Nashville Hot

While it hearkens to the very favorite dish of the Music City, Nashville Hot (In Dayton, known as “Mike’s Nashville Hot” for the franchise owner) is actually founded in Cincinnati. The product of Tom+Chee’s David Krikorian and including former Bengals player Brad Cousino, this group is focused on taking hot chicken — a cuisine much beloved in Nashville but relatively unknown outside of that city — and popularizing it for a wider audience. Hot chicken is a sensitive thing for die-hards, but what the chain is offering is a great introduction to a dish many will not have tried before.

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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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Edley’s BBQ

Now with three locations around Nashville, Edley’s brings the classic barbecue counter a little bit of new dimension with a modern bar and a nice selection of drinks for evening groups. But the main reason people come to this place remains the same: the barbecue! This spot has that classic, sticky and smoky meats cooked top-notch. I like the spot for that nice, welcoming feeling and a very convenient system that prioritizes good food over everything.

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Rodizio Grill

Envisioned as a way to bring a Brazilian style of eating to the United States in a form where it hasn’t been, the Rodizio Grill chain finds its way into upscale shopping center and mixed use developments with a lot of cool ideas. The over 20 locations promise a meat-lover’s paradise; the full Rodizio experience offers different kinds of steaks and meats roasted over a spit, then served to you at your table by “gauchos,” or Brazilian cowboys. Then you can also enjoy the buffet with a full list of hot foods, veggies, and other kinds of things. It’s a pricier experience, and one where you’ll walk away very full, but Rodizio still has a lot to offer.

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Old Canal Smokehouse

A historic joint in downtown Chillicothe, Old Canal Smokehouse is a historic building that sits in a historic town and offers a casual atmosphere with some great Midwestern barbecue. In spite of all of the years that this building has, the smokehouse has a very approachable, friendly appeal. It’s a small-town hangout with some good barbecue, and there’s a reason this spot is known outside of town. It’s a nice representation of the appeal that drives Chillicothe; casual in spite of its many stories.

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Doc Crow’s

Right along the Whiskey Row area of downtown Louisville, Doc Crow’s Southern Smokehouse & Raw Bar is a modern take on a southern favorite — big barbecue. With an enormous oyster bar greeting you as you walk in, and sandwiches so big that they’re served on metal cookie sheets, this bar is larger than life. Over-the-top food is always easy to like, and seeing how this spot has quickly established itself as a southern food destination in the middle of the city.

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Roost American

A new restaurant opened in Kettering as the brainchild of Chef Dana Downs of Roost Modern Italian fame, Park City Grill is more of a classy comfort food establishment than its Oregon District sister. This spot offers a lunch menu of quality takes on Midwestern comfort foods, and a dinner menu heavier on the surf and turf. The menu is approachable yet extremely well thought out, and while you might find many familiar items here, you’ll also find a few things you won’t get the chance to try in many other Dayton restaurants. This fun concept is definitely worth a try.

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City Tap House

The Chinatown area of Washington DC has seen dramatic changes in recent years, with high rises seemingly springing out of the ground and multimillion-dollar developments seeming to appear every new year. New restaurant concepts have exploded, with many targeting the trendier, younger demographic exploding into the city scene. In that context, City Tap House thrives. This bar and brunch spot caters to the affluent who live, work and play in the city center. It’s a pleasant place to visit, especially for brunch.

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Little City Grill

As restaurants go, often the goal is to make something over-the-top delicious like you can’t find anywhere else. Little City Grill, nestled in Cleveland, Ohio, has seen success doing just the opposite; it’s the kind of place where you go to enjoy meals that remind you at home. A lot of red-blooded American classics make up the heart of the menu, including steaks, barbecue, and a huge array of breakfast foods and specials that keep people coming here early in the morning all the way into the evening.

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Center Point BBQ

Center Point BBQ has been in the business of providing seriously good food to Nashville since 1965. Though it looks humble from the outside, there’s no mistaking the laurels adorning the pit barbecue joint’s walls; hundreds of autographed photos proudly display just who Center Point has made into believers; from country stars like Taylor Swift to George H. W. Bush and his son, to the 2009 Tennessee Titans Cheerleaders. The aroma of freshly smoked hickory wood wafts through the parking lot, a testament to the flavors being created within the red bricks.

But then, Tennessee Barbecue is serious business.

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