Der Bake Oven

Berlin, Ohio is often thought of as the capital of Amish country, far from the beaten path in the northern part of the state and full of little shops. Bakeries. Furniture stores. Little local antique shops. Kitch decorations. It’s a place to get away from the complications of modern life and enjoy some of the old-world simplicity and hospitality. Small town America produces places like Der Bake Oven appear in towns like this and make them extra charming. Along Berlin’s main stretch and open bright and early in the morning, it’s the kind of charm you don’t want to miss.

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Jim’s Donut Shop

122 E. National Rd. Vandalia, OH 45377 937.898.4222 Facebook page An immensely simple operation set up along East National Road in Vandalia, Jim’s Donut Shop epitomizes the small American donut shop. Folks come in starting early in the morning and try a variety of donuts and coffee, so I’m sitting around an oversized counter, others taking … Continue reading

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China Garden Buffet

As many years as it has stood in Springboro, China Garden Buffet has been a spot for inexpensive eats, and an all-you-can-eat Chinese dive that attracts plenty for its quantity of dishes. You can get a variety of dishes here — sushi, chicken dishes and seafood as well as plenty of veggies — to try on that buffet. It brings in a decent crowd from Franklin and Springboro for cheap eats, but leaves something to be desired.

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Stan the Donut Man

It’s easy to feel like local donut shops are a dying breed in America. With big chains claiming a monopoly on breakfast, and ever more common corner shops with the convenience of drive-through expanding through the suburbs and tackling market share, the taste of the homemade donut is getting forgotten. But Stan the Donut Man has stayed above that. This bastion of local, on the cusp of Kettering and Dayton, makes local pastries and other baked goodies. You may not know what they do to keep things local and small, but I can tell you you’ll taste the difference.

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Miller’s Bakery

Amish Country, the remote regions of northwest Ohio, are an exercise in simplicity. The restaurants that locate this far out of the beaten path tend to be very, very locally focused. Far from the tourist traps and the overhyped things that bring people in droves, Miller’s Bakery is instead a very humble, quiet little bakery frequented by the locals as a place that makes great baked goodies, pies, bread and sells local canned goods. The driveway is gravel, the spot is far out of the way and it’s not too elaborate an operation … but it is a local treat.

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China Buffet (Dayton, OH)

China Buffet off Fifth Street near Downtown Dayton is a corner Chinese spot where people frequent most commonly as a place for cheap eats. If you pass through nearby Oregon District you are apt not to notice the spot, but it stays popular with the folks in the surrounding neighborhood both because it has a lot of food for not too much money, and because a takeout option gets it to go.

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Donutland Express

It’s a little highway stop off the beaten path in rural Florida, and Charlie’s Donuts does not in any way stand on ceremony. Step into the unassuming little stop near the border town of Bonifay and you’ll find a simple menu, a friendly group of local folk running the place and altogether an interesting experience in how small-town dining works in the south. Whether you want donuts, which the spots makes its own daily, or barbecue, for which it offers specials, you’ll find something to fill your belly at Charlies.

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Hibachi Grill & Supreme Buffet (CLOSED)

Hibachi Grill & Supreme Buffet is an expansive buffet option serving Kettering in the suburban region of south Dayton. At the confluence of Wilmington Pike and Stroop Road, it’s a popular site for the neighborhood and attracts a lot of folks from the area for its convenience and the wide variety of foods that it serves. Still, though, my experience on the dishes here was mixed.

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Donut & More

It’s very nearly invisible without any kind of an online presence and really no advertising other than a simple sign out front, but downtown is served by a tiny sandwich shop called “Donut & More” with a pretty simple proposition, a lot of snacks and prepackaged things you can take to go, in addition to prepared sandwiches and donuts prepared in house. The spot primarily serves employees of the nearby government buildings as well as the people visit them. But beware: cash only.

Cash only!

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Donut Hole Bakery

While a ton of breakfast places and bakeries light up the main strip of Destin, Florida, you’ll hear about the Donut Hole only if you ask for a recommendation from the locals. Indeed, this bakery and breakfast food spot is out to make top notch goodies and pies for the local and tourist crowds alike, with a real emphasis on fresh ingredients. Whether you’re sitting down for a bite to eat or you’re taking out one of the esteemed pastries, I found the spot a good place for one of Florida’s signature dishes: the legendary Key Lime Pie.

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