8 things you've got to try at brunch at the Old Arcana

Looking for an actual destination for your next Sunday drive? 

How about this one: Sunday brunch at The Old Arcana, located at 109 W. George St. in the Darke County village of Arcanum.

Recently, a few friends and I loaded into our cars, keyed the restaurant’s address into our phones and hit the road.

There wasn’t much to see on the way and we didn’t know what to expect from the restaurant that opened nearly two years ago, which is located down the block from the village’s Ben Franklin variety store (which is closed on Sunday).

The building has housed a variety of businesses since The John Smith Company General Store started occupying it in 1851.

Now, it houses a modern, upscale restaurant with banjos made of cigar boxes decorating the exposed brick walls and white cloth towels in the restrooms. There is a trendy looking gift shop, Smith Merchants, next door (closed on Sunday).

More importantly than all that, food was dynamite. It was clear from the moment the mac and cheese appetizer hit the table why "Ohio Magazine" is a big fan of The Old Arcana. Everyone from the bussers to chef-owner Jeff Besecker were friendly and patient as we decided what to order.

The restaurant is about 40 miles or so northwest of Dayton. Their Sunday brunch is held from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Regular restaurant hours are 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and 7 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturdays for breakfast and lunch.

Scroll below to see some of the dishes we tried, shared and enjoyed. (Note: prices listed are subject to change.)

Want to go?
WHAT: Sunday Brunch at The Old Arcana
WHEN: 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Sundays
WHERE: 109 W. George St., Arcanum
INFO: 937-692-0068 | Website | Instagram | Facebook

Ridiculously good mac and cheese

Skillet mac and cheese with cheddar, smoked gouda and parmesan and bacon crumbs ($7)

Photo by Amelia Robinson

Trust me, the skillet was quicky cleared. We ate every single noodle and scooped up every single bit of cheese and bacon.   This was a creamy example of why bacon and cheese are such good friends.

Party hearty

Arcana Sausage Gravy & Biscuits with an Egg ($12)

Photo by Amelia Robinson

The Old Arcana is in the farmland, and this hearty breakfast with crispy potatoes and rich gravy was a great reminder that farm food is the bomb.


Pan fried, cornmeal dusted green tomatoes with a spice corn, peppers and cotija cheese ($9)

Photo by Amelia Robinson

Yes, these fried green tomatoes were as good as they sound, and with all the veggies, it was nearly a salad. An order of fried okra (not at all mushy) also floated around the table for good measure.


Arcana Hot Brown, an open-face sandwich with house roasted turkey, tomato, bacon and smoked Gouda with mornay sauce (a Béchamel sauce) on sourdough with an egg your way ($11)

Photo by Amelia Robinson

There is a reason this sandwich made list of 11 sandwiches you must try in Dayton (or in this case, the surrounding area). It is damn tasty. The Arcana’s version of the sandwich does justice to the orginal at the Brown Hotel in Louisville with an over easy egg on the top.

Lighten up

Photo by Amelia Robinson

Avocado Toast  - slices of sourdough toast topped with mashed avocado, tomato and slices of hard boiled egg ($5)

The menu has a few items for those looking for a break from heavy fare. The avocado toast was refreshingly simple. It could easily be treated as an appetizer.

Bourbon Praline French Toast

Photo by Amelia Robinson

Slices of French toast topped with bourbon praline sauce, candied pecans, and fresh whipped cream ($10)

Ohio Magazine was right to praise the restaurant’s Bourbon Praline French Toast in its Best of Ohio 2016 article. It is mouthwatering, savory and sweet. The restaurant recently made the dish available all week long.

Made right there

Sausage  ($4)

Photo by Amelia Robinson

The lightly spiced sausage is made in-house and you can taste it. The serving is huge, too. One person at our table at first mistook it for a hamburger patty inside of a sausage patty.

Last, but not least

 Southern Banana Pudding ($6)

Photo by Amelia Robinson

What a great way to end our meal: light and creamy banana pudding and cookies. Who doesn't like cookies?

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