The very simply named concept of Chicago’s Pizza makes its home at three locations in the city’s northern neighborhoods where it serves up pizza by the slice until 5 a.m. It’s a very simple operation — good pizza that’s easy to walk with — which caters to the walking-friendly neighborhood and the many local bars in the blocks around this part of town. The experience is pretty easy to like for its approachable nature.
A definite modern take on a very beloved Midwestern cooking style can be found in the middle of Cincinnati’s Over-The-Rhine neighborhood in Pointiac BBQ and Bourbon Bar. The street has brought forth many interesting concepts in the past few years with a contemporary flare, but one with a special focus on something as dear to the city as barbecue is rarer and more ambitious. This spot is great for its bevy of good drinks and the food deserves a definite tasting.
A community gathering spot that has survived decades in Chillicothe in some creative ways, Carl’s Townhouse has been a sandwich shop and diner that brings people of all kinds for lunch. Family friendly and serving up comfort foods like burgers, soups and breakfast foods, Carl’s revels in a simpler kind of restaurant concept; one that thrives in small towns as a familiar place where everyone has made happy memories and the food has that charm that transcends the ages. When this place almost closed, they literally moved the building to a new site to save it. There’s a reason it’s got a place like that in the community.
A historic joint in downtown Chillicothe, Old Canal Smokehouse is a historic building that sits in a historic town and offers a casual atmosphere with some great Midwestern barbecue. In spite of all of the years that this building has, the smokehouse has a very approachable, friendly appeal. It’s a small-town hangout with some good barbecue, and there’s a reason this spot is known outside of town. It’s a nice representation of the appeal that drives Chillicothe; casual in spite of its many stories.
A dive restaurant in Fairborn across the street from Wright State University and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Yaffa Grill is a pretty simple restaurant operation and attached grocery store serving Mediterranean cuisine. Busy during the lunch hour for its variety of fresh food and relatively healthy options. This place is all made for convenience, whether you want carry out or a quick buffet. The food here is fresh and pretty good.
Eccentric. Colorful. A resort. All of these things describe the collection of beach themed decor and busy dining areas that is The Dock in Enon. The seafood restaurant has a ton of quirk with it, designed to make you feel like you’re at a beach in the middle of southern Ohio. For all that excitement, the place does a pretty good job with the seafood dishes it offers, and the pleasant experience the place brings grows on you pretty quickly. It’s easy to miss it for its location in a small town, but it’s also so much fun, it’s worth a little trip.
Yellow Springs, Ohio has the benefit of a few really nice coffee shops in town. The notoriously eccentric little village supports them, too; each brings a little bit of a different experience to the table, with the Underdog Cafe and Emporium Wines being host not only to a wine and bottle shop on one end, but also being host to a series of pleasant local artists on a regular basis. Bring a book and grab a mug, because this is the shop you’re really going to want to linger in for awhile.
Related to the very fancy Mama DiSalvo’s Italian Restaurant next door, DiSalvo’s Deli is a separate business with a whole different focus. Operated as a deli and sandwich shop, this spot offers a variety of quick-serve, custom order sandwiches to dine in, or take to-go. While it’s a different kind of operation, the same level of quality pervades this spot and its eats. You will definitely find a few sandwiches that will keep you wanting to come back, and take a few things to go while you’re at it.
A prominent Indian food buffet in the Beavercreek neighborhood of Dayton, Jeet India, and its companion restaurant in the south market Amar India, offer a ton of options for Indian food for an audience that is not otherwise familiar with it. The cuisine isn’t what I would consider authentic; the food is more tailored to a western palette but those favorite dishes of Indian cuisine shine through. The restaurant is clean and nice inside, and the food isn’t bad, so this restaurant is a good first step to trying a new kind of cuisine.
A dive bar serving Cincinnati’s West side, Tavern on the Bend can be found just off Interstate 74 near Monfort Heights. This local sports bar features a menu of burgers and other sandwiches as well as 20 craft beers on tap. The sandwiches are named for different celebrities, famous characters and big personalities. And indeed, the food here has a lot of personality. This spot is a safe local place to grab a bite to eat and some company.