The much acclaimed Oakwood Club has been a mainstay of the finer things in south Dayton for 50 years. Classy and elegant, you already know you’re in for a great experience once you set foot into the low-lit interior, glimpse the rich polished wood bar and the intimate recesses where Dayton’s food lovers converge. Grab a drink and expect to wait – especially around the holidays – but prepare to be impressed by what you taste. There’s a good reason this place has existed for so long, and you’re about to discover it.
It’s got locations all over the country, and this rapidly growing chain of shopping center food stalls already has 50 locations open or on the way. Let’s be honest: you get a certain idea in mind when you think of mall food. Take that idea and set it aside. Chicken Now has a good recipe for its food, fried to order and very filling. It’s a little pricier than the places next food and it takes a little longer than them to serve the food up, but the quality is there.
One of the many classy dining options in the Greene of east Dayton, Brio Tuscan Grill is an upscale Italian food joint, specializing in all kinds of favorites from the best of Mediterranean Cuisine. When you walk in, you’ll be expecting quality food from a top-notch chain. That’s a high bar, and they’ve risen to the challenge. The food here is truly fantastic, but you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find the quality food and incredible environment are a well-oiled machine of good service and pleasant experiences. It’s a fantastic place to experience.
The beautiful and elaborate Crystal Grand Banquet Hall in Lemont, Illinois is designed exclusively for large-scale engagements. Situated in southwestern Chicago’s quaint neighborhoods, the hall has been host to weddings, birthdays, and other formal events. The meals are grand in scope and scale to be sure, and the environment more then makes the night, but Crystal Grand’s variety of in-house foods provide a wide array of options for planners to hold a sizable meal. I have to say, the building is beautiful, the people are amazing and the experience is grand, but the food isn’t outstanding.
One motto on City Barbecue’s website really embodies what this business is all about: “Other restaurants serve barbecue, we’re a barbecue restaurant.”
Since its inception in 1999, this Dublin-based chain of 20 restaurants has exploded all over the state and into neighboring Indiana. City Barbecue really goes for a classic community smokehouse feel; exposed skeletal walls filled with paraphernalia of local high school sports, dominated by an oversized counter where the line of hungry customers watch as red meat is slathered with sweet Midwestern Barbecue sauce. It’s a shame that few barbecue chains tend to do well, but City Barbecue seems to be bucking the trend, and deservedly so.
Ritzy, fancy and very upscale, La Comedia Dinner Theatre has been one of Dayton’s prime restaurant businesses since 1975, offering a fine dinner packaged with off-Broadway shows for very special occasions. From “Titanic” to “A Christmas Carol,” the playbill includes about six plays a year and offers a truly unique experience for Dayton residents. It’s well-known in the area and frequented by couples for their anniversaries as well as birthdays and holidays. Sport coat and tie optional, but definitely plan to dress up. Tickets start at $53, so you’ll want to make reservations in advance as much as possible.
Right along the main stretch of Clintonville in Columbus’ north suburbs, I am certain I have found the city’s best barbecue. Pig Iron epitomizes barbecue even in its appearance; the little restaurant along High Street doesn’t look like much, and maybe the big metal pig outside its window is a little gaudy, but the spirit of good barbecue is substance over image. And Pig Iron has an abundance of tasty, tasty substance. This place is the kind of guilty pleasure that makes it hard to want to find new restaurants to review.
Although this was another stop on Man vs. Food’s Pittsburgh episode, Quaker Steak & Lube is actually a chain with several dozen locations mostly in east Pennsylvania and Ohio. Its name is a pun on the Quaker State oil company, and the restaurant’s locations are modeled after 1970′s gas stations, full of license plates and muscle car memorabilia. Truly a unique model, Quaker Steak & Lube is known best for its flashy interiors and its variety of wings. They proudly display their “Best Wings U.S.A.” slogan throughout the dining room, a testament to the many awards the wings have won over the years.