer to have whipped cream for the top, I was presented with a canister of “GFS Whipped Topping” in a to-go bag, leaving me utterly nonplussed.   My companion, who is a Troy native, was chortling at my angst and said, “This is so Troy and it’s awesome!”  I guess you have to be a native to understand.  As a result, I really wanted to hate this pie but annoyingly found myself taking bite after bite and ended up sort of liking it…but seriously, spray cream is inexcusable; perhaps that lowered the bar enough for me to put it in the “OK” range.  Please get some heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla and let your locally based Hobart mixer make some of the good stuff.

On a second visit, DCP owner Paul and I tried a variety of offerings including the Fried Chicken, Fried Mushrooms, Macaroni Salad, Baked Beans, and Cole Slaw.  As a native of New York, Paul has had his fair share of great food and agreed that the Fried Chicken here is excellent.  The homemade sides were decent (although the Baked Beans were way too sweet), and the Fried Mushrooms ($3.19) were very tasty. Mr. Ording recommended Paul and I come back to try his homemade Sloppy Joe sometime, duly noted and on the radar the next time I’m in town.

It is clear that any business, especially in the food-service industry, that survives as long as Ording’s is doing something right.   And it shows as he serves food with extraordinary precision and in an immaculately clean kitchen to boot.

Ording’s Party Time and Catering is located at 810 S. Market St. in Troy. For more information, please visit OrdingsPartyTimeTroy.simdif.com 

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