Smoky Bones Bar & Fire Grill

Smoky Bones is a Florida-based mid-sized restaurant chain that has enjoyed some popularity throughout the United States for a few years. Mostly it does Kansas City-style barbecue with a variety of meats and a host of “Yankee sweet “sauces. In the south, barbecue chains tend to be pretty popular, but the north has a smaller number of chains with takes on the American classic. So how does this one stack up? Well, it depends on what you order.

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The 1776 Grill

As food trucks go, southwest Ohio is a relatively tame place. Many of its options are specifically either comfort food vendors or experimental kitchens with a gimmick (usually something to do with bacon) that make them stand out. Not so with the 1776 Grill. This spot feels a lot like a mobile outdoor barbecue, as a Lebanon-based operation that can often be found at summertime festivals and catering events around Cincinnati and Dayton. It’s comfort food for sure, and wherever you find the patriotic food truck, you can expect a good time to follow.

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Amber Rose

Amber Rose is a bit of an under-appreciated restaurant just northeast of downtown Dayton that caters to a number of European cuisines, ranging from German and Polish food to Hungarian, Italian and even Russian. The spot doesn’t advertise a ton so it’s not very well known out in the suburbs, but the food you find here is a great ethnic change-up from some of the other things you’ll find in town. Amber Rose offers a lot of dishes that are unique to Dayton, and it’s worth a try.

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Caddy’s Tap House

It’s the re-imagining of a familiar location for Dayton residence, but Caddy’s Tap House is a whole different kind of watering hole in his predecessors. The spot has a focus much more on craft beer, good food, and socializing. There’s definitely a sports bar aspect to it, but I’d say that this is more of a spot that you really like to go to enjoy some time with friends. The food here, though, can’t be ignored. Caddy’s makes a lot of great pub food in house, and its versions of these dishes make for really delicious fare.

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311 Drafthouse

Piqua may be one of countless small towns along the Interstate 75 corridor in western Ohio, but this town has an unmistakably different appeal. Its far-flung bike trails Bring people up from as far as Cincinnati, while its access to the Great Miami River often brings them back down again. Whatever the reason that people end up in Piqua, it’s pretty difficult for them to miss the 311 Taphouse along the city’s main stretch. This spot offers several dozen beers on tap at a time, and a lot of simple bar food that evokes the small-town feel of western Ohio. It’s a spot that’s well worth a visit if you happen to find yourself in this outdoor city.

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Dark Horse Tavern

Dark Horse Tavern is a bar and barbecue joint just off the highway in Miamisburg, south of Dayton, one that can still be easy to miss unless you know where to look for it. While the exterior is simple and the interior a dark, close-in and very classic feeling bar, the food shows the extra effort that really kicks the Dark Horse up a notch with its food. It’s a great option for Midwest-style barbecue and some good music for the Gem City.

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Archer’s Tavern

The name of this Centerville Tavern hearkens to the early history of the south Dayton town, but Archer’s Tavern is relatively new, having opened in 2010 as the creation of three local guys looking to make a neighborhood watering hole. And they’ve succeeded, I think, in putting together a menu concept that is very simple and familiar to the Midwestern palette, but at the same time every menu item has one little twist that really makes it rock. And for an easy dime, too. A solid spot for some beer and grub in south Dayton.

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Hearts Hot Dogs

When you think of mobile food vendors these days, the flashpan of food trucks immediately comes to mind, but in bigger cities, of course, it’s nothing new. As flashy food trucks have found their way on onto the Dayton food scene, you see a lot of aggressive marketing and colorful vehicles. Mobile businesses thrive on the hype. Then you have places like Hearts Hot Dogs. It’s practically invisible online, and you won’t find it on Facebook. But this old-style hot dog and burger cart offers a menu of classic Midwestern favorites as simply as possible. It’s a little old fashioned, but it’s also well-liked, and damn reliable.

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Crazy Mango Bar & Bistro (CLOSED)

Crazy Mango is a really neat concept. Founded by Julie and Bob Silva, the Dayton Restaurateurs who formerly ran Bahn Mai Thai Cafe in Washington Township, this restaurant opened just a few weeks ago at The Greene in Beavercreek, serving west Dayton. The bar serves sort of an Americana of a few different kinds of cuisine, including a few memories from their former business, but the uniting thing is that it takes a lot of the classic bar foods and classes them up big time. The experience and finesse of this restaurant’s experienced founders really shines through in the food you’ll try.

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Schmidt’s Sausage Haus

German Village in south-central Columbus gets its name from the huge number of German immigrants who found their way to the city. Indeed, its close houses and brick streets evoke a very European semblance of closeness. Almost as old as the streets themselves is one of the best known restaurants in town: Schmidt’s Sausage Haus, a 125-year-old centerpiece of culture in the quaint neighborhood. It serves up custom sausages and German beers in a festive atmosphere with old-time musicians and costumes. It may as well be the German Village town hall.

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