With two locations in Louisville, Dragon King’s Daughter is a contemporary restaurant concept that combines two very unlike cuisines — Japanese sushi and Spanish Tapas — into one dining experience. I’m not quite sure what exactly inspired the combination, but it seems to work well enough to keep a steady following of people coming in the doors here. The concept works, though, in part because it brings out a lot of foods that people love and allows them to combine those in fun and interesting ways.
Opened by the owners of next-door Holy Grail at Cincy’s upscale The Banks development, Santo Graal is an Italian concept with one very cool idea: Pizza by the slice at The Banks — it’s novel, especially with all of the bars that bring people out en masse to this area. It’s hard to get out of most of the restaurants here without paying a pretty penny, if you can manage the crowds especially on the weekends when just about every venue is shoulder-to-shoulder. In that context, $5 for a slice of pizza seems like a pretty good deal. The pizza here isn’t going to blow your mind away, but it’s another take on the “drunk food” business model for a different city.
A tavern and a late night option in downtown Fort Wayne, Indiana, Henry’s Restaurant is a night spot that focuses on classic American bar food and a warm and cozy atmosphere. The menu here is predictable but the end result for the food is above average good. This place is best enjoyed as a spot to grab a table and spend time with a small group of friends. It’s got the charm that makes it a lower key place where you can really enjoy what’s around you.
A beloved sandwich shop in Dayton’s bustling Oregon District, 5th Street Deli is a tiny operation that focuses on making a variety of deli sandwiches and specializing in to-go meals, making it the only such business in the district and probably all of greater downtown. Now, with so many other great places to eat (and drink) within walking distance, this spot takes on a new level of importance; a place where you grab a good bite to eat, maybe take it to go, and enjoy with a good dose of Dayton night life. All in all, a lot of fun.
A lot of little neighborhood restaurants thrive in the suburbs of Dayton, Ohio, and so it is with Beavercreek Pizza Dive. While it’s a little off the typical beaten path, the spot has an allure in the eastern parts of the city with its simple interior and comfort pizza recipes. But don’t let its place under the radar fool you; this spot has a lot of great things to offer. Delivery, dine-in or carry-out, there are plenty of pizza options to satisfy more than a few cravings, and at a very economical price.
As many years as it has stood in Springboro, China Garden Buffet has been a spot for inexpensive eats, and an all-you-can-eat Chinese dive that attracts plenty for its quantity of dishes. You can get a variety of dishes here — sushi, chicken dishes and seafood as well as plenty of veggies — to try on that buffet. It brings in a decent crowd from Franklin and Springboro for cheap eats, but leaves something to be desired.
Created from many of the founders of Hot Head Burritos, also out of Dayton, Rapid Fired Pizza takes the build-your-own-food concept and applies it to a new target: Craft pizza. You pick the toppings on your pie (or choose a pre-selected one) and in 180 seconds that pizza is cooked and ready to eat. The first location of this new concept opened in late 2015 and immediately rocketed to a number of locations around the Dayton area. The idea is ambitious, does the pizza match? I think it’s a cool idea.
A neighborhood coffee and tea shop with a few locations around Columbus, Stauf’s Coffee Roasters is a bistro with a specialty in roasting its own coffee and making its own tea. While that by itself is a rare thing indeed, the best part about this little coffee shop is by far the atmosphere at each location; it’s really a place that feels like a comfortable and friendly environment, even in the bustle of a city. The drinks here are made to be appreciated, as is the atmosphere.
A drive-in chain popular in the Akron area in northeast Ohio, Swenson’s is a relic of an older era, a drive-in where you park your car, hit the lights, and a runner comes to your door with a menu full of classic American cuisine. Burgers, hot dogs, the kinds of convenient foods that evoke the golden days of the manufacturing roots of the city. Those days have passed, but the food has remained a mainstay here, with the popularity of the place bringing people back on weekends, no matter the weather.