The Lola

B Spot Burgers

Chef Michael Symon has been credited with leading the revival of Cleveland’s food scene, and his much loved concepts have made waves all over the country. As his concepts continue to capture national fame, they’ve been creeping into other cities, among them the very popular B Spot Burgers. This restaurant chain, now with locations in Cleveland and Detroit, brings Chef Symon’s mastery to a very American dish: the burger. Something as common (and inexpensive) as a burger…from a world class chef. Yes, this is absolutely worth a visit.

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Eel, Spicy Crunch & Spicy Tuna rolls

Kabuto Japanese Steakhouse

Along Cincinnati’s northern suburbs, you can find just about any kind of cuisine you wish around the Northgate Mall. It’s the kind of destination that brings a lot of appetites, but a great many of the places you can try there, it turns out, are pretty vanilla. Not so for Kabuto Japanese Steakhouse, a Cincinnati hibachi destination and sushi house. It’s a masterfully done cuisine, and actually, the spot has a lot of charm in that it does not break the bank.

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Steamed dumplings

Laksa Asian Fusion

Asian Fusian concepts are a funny thing. They’re made for convenience, with a variety of the common popular dishes from Chinese, Japanese, Thai and Vietnamese foods. But with them comes a charm, if the cook has mastered all of those cuisines. The Laksa Asian Fusion concept, set up east of Dayton, is an interesting example. Built in the former Linh’s Restaurant space, this spot aims to bring the most popular dishes in an approachable concept. I like the place for how easy it makes the many cuisines to understand.

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Pulled pork


Another new food truck to come out of Dayton, Ohio, Smokinbeebeeq is a delightful concept. Not only do they smoke a variety of homemade meats and cook up some melt-in-your-mouth barbecue, but this specialty truck also makes barbecue sauces sweetened with its own home-grown honey. Homegrown barbecue has a lot of charm to it; because barbecue is one of those things that can be done right in so many ways. What this little truck brings to the table — it’s definitely on the mark.

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Go Cupcake (Cupcakes)

Go Cupcake

Dayton has got a lot of food trucks, but it’s only got one suck truck devoted entirely to cupcakes; that’s Go Cupcake, the pink van that pops up in all kinds of events and gatherings in Dayton during the warm months. With a tray of tasty-looking desserts that draw in passerby, and friendly owner Jenny Cox, Go Cupcake is hard to miss. Sampling the cupcakes, it’s no surprise that this little truck was an early addition to the local food truck scene that has since stuck around.

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Pulled pork nachos

Pa’s Pork

Dayton’s food truck scene has brought out some really interesting food combinations as new restauranteurs bring fresh ideas and experienced cooks give the public a chance to try their cuisine. Definitely one of the funnier sets would be Pa’s Pork — the name sounds a lot like a food truck devoted to barbecue, but it’s also got a menu of German and European dishes, like pierogi, sauerkraut, and schnitzel. The truck is a seasonal one and can be found at events, but wherever you see it, it’s definitely worth a try.

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Prosciutto sandwich

Dutch’s Bar & Bottle Shop

A funny thing of a concept in Cincinnati’s Hyde Park neighborhood, the Dutch’s shop is a combination bottle and craft beer bottle shop, as well as a deli and bar. The spot has a lot of people coming and going for different reasons, but its tiny bar room is always full and its extensive patio is welcoming on those warm weekends. As much as the spirits here are something to behold, I would say the the food just can’t be overlooked.

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White Death Winter Warmer

Listermann Brewing Co.

If your first impression of Listermann Brewing Company is that it doesn’t look like a “normal” microbrewery, you would be right. In fact, this spot predates many of the other craft beer options in Cincinnati by several years. First set up as a supply store for home-brewers, this spot joined the exploding craft taproom movement in 2008 with a small addition. Simple wood benches, florescent lighting and beer served in plastic cups doesn’t give this spot the feel of a bar. But it doesn’t need to stand on ceremony to make beers that blow you out of the water.

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New York Pizzeria

The St. Anne’s Hill historic district just east of downtown Dayton holds many interesting surprises. While the well-traveled routes of Oregon District and Wayne Avenue are only a mile away, most people who go there never make their way this direction. In that environment, humble, neighborhood establishments like New York Pizzeria thrive. Focused on delivering pizza and Italian classics to the surrounding neighborhoods, New York Pizzeria makes good on a delicious and always likable pastas and sandwiches. Often passed by, I say it’s a good spot for this neighborhood.

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Steak tips

Hawthorn Grill

Kettering is one of Dayton’s biggest suburbs, so it’s no surprise that the things that really thrive among its neighborhoods bring the comforts of home. Chef Candace Rinke’s Hawthorn Grill along Stroop Road is a natural fit for this part of town, with its friendly and approachable menu that focuses on the generous portions of comfort foods in an atmosphere that is friendly to families and gives star treatment to the simple delights, the meat and potatoes of American cuisine. This is a kind of place you’ll want to bring your parents to try.

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