Cafe Civilization

While the simple storefront at W. 11th St. & Kenilworth Ave. in Cleveland’s Tremont neighborhood might look simplistic — and while a curious foray onto the website of said business might take you back to the early age of the internet — Civilization Coffee is, in practice, and exceptional experience. The fresh smell of coffee grounds that greet you when you enter this restaurant. Yes, Tremont is a trendy area, but the artful simplicity of a neighborhood coffee shop is an art that has become lost in the era of uber-connectivity. And this shop seems to shy away from the gimmicks in favor of that one simple, comfortable experience. 

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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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Bagels & Schmear

Toward the Flatiron district in New York City, you run into any number of different cafe and deli concepts. Relatively quiet but nonetheless a popular destination, this tiny restaurant does not only sandwiches but baked goodies, cookies cake and cannoli as well. Highly rated on review sites, it tends to be a place people head to for a quick bite between any number of things happening in this part of the city. All together, another good bagel shop that really makes for a straightforward and pleasant meal.

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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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Harris Grill

As Shadyside has rapidly developed in east Pittsburgh, its new restaurant concepts have thrived with the advent of many new concepts springing up. Harris Grill does burgers, sandwiches, and other contemporary cuisine like few others. But where this spot really thrives, though, is in a very favorite meal where it faces stiff competition in this city: brunch. But in spite of the great well-known national brunch corners of Steel City, this spot holds its own handsomely.

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Lucky’s Taproom & Eatery

Oregon District has a lot of bars with a lot of good bar food, and when you first walk through downtown Dayton’s main nightlife spot, you might not at first set your sights on the small operation that is Lucky’s. But make no mistake, this spot is much beloved by Dayton city-dwellers. Whether they’re making use of the spot’s extensive tap list or just looking to sample one of the burgers or sandwiches that fill its menu, people come to this spot in droves. The hype leaves you wondering, is it worth a try? The answer is yes.

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Lily’s Bistro

It’s a very recent addition to downtown Dayton, but seems to have been highly anticipated nonetheless. Restaurateur Emily Mendenhall opened Lily’s Bistro in the former Boulevard Haus building just about a year ago. Another of the popular restaurants in Dayton’s Oregon District, Lily’s Bistro has been a late dining destination that recently expanded into the realm of lunch. It’s a light bistro concept to compete with the higher-end dining and bars that surround it. The concept does experimental American cuisine with unusual sandwiches and plenty of quality food among the options.

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Blue Manatee Decafé

Passerby will notice the Blue Manatee in Oakley as a down-to-Earth local bookstore, but in fact this little shop in Oakley also has a coffee shop on the side. This Cincinnati suburb is punctuated by a lot of neat little places to stumble upon while you’re wandering down the street. It’s a kid-centered, family friendly way to approach the business; the walls are filled with magnetic boards and buckets of letters at children’s level. The tables have toys in them. It’s hard to step out of the store without spotting an advertisement for a local band or a nearby event. Blue Manatee is a kid-friendly, community-friendly place.

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Wharfside

On the waterfront of South Bass Island in Put in Bay, Ohio, Wharfside is actually primarily a carryout and convenience store with some food and souveniers, but it has added a simple menu of bagels and sandwiches and a small front porch eatery. There are a lot of restaurants in Put In Bay, most of them bars and nightspots. Wharfside, on the other hand, offers a little more relaxing of an experience, a place for breakfast by the sea.

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Lexi’s on Third

It’s a newer addition to downtown Columbus’ restaurant selection, but Lexi’s is an aggressively-marketed, colorful and convenient eatery which seems to be growing in popularity among the metro lunch crowd. The place is a fairly simple Americana -type restaurant of sandwiches, burgers, salads and the like. Opened only in winter 2011, Lexi’s has a casual, quick and very bright concept perfectly suited to the downtown atmosphere. It’s a breakfast and lunch place exclusively, but nonetheless makes for a pleasant experience.

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