Crepes de Luxe

This little crepe shop has been a mainstay of the West Side Market in Cleveland for a number of years. It offers a customizable menu of a take and go crepes in both savory and dessert varieties. You watch them expertly prepare the crepe and top it to your liking, then you can enjoy the dish while walking among the other vendors in the market. Which is a nice little perk as you sample the many local meats and baked goods that Cleveland has to offer.

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Blue Note Bistro

Small-town Miamisburg harbors a real treat and a surprise in the Blue Note Bistro. Opened in a reclaimed space right along the main stretch of the southwest Ohio small town, it’s quickly lined up acts and local artists as a dive where you can go to enjoy some quality music downtown. Dayton doesn’t have a ton of places specifically for jazz and blues music these days. To see a spot such as this, and with its blue-themed decor and bit of dressing up, no less, is really pleasant.

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Table 33

A new restaurant which has set itself up in downtown Dayton, Table 33 is an interesting concept; focusing on locally-produced ingredients which are constructed into more creative recipes for lighter cuisine, while a friendly bar in the center of the establishment offers an inviting place to grab a drink in the evening. While the concept remains new and its ideas refined, Table 33 has begun to differentiate itself in a way its predecessors did not, as a place for greater experimentation and a push to grow, make, and eat local.

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Dunlays on the Square

Situated in north Chicago’s well-to-do Logan Square and surrounding neighborhood, Dunlays on the Square is an upscale bar and brunch place that’s’ hard to forget. The walls and bar are laden with nice wood trim finishes and each dish is plated with great meticulousness. That upscale feel brings a nice sense of refinement to the dishes, but a the end all of the food to be tried here is still approachable, and at price points which aren’t too bad. If you’re going with more than a few people, consider sitting in that pleasant patio in the good weather, but be sure to make a reservation.

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Heather’s Coffee & Cafe

A favorite hang-out spot for Springboro residents, Heather’s Coffee Cafe presents something that is fast disappearing in the growing corridor between Dayton and Cincinnati — the small town feel of a local restaurant. Perched along the main stretch of the historic town, it’s actually both a coffee shop and bistro in the morning and a bar and music venue in the evening. It also features a shorter and more well-thought-out menu of sandwiches and eats with a focus on food that is made with care. In all, a great experience.

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Zoup!

A fast-growing chain of soup restaurants which began in 1997 and now has over 90 locations and a quickly-growing presence around the country, Zoup! is a colorful concept. Meshing the fast-casual soup restaurant with a sandwich and salad restaurant in a sleek and modern concept, it tends to spring up in trendier and newer developments where there are active and more health conscious diners. And as it has expanded into the Midwest, Zoup has taken on some local flavors and given them a little bit of its own character.

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Stauf’s Coffee Roasters

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.

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Culp’s Cafe

While this unassuming hut in Dayton’s Carillon Park looks like a basic concession stand, it’s actually one of the most interesting recollections of Dayton’s history. Culp’s Cafe assumes the heritage and name of a lunch counter opened downtown in 1902, and which later became a tenant in one of downtown’s most vibrant one-time centerpieces: the Dayton Arcade. As the reincarnation of that much-loved Dayton eatery, which closed in 1960, Culp’s Cafe at Carillon Park offers the kind of food you would get at a 40s-era lunch counter: Sandwiches, soups and ice creams among them. This quiet spot is a perfect lunch destination.

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Mimi’s Cafe

With about 100 locations around the country, Mimi’s Cafe started in California, moved to Texas, and has since spread quickly with its very attractive concept of French-inspired casual dining fare. The spot offers a generally very different menu of items to be enjoyed, ranging from expansive breakfasts to hearty lunches of many kinds. The spot tends to pop up in a few locations in cities all over the country, preferring nice neighborhoods and cultured palettes. The spot has something interesting to offer, that’s for sure.

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Bon Vie Bistro

Bon Vie Bistro is a contemporary concept with a taste for nicer cuisine. Serving Easton Town Center in Columbus’ northeast suburbs, this concept focuses on making creative and interesting European-inspired dished a very modern American flair, whether that’s an Italian carbonera, a classy British fish and chips recipe, or the simple joy of a burger. Whatever you crave, this restaurant offers it with an eye for the upscale but a price that remains reasonable. No wonder the spot is popular.

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