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  • There are 320,193 independent restaurants in America. Another Food Critic is here to find which ones are the best.

  • Dayton dining — 217 Reviews

  • Cincinnati Dining — 52 Reviews

Lighter Tea

Glass Slipper Tea Cottage

Tea is a specialty of small-town America, and what better place to enjoy it than the South? While Ft. Walton Beach is a corridor many tourists take to get to Destin and sandy beaches, many of them pass by The Glass Slipper as they do and don’t even know it. Indeed, it would be easy not to notice the unassuming little house is even a business were it not for the pretty lawn and neat trinkets that adorn its sign. The product of a happily ‘retired’ family, this little spot is a nice experience of the comfort and charms of Southern hospitality.

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Fried oyster meal

The Original Waterfront Crab Shack

As one of countless seafood stands along Fort Walton Beach, Florida close to the highly-trafficked areas of Destin and Pensacola, The Original Waterfront Crab Shack cuts a pretty simple image along the marina just off the outer islands. While it sits a bit away from the areas tourists traditionally go, this spot is not to be overlooked, both for its waterside view and for its popularity with the local crowd, who seems to prefer the lower-key atmosphere over the loud, crowded tourist spots a few miles away.

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Key lime pie

Donut Hole Bakery

While a ton of breakfast places and bakeries light up the main strip of Destin, Florida, you’ll hear about the Donut Hole only if you ask for a recommendation from the locals. Indeed, this bakery and breakfast food spot is out to make top notch goodies and pies for the local and tourist crowds alike, with a real emphasis on fresh ingredients. Whether you’re sitting down for a bite to eat or you’re taking out one of the esteemed pastries, I found the spot a good place for one of Florida’s signature dishes: the legendary Key Lime Pie.

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Hightide Restaurant & Oyster Bar

Just a few miles up the road from Destin on Florida’s Emerald Coast, Fort Walton beach largely avoids the mass of tourists that inundate it’s sister city. But this town, while a little lower key, totes some under the radar local restaurants too. If you’ve never been to a beach, you need to know that fresh seafood is a completely different ball game from what you have inland, so the more little dives you can find to feast on seafood, the better. Hightide Restaurant is just one of those, along the Miracle Strip it’s a great place you might miss on Okaloosa Island.

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Spaghetti

Troni’s Pizza & Restaurant

You’d be hard-pressed to locate Troni’s Pizza if you didn’t already know where to look, but this small Italian food and pizza spot near the busy Wilmington-Dorothy Lane intersection in Dayton’s Kettering suburb has attracted a loyal following, especially for its pizza. A small family-run business, Troni’s has an eclectic interior decoration and a pretty friendly staff that turns food orders around quickly. The food is simple, but there’s beauty in simplicity, and I’d give great credit to say that they do the simple recipes very well.

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Microbrew flight

50 West Brewing Co.

For a long time, it was a shame to see the historic home on Wooster Pike near Mariemont sit vacant. It used to be a restaurant that was well known in the Cincinnati dining world. Now, it’s open as 50 West Brewing Company, a craft beer shop that the owners have said is named not just for Route 50 where it’s located, but for the combining of ideas of east coast and west coast. The restaurant has a versatile, creative menu and a lot of really, really good beers.

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Tokyo Dragon

Wing Zone

Now with a little over 50 locations around the country, Wing Zone tends to be planted around military bases and towns, as a cheap option for wings and other fast foods that can be delivered to your doorstep. The chain’s independent franchises don’t have dine-in options that I have seen; rather they seem to be going in the direction of other discount food options, preferring instead to be a carry out joint. While the prices are below what some of the other wing chains, I’d contend the quality is below them, too.

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Sesame Chicken

Flying Dragon Chinese Restaurant

Fairborn’s list of Chinese food places are pretty heavily focused on good delivery options, because they’re right in the middle of some of the biggest markets for good delivery food, being between Wright-Patterson Air Force Base’s massive population of base employees and Wright State University’s large student body. And it’s good then, that the food here comes in huge portions. It’s a tad pricier than some of the other spots in terms of food, but it’s also a guaranteed two or three meals and there’s definitely something to be said for that.

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Meat Loaf Sandwich

Lily’s Bistro

It’s a very recent addition to downtown Dayton, but seems to have been highly anticipated nonetheless. Restaurateur Emily Mendenhall opened Lily’s Bistro in the former Boulevard Haus building just about a year ago. Another of the popular restaurants in Dayton’s Oregon District, Lily’s Bistro has been a late dining destination that recently expanded into the realm of lunch. It’s a light bistro concept to compete with the higher-end dining and bars that surround it. The concept does experimental American cuisine with unusual sandwiches and plenty of quality food among the options.

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Lily's Burger

4 things I’ve learned in 4 years as a food blogger

Can you believe it? Four years ago this weekend, I launched Another Food Critic.

What began as a college project has since spawned 475 restaurant reviews spanning eight states, all in a quest to find the most delicious restaurants in America. It’s been a heck of an adventure, a heck of a hobby, and I’m thankful to each and every reader of the six-figure traffic this site has brought in.

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