The Buffet at Monte Carlo

In Vegas, they say it’s all about the buffets. Indeed most casinos on the strip have one, and you can walk right in and eat without gambling. In fact many are comped right to your room. Such is the case with The Buffet at Monte Carlo. Most used by the guests of the hotel itself the place has a plethora of options it serves for lunch and dinner. Of course, this casino was created by MGM as more of a budget option for the strip. You’ll find the buffet matches. In quality, not price.

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Rapid Fired Pizza

Created from many of the founders of Hot Head Burritos, also out of Dayton, Rapid Fired Pizza takes the build-your-own-food concept and applies it to a new target: Craft pizza. You pick the toppings on your pie (or choose a pre-selected one) and in 180 seconds that pizza is cooked and ready to eat. The first location of this new concept opened in late 2015 and immediately rocketed to a number of locations around the Dayton area. The idea is ambitious, does the pizza match? I think it’s a cool idea.

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312 Pizza Co.

Opened last year in the Germantown area just north of downtown Nashville, 312 Pizza Co. is a little bite of the Windy City brought to the heart of the south. Everything about the dive—from its list of Chicago-centric beers to its short and sweet menu—brings the great culture of one top-notch city to another. The food of Chi-town has an allure to it that always means Chicago-themed spots thrive in other cities. Here we have another example of a love for Chicago staying strong, no matter the distance.

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Hazel Grille & Tavern (CLOSED)

The Dayton Mall area is home to dozens of restaurants, many of them chains and many of them independent. While it’s been known as an area where lots of restaurant concepts come and go, the spot is also one that the better restaurants tend to stick around for a long time. Hazel Grille, which has been open for a year and a half, looks to be off to a good start. A casual bar concept, the wide-open concept of this bar makes it the kind of place where you can bring a group of people and enjoy some bar food with a crowd.

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Blind Bob’s

One of the bars in the middle of Dayton’s Oregon District, Blind Bob’s is sort of a dive bar concept which tends to be popular with younger people and the Oregon District neighborhood. It’s a nightspot with a kitchen that is open late, but more importantly it’s a music venue. On top of that, Blind Bob’s is a family business run by an actually visually-impaired Bob Mendenhall, who just might be the friendliest person you’ll meet. The bar is easy to like, and the food is a pretty good plus.

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Uno Chicago Grill

With a little over 100 locations, mostly based in New England, Uno Chicago Grill is generally a fast-casual concept with a heavier emphasis on the bar. Many are located downtown, many have an outside porch, and many have a ton of space to handle lunch and evening crowds. The chain was founded in 1943 – in Chicago, to be sure – and claims to be the very chain that invented the legendary Chicago-style deep dish pizza.

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C’s Pizza

A local pizza place serving the Huber Heights area, C’s Pizza is a pretty simple and well rounded concept. It’s got a big party room and dining area for families, and a bar on the side to cater to grown-up groups. C’s Pizza seems content to fly under the radar, a place where locals go to relax and bring their families, and a place you’d drive past and never notice…until one day when you were hungry. Fast Italian and bar food is on the menu, and what you get is dressed-down but tasty food with a warm atmosphere.

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Brixx Ice Co.

If you’re looking for some grub after watching a Dayton Dragon’s game downtown, look no further than Brixx Ice Co. Perched on the corner of right field, this downtown landmark is the place to go; its second-story view of the games is just about fantastic. But it’s the food that first brought me here, and the food that will keep bringing me back.

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Max & Erma’s

Founded in 1972, Columbus, Ohio based Max and Erma’s currently operates about 60 casual dining restaurants ripe with burgers, barbecue, and plenty of other favorite Midwestern dishes. Competition is tough in the casual dining sector in Ohio; chains like this one are everywhere. Max & Erma’s has a great opportunity to stand out and bring an interesting new flavor to the area, but I am not convinced that they really pull of anything more than a middle-of-the-pack bid to become just another one of those places you may or may not have visited.

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Jac and Do’s Pizza

With two locations in Findlay, northwestern Ohio, Jac and Do’s Pizza is your typical small-town pizza place; a family business offering a pretty basic selection of toppings and attracting people primarily on convenience. Findlay is by far the largest in the county so there will be plenty of pizza compared to neighboring towns. A family business like Jac and Do’s has the best chance to succeed here, and 50 years of business are an indication to me that Jac and Do’s has been a successful business.

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