Grandpa’s Cheese Barn

If you have spend any amount of time driving Interstate 71 between Columbus and Cleveland, you undoubtedly have seen the big white barn near Ashland emblazoned “Cheesebarn.” Sure, there are a few different kinds of cheese places in northern Ohio, where many local cheeses are made. But this one is likable because it has a series of businesses all tied into one. Sample some of the many cheeses, pickles, sauces and dips that are made at this place, and you’ll find an engaging experience and a great place to try.

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Peachtree Southern Kitchen & Cocktails

The homey, Cleveland suburb of Hudson has a lot of little charms of a small Midwestern town. In the midst of a town like this it’s natural to have a country kitchen-type restaurant, a little of an old-fashioned feel and a very comforting menu of tried and true Southern cuisine favorites. With Hudson a place that feels a little lost in time, this restaurant really does bring comfort with every bite.

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The Golden Lamb Inn

The famous Golden Lamb Inn of Lebanon, Ohio has been in business for over 200 years, and counts among its thousands of satisfied customers a dozen United States presidents. Once a stagecoach stop on the road to Cincinnati, this spot still operates as a hotel, restaurant and bar stop with some very classic and long-loved dishes. Step into the country kitchen and you’ll find an experience that is something like a museum, something like an old tavern lost in time, but still serving great food. Golden Lamb is a landmark well worth a stop in Lebanon, and the food delivers.

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Founding Farmers

Right in the heart of Washington DC’s business district, Founding Farmers is an experiment in bringing upscale, farm-to-table cuisine to the middle of the bustling city. Just blocks from the White House, it’s racked up awards with its interior — classy and evoking the dark, dank interior of a farmhouse and yet crisp and modern in presenting that — as well as its food. Locally-sourced ingredients where possible combine for great signature items like pot roast, pork chops and meatloaf. The variety of food in DC continues to amaze me. This restaurant brings something really great.

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Chalet in the Valley

Amish Country: For most Ohioans, that term is synonymous with some of the most remote and under-appreciated parts of the state. Indeed, this land in the rural northern and eastern parts of the state is where the greatest concentration of the Amish population resides, especially here in Holmes County, in the land between Columbus and Cleveland. These rolling foothills give way to endless hamlets and small towns where the simple live is celebrated. Little restaurants like Chalet in the Valley, in the county’s seat of Millersburg, are an example of the home cooking of rural Ohio.

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Young’s Jersey Dairy

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.

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Mom’s Restaurant

It’s nothing less than a much beloved and cherished institution of northern Warren county; the restaurant of “Mom” Hilda Ratliff sat at the six-way convergence of state routes 122, 123 and 741 for decades, until a road project shut its doors. With great excitement from the local community, Mom’s reopened at its present location just off Interstate 75 earlier this year. Locals swear by this quaint south Dayton diner for its made-in-house breakfasts and its platters of lunchtime favorites. Mom’s Restaurant has a lot of character in a tiny package.

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Dyers Family Dining

Opened on the site of a former banquet house and social hall, Dyers Family Dining is sort of an old-fashioned restaurant serving up the comfort foods that make you miss mom’s home cooking. It’s got a well-rounded country kitchen menu of steaks, seafood and sandwiches. Popular with families and large groups, it’s the ideal place to spend a pleasant evening with a group of close family and friends; feasting on huge burgers, steaks, and mountains of crispy seafood. Small down Bowling Green benefits greatly from banquet hall dining like this.

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Mel-O-Dee Restaurant

A small down diner for a small-town crowd, Mel-O-Dee Restaurant is a little ways off of the Interstate 70/Interstate 675 interchange in New Carlisle, a distant north suburb of Dayton. The little establishment has all the makings of an old-fashioned little guy: from handwritten menu specials to a big honking neon sign advertising colorful welcomes to all the groups that come through the town. In a town like Dayton, you find countless chains and manufactured food with an air of impersonal coldness about them. But just up the road, places like this are hiding, waiting to be discovered.

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Cherokee Steak House

Along the banks of central Tennessee’s Old Hickory Lake, and adjacent to a home owned by country music star Gretchen Wilson, Cherokee Steak House and Marina prides itself as “The steak house of the middle south.” The very southern feel of the locale lends very much to that concept. Since 1958, the Steak House has served “beef from the heart of the corn belt,” giving patrons a scenic view of one of Tennessee’s more beautiful vistas.

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