Stevie Z’s BBQ is a small barbecue stand serving downtown Waynesville. It’s got a short-and-sweet menu of a few different kinds of barbecue and some sides to go along with it. The beauty here is in the simplicity. A little porch alongside the store is a place where locals hang out to sample the cuisine, and a smoker in the back is where the magic really happens. The place seems to be popular with the passerby, and a very friendly staff attests to the kind of small-town business you just have to experience to understand.
It’s my humble opinion as a food writer that summer in Dayton, Ohio does not officially start until the Troy Strawberry Festival. The annual gathering of the strawberry lovers in beautiful downtown Troy is definitely a highlight, and it’s something people always seem to be clamoring for in droves. In spite of the threatening weather, I found my way past the strawberry-tinted fountain of Troy square and survived the infamous ‘Line of the strawberry donut seeker’ for a sampling of this year’s goods.
A chain of about 70 restaurants throughout the country, the Tilted Kilt is a medium-range dining option, sort of a sports bar concept with a twist. That twist is the scantily clad young ladies who go along with the Irish-themed decor. It’s just as easy to find pin-up photos of your local waitresses as it is to get a look at the menu. Of course, there will always be a market for such a restaurant. However, Another Food Critic is here to look at the quality of the restaurant experience, and that sort of stuff just doesn’t count. Take it away, though, and the experience is just average.
Sushi Rock is a two-restaurant chain, with one location in Columbus and another in Beachwood, east of Cleveland. It’s an upscale dining establishment with a specialty in good steaks and big sushi rolls, with some cocktails to wash them down. Some of the ideas for the food are there, and the ambiance is definitely there. In the end, though, I didn’t like the place. It just didn’t seem to come together for me, like something was missing. The scenery is there, but the food is not.
Chop Suey Carry Out is another option for Chinese food in the Kettering area. While there are plenty of options within a very close area, this one seems to be the one that caters mostly to carry-out customers. It does have space to dine in, but nobody seems to be doing that. While the convenience factor is impossible to ignore, and the speed with which they get the food out is insane. But in the end I just didn’t taste anything that I liked.
In a manner of speaking, anyway.
Today I ran the 2013 Flying Pig Half Marathon in Cincinnati, one year after my first half marathon was a success. And I ran faster this time!
Crazy Mango is a really neat concept. Founded by Julie and Bob Silva, the Dayton Restaurateurs who formerly ran Bahn Mai Thai Cafe in Washington Township, this restaurant opened just a few weeks ago at The Greene in Beavercreek, serving west Dayton. The bar serves sort of an Americana of a few different kinds of cuisine, including a few memories from their former business, but the uniting thing is that it takes a lot of the classic bar foods and classes them up big time. The experience and finesse of this restaurant’s experienced founders really shines through in the food you’ll try.
Another Food Critic had the pleasure of attending a media introduction of a whole new Smashburger partnership at the Dayton restaurant this week. The very quickly growing burger chain (with three locations in Dayton right now, and 200 or so all over) is partnering with the Great Lakes Brewing Co. for some delicious beer and burger pairings.
Dragon City is a neighborhood Chinese food option in the heart of Kettering, and so it can serve much of south Dayton with its delivery and pickup service. There’s about no online presence, but the menu is just about the same as every similar-looking place in town. There’s a definite convenience factor here, in that they deliver, but I don’t suggest the place if you have a choice.