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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The Melting Pot

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.

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ele Cake Co.

While the name may suggest that Ele Cake Co. is a simple bakery operation, the several Dayton-area locations of this restaurant feel much more like a bistro. With a menu of sandwiches, small plates and other kinds of cuisine with specialties around the world, there’s definitely more to the place than its name. Come hungry and be ready to be filled, but don’t think about skipping dessert; that would be a mistake. About as bad a mistake as missing out on this spot.

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Carver’s Steak House & Chops

A much-loved steakhouse that serves the southern Dayton region, Carvers Steak House & Chops strives for a simple, elegant experience. With a low-lit interior and a focus on very professional service, this fine dining destination hits the classics — good steaks, good cocktails, seafood and classic American foods. While a lot of new restaurants come and go, and trends rise and fall, places like Carver’s endure with a consistent experience and an austere reputation. The prices here are on par with a fine dining experience, but for the south suburbs of the Gem City, this spot tends to be a favorite.

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Boca

As downtown Cincinnati has seen a renaissance of new and exciting restaurant concepts come to town, the top quality ones are getting quite a following, pleasing giant crowds and landing national attention. Cincinnati’s dining scene has become a national interest with a lot of new ideas coming to market. So it’s no wonder the fine dining scene here is filled with such creativity. In that time, we have Boca, “culinary curiosity in modern decadence” and a place where creative combinations simmer for adventurous palettes. It’s an experience.

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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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Kahn’s Desserts

Capitalizing on the meteoric resurgence of the East Nashville neighborhood, Kahn’s Desserts opened its doors in 2011 as a vegan bakery with inspiration that came from the nearby Wild Cow Vegetarian Restaurant. And Kahn’s has the concept covered; selling products with no dairy, eggs, refined sugar, bleached flour, or animal products. It’s a very difficult thing to make — baking with an entirely different set of staples, and yet still coming up with something sweet and delicious. But this spot shows just how advanced, and how delicious, vegan baking has become. This spot is fantastic.

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Cork Wine & Dine

A newer concept which has recently opened at The Greene shopping center in Beavercreek, east of Dayton, Cork Wine & Dine is the resident wine bar of the development, and offers a variety of light cuisine to go along with an extensive selection of wines of all vintages and nationalities. Newcomers to wine and connoisseurs alike are apt to find a pleasant evening in the warmly lit, classy interior of Cork. The food which goes along with it is pretty good, so you may quickly find this quiet little concept growing on you.

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Cheryl’s Cookies

Although it’s a bakery and a small chain of storefronts, Cheryl’s will remind you more of the kind of big-name candy shop you’d see at a ritzy mall. Founded in Columbus, this retailer, which sells baked goodies like cookies and brownies, is probably best known as a good place for corporate gifts, thank-you boxes and baskets of assorted treats for formal occasions. It used to be called Cheryl&Co, but the retailer seems to have changed its name recently. The recipes on the goodies, though, remain much the same.

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Citilites

As the resident restaurant serving the Schuster Performing Arts Center in downtown Dayton, Citilites (pronounced ‘city lights,’ it took me a few tries to figure out) is a class establishment. For performances, it hosts both lunches and dinners, but the store is most popular during the work day, as a spot for business meetings among the downtown companies. It’s got a variety of foods for a variety of customers, and the menu seems to change regularly. Generally though, it’s upscale dining, served best with a nice glass of wine. Odds are, if you’re from the local business community, you’ve attended a few big events in this restaurant.

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