Der Bake Oven

Berlin, Ohio is often thought of as the capital of Amish country, far from the beaten path in the northern part of the state and full of little shops. Bakeries. Furniture stores. Little local antique shops. Kitch decorations. It’s a place to get away from the complications of modern life and enjoy some of the old-world simplicity and hospitality. Small town America produces places like Der Bake Oven appear in towns like this and make them extra charming. Along Berlin’s main stretch and open bright and early in the morning, it’s the kind of charm you don’t want to miss.

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ChikaLicious Dessert Bar

The ultra-tiny storefront along East 1oth Street in Manhattan looks like a wisp of a restaurant, but it’s a place highly in demand. Chef Chika Tillman launched this concept in 2003 with a focus on finding some very unusual and experimental dessert pieces. Yes, while a storefront across the street offers street desserts and common dishes, the small, 16-seat corner on the other side is a memorable experience. Expensive, but a worthwhile experience.

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Melt Bakery

While a husband-and-wife team founded Melt Bakery in a storefront on Orchard Street in Manhattan, you probably recognize the name of this place by its ice cream sandwiches which are sold in little carts located around New York City, as the little shop has grown “one sandwich at a time.” This spot has a ton of charm — it’s hard not to like a shop that has been perfecting ice cream sandwiches since 2010. You also have to credit them for the smart real estate t00 — just when you’re feeling a bit hot or tired, suddenly you come upon one of these trucks in the nick of time.

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Cafe Zaiya

You see more and more hybrid food shops in New York City where there are unusual matchups of food. Not a gastropub in the real sense of the term, but more so a place where different kinds of food you might not expect can be found. And so, this Asian-themed bakery serves pastries, ice cream, sushi, sandwiches and other things all under one roof. So which thing really is the best reason to stop in to this low-key storefront near the Midtown area? Well that would be the baked goods, definitely hearkening to flavors and tastes in Asia. This is the place to go for something sweet if you don’t like things that are sweet.

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Big Sky Bread Co.

Practically hidden along Far Hills Avenue in south Dayton near where Kettering meets Oakwood, Big Sky Bread Co. is an old-school bread bakery that is so easy to under-appreciate these days. The bakery is a classic small-town lunch spot; pleasant aromas waft to the front of the restaurant as french bread, challahs, pretzels and garlic loaves are baked alongside cookies, cakes, and other kinds of goodies. It’s all to easy to ignore the simple pleasures of an old-fashioned bakery like this one. But to enjoy such a bakery is to delight in the simple pleasure of a home-grown original experience.

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Boosalis Baking

Popular with residents in the south suburbs of Dayton, Boosalis Bakery started up a few years ago and quickly gained a following for its baked goods, gentle atmosphere and very kind staff. The “from scratch daily” mantra adopted by owner Matt Boosalis in practice brings a lot of freshness everyday. When the shop moved from the Miami Township area to Centerville, its fans followed. On any given weekend you can find a lot of people streaming in for a lunch or for something sweet to take home.

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Jim’s Donut Shop

122 E. National Rd. Vandalia, OH 45377 937.898.4222 Facebook page An immensely simple operation set up along East National Road in Vandalia, Jim’s Donut Shop epitomizes the small American donut shop. Folks come in starting early in the morning and try a variety of donuts and coffee, so I’m sitting around an oversized counter, others taking … Continue reading

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Belle’s Bread Japanese Bakery & Café

Focused specifically on providing baked goods and desserts specifically for an east Asian audience, Belle’s Bread sits among a number of Asian businesses but remains approachable. This Columbus bakery has many kinds of goodies that can’t be found in your average Midwestern shop. Roll cakes, green tea frozen yogurt, Rice cake based dishes. That in addition to the traditional cakes, pies, and bread are available here. What are you aiming to dine in, or you’re taking some food to go, you’ll this is a pretty nice place to try a few new goodies.

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ele Cake Co.

While the name may suggest that Ele Cake Co. is a simple bakery operation, the several Dayton-area locations of this restaurant feel much more like a bistro. With a menu of sandwiches, small plates and other kinds of cuisine with specialties around the world, there’s definitely more to the place than its name. Come hungry and be ready to be filled, but don’t think about skipping dessert; that would be a mistake. About as bad a mistake as missing out on this spot.

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The Coffee Pot

Greenville, Ohio is about as small-town-America as they come, and this border town between Dayton and Indianapolis is home to a lot of wonderful experiences you would only find in a place like that. Its homely charm extends to the local restaurant scene, where charming unique concepts abound. One of the main coffee shops in town, The Coffee Pot has it all—good coffee, nice drinks, baked goodies and soups and sandwiches that will keep you coming back for lunch, as well. This is the right kind of coffee shop to spend the afternoon relaxing with a good book or conversation.

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