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.

Rate this:

Ranch One

A reborn concept with just a few locations now, Ranch One is a fast-casual sandwich shop. This reinvention of the concept is often paired with other restaurant concepts often in the similar price range, making quick and easy to go meals and combinations, and focused in heavily commercial areas. It’s pretty safe to say that you’ll have a decent meal here, but whether or not it’s really that different from other chain restaurants and a very similar sandwiches they purvey is a question I ask before considering a special trip.

Rate this:

Underdog Cafe

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.

Rate this:

DiSalvo’s Deli

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.

Rate this:

Engineer’s Club of Dayton

A private club in the heart of downtown Dayton, the Engineer’s Club of Dayton is a members’ organization and gathering place in a historic downtown building. Founded for Dayton’s thinkers and intellectuals by big names including Charles Kettering and Orville Wright, this spot hosts private events and other kinds of functions. The environment rings of history and the walls are decorated of the many exploits of Engineer’s Club members over their lifetimes, but the breakfast and lunch service is worth a try if you can find someone to get you in.

Rate this:

Philly Joe’s Steak & Gyro

Fast, fresh and affordable. That’s the whole business model for Philly Joe’s Steak & Gyro. Opened on Third Street in downtown Dayton, the shop has a short and sweet menu — yes, cheese steak sandwiches and gyros — and a very to-the-point business model: be a convenient take-out spot for downtown. The restaurant offers food that is filling, tasty, and cheap, and it’s a pretty easy and convenient place to get some hearty food.

Rate this:

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.

Rate this:

Johnny Buccelli’s

A Columbus concept with a simple love of Midwestern grub for “solid two-fisted eating,” Johnny Buccelli’s is a deli and sandwich operation along Bethel Road that offers a wide menu of subs, paninis, burgers, and soup/salad combos, the shop has plenty of options for a friendly kind of sandwich place. Columbus has many great options, this one has a faithful following.

Rate this:

5th Street Deli

A beloved sandwich shop in Dayton’s bustling Oregon District, 5th Street Deli is a tiny operation that focuses on making a variety of deli sandwiches and specializing in to-go meals, making it the only such business in the district and probably all of greater downtown. Now, with so many other great places to eat (and drink) within walking distance, this spot takes on a new level of importance; a place where you grab a good bite to eat, maybe take it to go, and enjoy with a good dose of Dayton night life. All in all, a lot of fun.

Rate this:

Carl’s Deli

Cincinnati’s near east side hides a huge number of great little independent restaurants, whether they’re local bars, bakeries or pizza shops. But nothing is more under-the-radar that the quiet little delis that populate the eastern hills. Carl’s Deli near Hyde Park is the epitome of the under-appreciated art of the Cincinnati sandwich. Cold cuts, salads, soups and seafood can all be found here. A good local sandwich shop is so hard to find, but when you discover one like this, you want to hold on to it dearly. It’s got to be one of the best places for a cold sandwich in the city.

Rate this: