Sima Korean and Japanese Restaurant brings another take on finer Asian cuisine to the Kettering neighborhood of Dayton, Ohio. If you live in the area, you’ve no doubt been attracted by the giant signs advertising the restaurant’s defining specials: a lunch sushi buffet and an Asian barbecue treatment which has been outstanding. If you’ve never set foot in the place, you’d be amazed at how sleek and attractive the interior is; it definitely feels like fine dining. If you like sushi then this is a place you’ll definitely want to try. It’s a great showing for the concept.
Kyoto Sushi Bar and Japanese Cuisine has two locations; one in Ontario, Canada, and one in northeastern Cincinnati, which opened in 2005. It’s got a menu with a lot of the great classic Japanese cuisine, but this place is mainly for sushi. With a few dozen different varieties, it’s the kind of place that really jumped on the sushi concept when there weren’t a lot of other places like it in the suburbs. As the popularity of sushi has grown in Ohio, the cuisine that Kyoto Sushi Bar serves has withstood the test of time. It’s really good sushi.
It’s the epitome of a hole in the wall; this modest-looking dive nestled into a tiny space in the Airway Shopping Center on the edge of Dayton serves a ton of people from nearby Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and the surrounding neighborhoods, people who value a humble establishment like Gyro Palace for its variety of dishes, its value-minded pricing and its quick service. There are a ton of reasons you might pass by this place and never drop in; it’s hard to spot. It doesn’t advertise aggressively. People outside of the internet don’t seem to know it very well. But Gyro Palace is absolutely worth a try.
Demos has a few locations around Nashville, it’s been a popular purveyor of Italian cuisine for quite some time. With its wide variety of delicious steaks, pasta and seafood available at relatively reasonable prices, this is a nice semi-casual place where you’ll find plenty of families and large groups feasting on delicious dishes on a cheap dime. The real charm of Demo’s is it’s such a people-friendly place; it’s always warm here, the service is always exemplary, and all in all the founding family did its job well; there’s an unmistakably contagious good mood that pervades this place as I come back year after year.
Another of the newer bars gracing Bowling Green’s main stretch, Stone’s Throw Tavern brings a new and interesting perspective to the area as a definitively Irish-flavored pub. It’s got a funny interior of stone with the feel of a close-quarters pub, spliced with a sleek modern bar feel that keeps the central areas of the concept wide open for large groups looking to socialize. There’s a decidedly English tone to the food you’ll be trying here, but don’t be intimidated. They cook everything with beer, that’s their specialty. And man is it a good idea.
While it is an established and beloved presence in the West Virginia market, Pies and Pints is brand new to the Ohio market. Newly-opened in The Shopps at Worthington Place, Pies & Pints is eyeing more locations around the Columbus market, bringing its unique take on pizza and its eclectic beer menu to a larger audience. Another Food Critic and a number of other local food bloggers and writers had the pleasure of attending an invitation tasting event to sample the dishes and meet the people who are bringing Pies & Pints to prominence.
Replacing a similar concept at the same location, The Tropics opened today in Kettering, becoming the go-to place for the thousands who visit nearby Fraze Pavilion every night for summer concerts. At a spot like this and with no competition, you might be afraid the results won’t be so great. You’d be wrong. This place was opened by longstanding Dayton restaurateurs, and it shows. The professionalism and technique they and their staff demonstrate in creating this concept make it a high quality experience, the kind I definitely hope is here to stay.
A small but progressive chain founded in Palm Springs, California, Native Foods Cafe has 13 locations throughout the United States, most of which are in the vegetarian concept’s home state. Though the cafe has a fun and bright atmosphere, it’s got a deliciously serious mission: making sustainable, organic and holistic food. Though progressive-minded Californians are more open minded to this kind of food, it’s pleasant to see it creeping ever eastward and into the Midwest, as Chicago has become the home of three stores. Dubbing itself “America’s fast casual vegan restaurant” I hope to see big things from this chain.
Lavazza is an family-owned business of coffee importers in Italy. The corporation is big in that country, branding itself as “Italy’s favorite coffee” and claiming hundreds of millions in revenue a year. Despite this, Lavazza is relatively unknown outside of Italy, in part because of its extremely small number of shops outside the country. Confusingly, it operates three different chains of shops: one is only in Europe and the Middle East, one is only in India, and the final one, Lavazza Espression, has 36 locations around the world…and only six are in the U.S. Five in Chicago.
Complicated enough? I thought so, too.
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.