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

  • Dayton dining — 226 Reviews

  • Cincinnati Dining — 58 Reviews

W.G. Kitchen & Bar - Chicken Marsala

W.G. Kitchen & Bar

A contemporary wine concept with a flair for Italian specialties, the Wine Guys Kitchen and Bar — or “W.G. Kitchen & Bar” for short — is a wine bar concept with three locations in greater Cincinnati. The walls are filled with vintages from around the world, and the large open interior dining area gives way to many intimate recesses for small groups to congregate along with large parties. W.G., the product and namesake of longtime wine connoisseur and Ohio food name Craig Decker, is is great place to go to try a few different kinds of spirit, whether you’re a novice to wine or an expert looking for a refined glass.

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Happy Chicks Bakery - Cupcakes

Happy Chicks Bakery

Another recent addition to Northside in Cincinnati, Happy Chicks Bakery was created by vegans for vegans, and will appeal to the sweet tooth in you while keeping the flavors local and conscientious. In all of the cupcakes, cookies, pies and other seasonal items, what I really found wandering through this place was a group of folks who care deeply about what they do. And while the spot brings out a lot of locals, this neighborhood bakery should bring about a lot more attention for its great niche.

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Chicken salad sandwich

The Deli on Webster

Webster Street isn’t far from downtown Dayton proper, but you don’t spot a lot of other things in that part of town that bring people out during the week. In fact, though, with the Second Street Market, the Dayton Dragons, and a few other things that bring downtown folks to play. But I consider The Deli to be a very under-appreciated gem of downtown dining. Too many folks missing out on the opportunity to try some great food.

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(Clockwise) Dumplings, Hibachi chicken, General Tso's Chicken, Fried Rice

Hibachi Grill & Supreme Buffet

Hibachi Grill & Supreme Buffet is an expansive buffet option serving Kettering in the suburban region of south Dayton. At the confluence of Wilmington Pike and Stroop Road, it’s a popular site for the neighborhood and attracts a lot of folks from the area for its convenience and the wide variety of foods that it serves. Still, though, my experience on the dishes here was mixed.

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Little York Pizza Tavern - Pizza & wings

Little York Tavern & Pizza

Little York is a funny thing of a concept for north Dayton’s Vandalia. The tavern’s recognizable as a place for activities, with pool and volleyball courts and dart boards, it’s much like some of the sports bar concepts around town. Unlike the rest though, this one is a pretty decent restaurant at the same time, and it’s got a menu packed with tasty bar grub as well as a well known and well-loved menu of pizzas that come in sizes starting at the 6-inch level and going up. That said though, it’s the kind of place that draws a crowd and a dedicated fan base.

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Johnny J's Pub & Grille - Nachos

Johnny J’s Pub & Grille

As a small chain primarily active in the Great Lakes region, Johhny J’s Pub & Grill is an Irish bar themed concept which has a number of options for food on that vein and a decent group of bar food items to go along with that. Across its locations, though, the spot seems to be a night scene in small towns which attracts a decent crowd for drinks and pool or other activities. It’s a good place to grab a drink to be sure. The food though, remained average.

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Giovanni's Gorgonzola Stuffed Hamburger

Another Food Critic judges the 2014 Taste of Miami Valley

If you haven’t ever been to Urban Nights in Dayton, you would have been blown away to see what took place downtown this weekend. The energy that brought thousands of people to downtown for music, the arts, and of course food, is palpably growing. I’m a lover of the vibrant restaurant scene in this city, but the 2014 Taste of Miami Valley brought out an unusually high number of restaurants from the area. And they served the much larger crowd of Dayton folks who made it out this year.

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Little City Grill - Ribs

Little City Grill

As restaurants go, often the goal is to make something over-the-top delicious like you can’t find anywhere else. Little City Grill, nestled in Cleveland, Ohio, has seen success doing just the opposite; it’s the kind of place where you go to enjoy meals that remind you at home. A lot of red-blooded American classics make up the heart of the menu, including steaks, barbecue, and a huge array of breakfast foods and specials that keep people coming here early in the morning all the way into the evening.

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Ray's Place - Corned beef hash sandwich

Ray’s Place

Primarily aimed as a night spot for downtown Kent, Ohio, Ray’s Place is best known as a place with a variety of beers on tap, with a sizable selection of craft beer to appeal to the Kent State University student population and others in the community. Still, while it’s a nightspot for the beer lovers, it’s also a place where you can go to get some good bar food. A ton of wings, burgers, sandwiches and other options await you at this long-standing watering hole, which has been open for more than 75 years.

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Twisted Meltz - Patty melt

Twisted Meltz

Pretty college towns like Kent always seem to attract the most interesting concepts in the dining world; college kids like to try new things on a dime. So it was no surprise to me as I wandered the alleyway of downtown Kent, Ohio, that I would find something different. The Kent State University crowd has a lot of places it can go for a sandwich. More so if they wander out into the Akron-Canton-Cleveland area which has an emerging dining scene. But it’s hard to imagine missing out on a chance for one of these enormous sandwiches.

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