West Side Market Cafe

1979 W 25th St. Cleveland, OH 44113 216.579.6800 websiteWest Side Market Cafe could be considered a cornerstone of Ohio City’s West Side Market in a literal and figurative sense. The little sit in old-fashioned lunch counter sits at the corner of the main market and offers a full service dining experience as a counterpart to … Continue reading

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Mansfield Family Restaurant

Mansfield, in north-central Ohio, is home to a lot of local restaurant chains, most of them pretty low-key places where the locals like to congregate. Mansfield Family Restaurants, a local chain, is one of those operations. Just big enough that it’s always pretty packed often, including on weekends and Sundays. What does this little local diner serve up? Comfort food. And inexpensive, at that. Breakfasts and sandwiches and fried goodies and so forth. You’ll find that really to be a comfortable thing.

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Breakfast Club

Lebanon Ohio is very much a little slice of Midwestern America, with a quaint stretch of Main Street populated by small businesses that are beloved by the locals. Of all the restaurants along that stretch, the Breakfast Club is the resident morning spot. Like many classic pancake houses, you come in, take your order lightning fast, and breakfast is served within minutes. This is classic comfort food, with the simplicity to be enjoyed.

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Carl’s Townhouse

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.

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Sugar n’ Spice Restaurant

If you travel down Reading Road in Cincinnati’s East Side neighborhood, you would find it impossible to miss the sassy pink building that is Sugar n’ Spice restaurant. This little breakfast diner is every bit as exciting inside as it is on the outside, with a cramped little interior that is filled to the brim with, of all things, rubber ducks. While this diner is bursting at the seams with personality, the food really does deliver. This is a spot that is well worth a special kind of trip.

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Anchor Grill

It doesn’t make a lot of noise outside of its humble neighborhood in Covington, Kentucky, but the Anchor Grill is one of the community’s favorite spots. A diner that almost never closes, this spot is frequented by the night owls and the nocturnal Cincinnatians alike, and you’re just about guaranteed to find a whole host of interesting characters populating the spot when you pay it a visit. I would almost contend that the spirit of the place is best experienced in the middle of the night. That said, you have to be a certain kind of adventurous to prefer it.

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Another Broken Egg Cafe

While it was founded with humble roots in 1996 in a suburb of New Orleans, Another Broken Egg Cafe has since embarked on an extremely ambitious growth spurt, with now close to 70 locations planned or opened, many of which breaking into new markets all over the country courtesy of franchising. Among those recent introductions, the spot has opened in Ohio and some of the other major cities in the Midwest, bringing its own style of breakfast food and southern-fused seafood dishes. I like the idea, it’s new for this area, but some of the technique does give me reason to worry.

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The Original Pancake House

Now with just over 100 locations around the country, The Original Pancake House started in the 1950’s as a diner in Portland, Oregon and now has franchised across the West Coast and moving to the East Coast as well. As it continues to grow, the restaurant says its got a commitment to high quality ingredients that keeps it ahead of the competition. My experience in this regard has been mixed. The Pancake House does some things well but overall my feelings on this breakfast chain is mixed.

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Donut Hole Bakery

While a ton of breakfast places and bakeries light up the main strip of Destin, Florida, you’ll hear about the Donut Hole only if you ask for a recommendation from the locals. Indeed, this bakery and breakfast food spot is out to make top notch goodies and pies for the local and tourist crowds alike, with a real emphasis on fresh ingredients. Whether you’re sitting down for a bite to eat or you’re taking out one of the esteemed pastries, I found the spot a good place for one of Florida’s signature dishes: the legendary Key Lime Pie.

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Merry Ann’s Diner

This small chain of diners based in Champaign, Illinois has something of an old-fashioned feel to it. Four locations around central Illinois, many featuring such things as an old-fashioned diner bar and lunch counter. An enormous Rosie the Riveter poster (holding a hamburger no less) looks on as you get seated to try the spot. Its menu an a la carte collection of different breakfast items and of course quarter-pound diner burgers with ketchup and cheese, sort of a mainstay of diners past. It’s a small business like this one that often forms the beating heart of a large town like Champaign.

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