General Tso's Chicken and Spring Roll
  • There are 320,193 independent restaurants in America. Another Food Critic is here to find which ones are the best.

  • Dayton dining — 220 Reviews

  • Cincinnati Dining — 55 Reviews

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Horseless Buggy Eatery

The emerging food truck business lets you meet all kinds of folks, really, as they break into the food business. That’s what I chuckled to myself when I first laid eyes on Horseless Buggy Eatery, a Dayton-based food truck that looks to have been build out of an old RV. This funny little spot is a rare sight, though I admit I wish it was more common to find in town. At catering events, food truck rallies and the like you can find this small but delicious menu of sandwiches and burgers on hand.

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Sidelines Bar & Grill - Wings; Fries

Sidelines Bar & Grill (CLOSED)

It’s a small sports bar concept that opened last year on Wilmington Pike in the Dayton neighborhood of Kettering, and Sidelines occupies a space that has seen some concepts come and go, most recently a Starlite Diner. The spacious restaurant has been reworked with a concept for more of a family setting, with a bar, lots of TVs for sports, some space for musicians to perform, and more. It’s a concept that has a few draws to attract the locals, but I would consider it to be more of a dive than a spot worth a special visit.

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Phatt Taco - Barbacoa Tostada

Phatt Taco

It’s a relative newcomer to downtown Columbus, but Phatt Taco is plugged into a vibrant lunch dining scene in Capital City. There have been a number of tex-mex inspired dining options come and go from downtown in the past few years, but at last one has come to town that specializes in something downtown dwellers are looking for more and more: delicious but healthy ways to have lunch. This spot takes the custom-made mex food concept but instead of packing that into thousand-calorie burritos, it espouses smaller and more veggie healthy items.

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The Original Pancake House

Now with just over 100 locations around the country, The Original Pancake House started in the 1950’s as a diner in Portland, Oregon and now has franchised across the West Coast and moving to the East Coast as well. As it continues to grow, the restaurant says its got a commitment to high quality ingredients that keeps it ahead of the competition. My experience in this regard has been mixed. The Pancake House does some things well but overall my feelings on this breakfast chain is mixed.

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GISHWHES 1

Another Food Critic gives GISHWHES some love

I review a lot of odd things. But you know, I never turn a strange dish down. Turns out, I have a chance to put my adventurous palette to the test.

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The Sweet Caroline w/ Fries

The Over Hang

For a very long time, the storefront at 63 North Court Street stood vacant. The spot, formerly known as the Blue Gator, closed in 2007 and didn’t come back to life until recently. Now re-imagined as “The Over Hang,” this new Athens bar sports a spacious interior for dancing and a large bar where people come and enjoy both food and drinks and some company. It’s a dark and spacious interior and another spot along Court Street where the college crowd gathers to enjoy a few drinks and some lively company.

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Eggs Benedict

The National Exemplar

Conceived in 1983 as a fine dining spot for the Mariemont Inn in northeastern Cincinnati, The National Exemplar is one of the fancy and upscale amenities of the historic Mariemont destination. The National Exemplar is a bit of a formal place and a steakhouse in the evenings, and during the day it’s also a well-known brunch spot with a patio right along the main stretch. A little bit of a historic feel dominates the low lit dining room where you’ll be served top quality steaks and a variety of other American classics.

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Loaded baked potato pizza

Ferrari’s Little Italy & Bakery

The Bassano family opened Ferrari’s Little Italy & Bakery in the eastern Cincinnati suburb of Maderia 15 years ago, and the Italian restaurant has been a mainstay of Italian cuisine in the city in the time since then. Tucked behind a strip mall it’s got a rustic feel that has meant the classy restaurant has remained a pretty, peaceful place to dine even as much of the town around it has undergone significant change in the past 15 years. But change or not, one thing hasn’t changed since I first set foot in here 15 years ago; the wonderful smell of Italian pastries that greets you when you walk in.

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Dilly Cafe

Pretty Mariemont is one of the more affluent suburbs of Cincinnati, so it makes sense you’d find a wine bistro like Dilly here. The little bistro once known as the Dilly Deli has the charm that embodies many of the businesses in this suburb, it’s pretty, a little bit down-to-earth and yet very elegant. Its food is a light fare and it’s a place where you go not only to try a few nice, select vintage wines but also to give a sampling to quality kinds of beer, whether you are looking at a social brew or a niche brand from somewhere local. I like this spot. It’s just fancy enough to impress.

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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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