While it doesn’t look like much from the outside, Addi’s Restaurant in Columbus in fact offers a taste of cuisine not often seen in Ohio; offering Ethiopian food, with the local Ethiopian population congregating around the restaurant and its take on traditional Ethiopian cuisine. While the food isn’t half bad, the spot does seem like it could use a bit of an update on the outside. On the inside, it does seem to need some tweaks to make it a more approachable place. There’s a lot of people here who have never had Ethiopian food.
A chain that usually can be found in nice suburbs of cities across the United States, The Melting Pot bases its menu off of a pretty different menu item: fondue. Whether food is being cooked in cheese, or a hot broth, or you’re feeling a dessert and the food is in chocolate, the restaurant specializes in the simple love of a romantic dinner meant to be shared among a couple or a small group of people. It’s not a place where you go lightly, the prices are a bit higher and the attire is certainly a little nicer, but the end result is a very pleasant experience.
Something of a new take on the old-fashioned steakhouse, The Chop House is a restaurant with about a dozen locations in the Midwest and South. With a menu of fresh steaks and seafood, and a giant helping of sandwiches and other fare, this restaurant offers over-sized plates and a comfortable interior, and a place where folks come to relax and enjoy the company of friends in a familiar experience. The menu strives to be a quality take on foods you already know and love, but it can be a bit hit-and-miss as far as these go.
A bar and restaurant in Walnut Hills, on the cusp of downtown Cincinnati, Andy’s Mediterranean Grille specializes in Middle Eastern dishes that aren’t to be found in many other places in the area. Aiming to be a little more upscale and drawing a crowd for its distinctly Greek cuisine. With belly dancers to entertain on the weekends and a friendly staff that helps serve up hummus, tabbouleh, lamb burgers and a number of other regional specialties alongside more Americanized dishes like pizzas. The spot isn’t the first place you might think to go, but it does have a charm that grows on you after a few visits. It’s the wait time and the price that can make it hard to swallow.
A bit off the beaten path in Dayton’s north thoroughfare, El Cazador in Englewood Is a Tex-Mex house set up for large groups of people to enjoy some good Spanish inspired cuisine. The servings are hearty, the food is inexpensive, and the spot really brings a lot simple food to the table with an overall pleasant service. That said I found the food to be pretty uninspiring.
It’s a chain of enormous beer hall-style restaurants with a big play on providing the chance to try hundreds of craft beers, and each location of Flying Saucer, which is in many major cities around the country, is all about the beer. With each spot sporting 50 to 75 taps at once, this is a spot where you go to try local beer, and many varieties of it. But between the long tables, the many decorative plates, pool tables and dart boards, the spots to offer some bar cuisine to match. The place is an attraction to be sure, but the food isn’t going to bring you back.
Hendersonville has seen great change, as have many of the suburbs of Nashville, but the change here has been especially striking. The expanding city has brought in new chains and concepts focused on bringing the new and hip to the places where many new houses and developments are springing up. In that context, the tiny hole in the wall along main street known as La Loma has survived even as new competitors have arisen. The spot sticks to its guns with a local fan base that favors large groups, but the end result didn’t impress.
With something of a sports bar feel, Rivertowne attracts people to its four locations across Pittsburgh with an assortment of its own craft beers and apps that fill up the numerous Pittsburgh fans while rooting for their favorite Black and Yellow teams. The high-traffic locations where you find this spot often leave long lines, especially on game day, but I wasn’t attracted by the charm that brought others in the doors. The food is sloppy and the beers are forgettable.
The District in downtown Nashville; it’s got some of the best character in the city, and this historic nightlife spot features many music bars, dives and venues where some of the most legendary Music City expatriates got their starts. In this environment rests Wild Horse Saloon, a converted warehouse which opened in 1994 to capitalize on the craze of line dancing, then expanding into a music venue. This three-story attraction gets busy early in the night, but for all it has to offer, I might say you’ll want to avoid the dinner menu.