Springboro, Ohio is a one-time rural hamlet which has grown over the years as more and more people come to the area for its pleasant environment. Today, it’s every bit a southern suburb of Dayton as its norther neighbors. Though times are changing, one thing that feels the same: The K&W drive in still feels like the heart of the community. Right in the middle of Main Street, this little ice cream store is still the place where kids walk after school for ice cream and high school sports teams celebrate summer victories.
The appeal of small Coffee roasteries providing product for shops throughout a region is a common thing in Ohio. With so many coffee shops, the expensive nature of running your own roastery machines and importing beans from all over the world for a basic menu of flavors is daunting. Because of that, businesses like Silver Bridge Coffee Company don’t even need a coffee house to sell their products. The little roastery business has no shop to speak of, instead it supplies coffee to other businesses all over the state, such as Fluff Bakery. You may have tasted this coffee and never known it.
As a hyperlocal bar, Flippin’ Jimmy’s offers a highly simplified atmosphere and a very quiet atmosphere. I don’t really know how else to put it, this place proudly sports a bare-bones attitude, insisting in its business mantra that it sticks to a smaller menu in hopes of doing all of its dishes just right. Locals come through here to get a bite to eat and watch local sports, but just as many seem to ascribe to its takeout menu as well. Locals tell me everyone comes to Flippin Jimmy’s for its wings. I think I have been reawakened to the possibilities of the chicken wing.
One of many family-oriented offerings on Cincinnati’s west side, Brotherton’s is a small family-owned restaurant with a diverse following of locals and a menu to match. The restaurant is surrounded by “family” based chains yet it seems to be holding its own. With good cause, at that.
Today marks a pivotal, if not bizarre, day in US culinary history.
The tomato: It’s the fourth most popular vegetable* in America. From salsa to the Bloody Mary cocktail, I dare you to try to go a day without eating something made with tomatoes. This wasn’t always the case though. For hundreds of years, actually, the English-speaking world saw the tomato as a pariah; in the 1500′s word spread that the nightshade was poisonous. It wasn’t until September 26, 1820 that one man dared brave the dangers of the tomato: his name was Colonel Robert Gibbon Johnson of Salem, New Jersey.
The dip: It’s the cornerstone of the game day snack bowl, the center of the vegetable plate and the best part of many a snack food. For all of the many uses of the dip, how many different kinds can you name? Dips generally are undervalued, in my opinion. There are three kinds: Spinach and artichoke dip, ranch dip and…spicy. Then, a little business called Heavenly Dips came along. It’s based in Sunbury, Ohio but operates with mobility at fairs and street parties throughout the state, year round. Its dozens of varieties seem to have built a following.
Founded in 1992 in Royal Oak, Michigan, BD’s Mongolian Grill has 37 locations throughout the Midwest, serving up custom-made Asian-themed dishes in a manner commonly called “Mongolian Barbecue.” In spite of the name, the cuisine, Mongolian Barbecue is neither Mongolian nor barbecued; the dish is actually Thai. Contrary to the nonsense you’ve heard about ancient soldiers and swords and things…this is just a recent technique. BD’s is a very classy place with a lot of options and a sports bar-type place on the side for good measure.
How do you make a delicious looking bagel into a disaster? Take bad service, add a lot of dirty environment, serve up some past-their-prime sides and call it a meal.
Now, Bagel Café is a pretty divisive place as far as opinion goes. I’ve heard some people say the bagels are good, and I’ve heard many others say everything else about the place is worth avoiding for a myriad of reasons. Within minutes of entering, I understood exactly what they were talking about.
Operating since 1960 (and at its present location since 1979,) Bill’s Donut Shop is a business for families, run by a family of bakers. The little shop sits along State Route 48, the main route into downtown Dayton from the southern suburbs. Thousands of commuters pass the little shop every day, and many are enticed by its charming pastries and coffee. This is the kind of place old timers come through daily as part of their early morning routing and where high school teams meet up before practice for breakfast. The doughnuts here are far above average and I’m definitely going to tell you right off the bat this is somewhere you’ll want to try.
With just over 100 locations, California-based BJ’s Restaurant is a sort of commercialized microbrewery; each location emulates sort of an Americana atmosphere and an upscale bar to match. While this isn’t the type of place I’d normally be inclined to sample, BJ’s lends itself to a lot of scrutiny. It’s the first microbrewery “chain” I’ve found in this area of Ohio, with a menu of a dozen or so custom-craft beers. Also, once you find your way through the flashy front doors, the motto of BJ’s is “Wow, I love this place.”
Challenge accepted, BJ’s.