La Colombe Coffee Roasters

There are 26 locations of La Colombe Coffee Roasters, but the Philadelphia-based chain has concentrated on the East Coast, with most locations in New York City. Often innocuous — one location is built into an old warehouse near Hudson Yards that looks almost indistinguishable from the outside. But it’s a perfect little dive to grab a cup of coffee with a friend or two and enjoy some pleasant Conversation. Unusually spacious for a coffee shop in New York City, this place has an extra allure in that they roast their own coffee here and serve it with a small menu of baked goods and other things. Easy to overlook, hard to forget.

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Green Symphony

While Manhattan is packed to the gills with greasy pizza, fatty junk food and sugary desserts, Green Symphony is a shrine to healthy foods. Featuring a convenience store of Protein bars, organic popcorn, teas and juices, kale chips and nutritional baked goods, this spot is visited by body builders, runners and altogether a fit clientele. You wouldn’t immediately notice it but the place has a menu of food beyond smoothies and chopped fruit.

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Cafe Zaiya

You see more and more hybrid food shops in New York City where there are unusual matchups of food. Not a gastropub in the real sense of the term, but more so a place where different kinds of food you might not expect can be found. And so, this Asian-themed bakery serves pastries, ice cream, sushi, sandwiches and other things all under one roof. So which thing really is the best reason to stop in to this low-key storefront near the Midtown area? Well that would be the baked goods, definitely hearkening to flavors and tastes in Asia. This is the place to go for something sweet if you don’t like things that are sweet.

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La Bagel Delight

Like any good bagel shop in New York City, La Bagel has a certain charm. The stand-up and take out tiny shop near the Manhattan Bridge in Brooklyn lets you place an order to-go while being serenaded by the gruff charm of the characters behind the counter. Most certainly, that’s a true New York experience. Bagel stands are all over the place in this city and any good New Yorker will have half a dozen suggestions when you go looking for one. But a stop like La Bagel is certain to be memorable.

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Holy Grail Tavern & Grille

Just across the street from Great American Ballpark at Cincinnati’s The Banks development, Holy Grail Tavern & Grille is a mainstay in Cincinnati — a place to grab good food after the game is over, and a nightlife spot that gets packed during ball games and downtown events. This bar has lasted even as others have closed up shop at the Banks. A favorite of reds fans and downtown dwellers a like, odds are this will be one of the first destinations the locals will direct you to if you find your way to Cincinnati’s downtown or its thriving riverfront.

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Central Perc European Cafe

For 20 years the main stretch of Oakwood has been served with a very friendly little coffee shop called the Central Perc European Cafe. Coffee shops and smoothie stations have popped up around it in the time since then, and you could still drive right by this little shop without seeing it unless you knew exactly where to look. But it’s one of few really nice British tea houses in the Dayton area, and the menu here is definitely worth discovering.

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Old Scratch Pizza

There typically isn’t a lot of reason to stop for anything in the clutch of industrial buildings immediately south of downtown Dayton, and the area has traditionally had only a few restaurants to enjoy. Old Scratch Pizza became a pleasant surprise when it recently opened its doors at a former industrial building along South Patterson Boulevard that next to no one probably noticed. But it’s become a landmark now, popular especially with the downtown crowd who like to venture to the south especially on the nice days when they can enjoy a patio. Long wooden benches give the place a communal feel, and two wood-burning ovens churn out a great kind of pizza.

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West End Ciderhouse

What used to be more of a quiet events venue on the western edge of Athens has been transformed into a public gathering space for the first time in years. And it’s about time; Athens’ west end doesn’t have a lot of restaurants or hang out places if you live there — as I did for two years — and there wasn’t a lot to draw people around campus and to the east this far away. Now that’s changed. This spot isn’t just a bar, but also kind of a hang-out space, a little more low-key than what you will find uptown on Court Street. That’s a nice thing, especially during the day, and especially when you need somewhere to relax a little bit.

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Kaya Grill & Sushi

It’s pretty hard to find a place in the midwestern United States that does Korean barbecue — the distinctive style of cooking raw meats on a hot element is something that is easy to embrace…once you’re already familiar with the process. So around here, it doesn’t have much of a following. But if you want an introduction on the idea, a good place to go would be Kaya Grill & Sushi, a Columbus spot that specializes in Korean and Japanese cooking. But the best thing to try in the restaurant has to be this unique way of eating, both for its rarity in this area and for the potential to really walk away satisfied you’ve had a great meal.

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Gordon Ramsay BurGR

Chef Gordon Ramsay may have pioneered this namesake restaurant concept in the Planet Hollywood Casino on the Las Vegas Strip, and with a simple mission: a better burger. With a bold concept and a fantastic deputy in place in Chef Christina Wilson, BurGR sits on the hyped Las Vegas Strip, but there’s a real substance to the food that is served here. This isn’t just average food with a big name attached; it’s a genuinely different kind of burger. I’m liking it.

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