Situated right in the heart of Washington DC, Jack’s Famous Deli isn’t a flashy place, despite being mere blocks from the Capitol and the National Mall. Between Judiciary Square and the many office buildings that populate the heart of DC, there is a huge lunch crowd. Fortunately, Jack’s delivers with a cafeteria-style selection with sandwiches any way you want them, soups, light cuisine, and a large central spot where you can pick out one of dozens of items of food. But what really gets people coming here seems to be the sandwiches, and for good reason.
Completing the triumvirate of Chinese food shops serving the Beavercreek suburb of Dayton, Asian King is a spot that caters primarily as a delivery service to the nearby neighborhoods, competing against China King which serves as a buffet and New Great Wall Chinese across the street with its carry-out business. Asian King keeps it simple with a menu of classic Chinese food favorites, as well as some other popular Asian cuisine, like pad Thai and Vietnamese Pho noodle soups. The diversity of that menu is worth noting, but the dishes I tried have not impressed me.
Right on the cusp of downtown Dayton’s lively Oregon District, Press Coffee is a little hole in the wall along Wayne Avenue with a small but interesting menu of different coffee drinks. It’s frequented most by the folks who live and work in downtown, and Press has a very distinct feel, with its light wood tables and small countertops where folks have a tendency to meet and read. I’ve tried the spot a few times and in spite of some online criticisms I have found it to be a positive experience.
While the South Side in Pittsburgh has traditionally been beat known for its nightlife, many of those popular bars crowded during the weekend also have some of the most interesting restaurant concepts emerging in the city. Steel Cactus, a colorful Tex Mex concept, brings simple, high quality dishes like tacos and burritos to play with excellent ingredients for a delicious result. Steel Cactus might look like a spot you’d only frequent for a drink when the game is on, but it’s got an interesting set of foods to try that should not be ignored.
Even if you spend a lot of time around downtown Dayton, you can still very easily miss the hardy little restaurant on East Third Street known as White Lotus, and the hardy little one-woman show that keeps the spot running. It’s a very funny thing this little spot, where you can order a number of great Thai dishes or a burger. You wouldn’t think those two things would both be good at the same restaurant, but they’re the two items that White Lotus does best.
You hear a lot in Dayton about the little dive bars that the locals love. Always near the top of the list is Tank’s Bar and Grill, a spot along Wayne Avenue which isn’t big, isn’t conspicuous and isn’t very aggressive about marketing itself, but people love it still. Word of mouth tends to be the way that you first hear of Tank’s, and it’s often a surprise to people: a dive bar near downtown that makes good breakfast? It almost sounds like an oxymoron. But Tank’s delivers.
Ask anyone in Dayton what they think of Young’s Jersey Dairy, and you’ll probably hear a lot of good things. Though it’s out on the edge of the area, outside Yellow Springs, this spot is far more than a simple restaurant. The multi-acre farm offers a variety of family attractions in addition to its much-beloved ice cream, fast food and homemade goodies, all while you can mini-golf in the spring, pick pumpkins and take hayrides in the fall, pet the animals and more. The crowds speak for themselves. Yes, Young’s Jersey Dairy is an experience.
The Beavercreek area covers a huge area of the eastern Dayton area, and it’s home to a pretty major number of the city’s residents, thanks in part to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and Wright State University. One of the many Chinese food take out options, New Great Wall Chinese Restaurant is a family-run establishment, and indeed you’ll see a lot of this little family running about if you happen to visit. All in all, the food here is a pretty safe option if you’re a big fan of Chinese take-out.
Okay, so apparently there’s a flying Tiger Chinese Restaurant and a Flying Dragon Chinese Restaurant in Dayton, both in Fairborn. Have I stepped into a rivalry?
Downtown Fairborn is served by a lot of different kind of food options but flying Tiger is more of a classic Chinese food concept. Serving the busier lunch hour directly across from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, the spot has been in business since 1989, And it’s got a very simple menu a number of different Chinese dishes that you know in love already. All in all I think that it’s got a good dining experience and I think the price points are there to say that flying Tiger keeps up with the competition in Fairborn.
The colorful village of Yellow Springs northeast of Dayton Ohio has a number of interesting independent little restaurants that serve it. One of them, Ha Ha pizza, tends to bring in a lot of locals for a dine in or carry out experience with a bit of an interesting twist. There are a couple of pizza options in yellow Springs, but this one seems to be one of the most popular. With a pretty simple menu of pizzas, appetizers and a few other Italian foods, Ha Ha brings in a lot of people and especially on the weekends you might expect to see a wait. All in all, though that weight is a bit of a challenge, the food it ha ha is decent.