Crave Cantina

While on the outset many will describe this place as a prototypical taco bar, Crave Cantina has a wider mission statement, to be “Globally Inspired.” Yes, that extensive list of tacos on the menu features many kinds that are dressed very uniquely for cuisines that come from around the world. This is anything but a run-of-the-mill shop, and to see it set up in Cuyahoga Falls between Cleveland and Akron, where so few other restaurants of these varieties tend to tread, offers a chance to try some very different things.

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Taqueria St. Marks Place

St. Mark’s in Manhattan is home to probably some of the best concentrations of ethnic food in the city and so a lot of people like to come here to try something new. When you step into the Taqueria, there are a few expectations: this is not a Tex-Mex place that uses Americanized ingredients. It goes for something more genuine, and the front of the menu makes it clear. There are no nachos, no seven layer dips, no fajitas, and they say it three times so you’re clear. There are no “cute clay or adobe plates.” There are no “adorable red, white and green uniforms.”

This place is about representing a genuine culture. And it’s delicious.

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Cantina Laredo

A concept that hails from Dallas, Texas, Cantina Laredo has since expanded to a few key cities all over the country, typically finding its way into upscale shopping centers, airports and commercial centers. An open concept busy with decorative earthen pots, hanging lights and a massive bar that serves up refreshing drinks of all kinds. The menu is ‘Modern Mexican,’ a version of Tex-Mex that is cleaned up a bit and served with higher-notch ingredients. The locations often end up being large-size very busy establishments, but they don’t make for a bad place for a happy hour.

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Bagger Dave’s Burger Tavern

A chain of burger shops primarily focused in Michigan, Bagger Dave’s Burger Tavern does nothing small. The enormous restaurants, circled with train sets and a grand array of decorations to a huge menu of burgers, sandwiches and sides by the heaping helping. The end result is a friendly, almost over-the-top kind of charm. In fact, I would say big is the word for everything you see here, but keep in mind you’re certain to walk away super full.

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Taco Tontos

A Cleveland-area group of restaurants that are primarily small taco shop bars, Taco Tontos is a popular place with the natives here, specifically because it has huge portions and some great dips to top them. This spot has a very likable concept for how approachable it is and how easy it is to bring a group of friends and have an enjoyable meal. The place isn’t half bad, but make sure you know what the dishes are that you don’t want to miss here.

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La Mexicana Restaurant & Grocer

Newport, Kentucky is dominated by the huge developments along the river, but this town is much more than that. The historic stretch of town to the south is home to plenty of great little restaurants, dive bars and small businesses. Amid the bevy of interesting food to try, you can find little storefronts like La Mexicana, a taco stand and shop with big-time tasty Mexican dishes and preparation styles for Tex-Mex favorites and more authentic dishes alike. It almost feels over the top, but this spot is all deliciousness.

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Table 33

A new restaurant which has set itself up in downtown Dayton, Table 33 is an interesting concept; focusing on locally-produced ingredients which are constructed into more creative recipes for lighter cuisine, while a friendly bar in the center of the establishment offers an inviting place to grab a drink in the evening. While the concept remains new and its ideas refined, Table 33 has begun to differentiate itself in a way its predecessors did not, as a place for greater experimentation and a push to grow, make, and eat local.

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La Michoacana

748 Troy Street Dayton Ohio 45404 937.220.9600 websiteLa Michoacana is a small chain of Latin American grocery stores focused mostly in Columbus, with a Dayton location as well. While the overwhelming majority of each location is mostly devoted to ingredients and cultural trinkets for the Latin populations, there is a small little restaurant inside the … Continue reading

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Dunlays on the Square

Situated in north Chicago’s well-to-do Logan Square and surrounding neighborhood, Dunlays on the Square is an upscale bar and brunch place that’s’ hard to forget. The walls and bar are laden with nice wood trim finishes and each dish is plated with great meticulousness. That upscale feel brings a nice sense of refinement to the dishes, but a the end all of the food to be tried here is still approachable, and at price points which aren’t too bad. If you’re going with more than a few people, consider sitting in that pleasant patio in the good weather, but be sure to make a reservation.

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Engineer’s Club of Dayton

A private club in the heart of downtown Dayton, the Engineer’s Club of Dayton is a members’ organization and gathering place in a historic downtown building. Founded for Dayton’s thinkers and intellectuals by big names including Charles Kettering and Orville Wright, this spot hosts private events and other kinds of functions. The environment rings of history and the walls are decorated of the many exploits of Engineer’s Club members over their lifetimes, but the breakfast and lunch service is worth a try if you can find someone to get you in.

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