Burntwood Tavern

In a remarkable sign of growth, the Burntwood Tavern opened its doors just in 2010 and has since expanded to about 10 locations throughout suburban Cleveland. “Chef driven, guest focused,” each location has a self-described “rustic” interior made principally of reclaimed wood with a menu focused heavily on wood-smoked and wood-fired dishes. Grilled meats of many types, sandwiches and more, all served up on friendly portions. There’s something to be said for this kind of modern kitchen and finding a great niche. It’s nice to see this spot grow so fast.

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Smoky Bones Bar & Fire Grill

Smoky Bones is a Florida-based mid-sized restaurant chain that has enjoyed some popularity throughout the United States for a few years. Mostly it does Kansas City-style barbecue with a variety of meats and a host of “Yankee sweet “sauces. In the south, barbecue chains tend to be pretty popular, but the north has a smaller number of chains with takes on the American classic. So how does this one stack up? Well, it depends on what you order.

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Music City Diner

Stuffed into the corner of a strip mall north of Nashville, this Greek-inspired diner is a small, but very homey place to eat. Staged like an old-fashioned eatery of southern America, you’ll walk in to classic songs on the jukebox and a “how y’all doin?” from the very friendly waitresses. In spite of these, this restaurant is anything but dated. It’s in fact a place where creative kinds of dishes are made and Greek cuisine is the norm.

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I Tried It: Under the lid with Blue Apron

Blue Apron is all the rage these days, but what’s under the lid here? Just about everyone is taking advantage of ready-to-eat meals these days, so what does it take to be a Blue Apron lover? I gave it a try. Most all of the options require next to nothing on your part for preparation … Continue reading

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AMK Chicago

Setting up shop in the nice Bucktown neighborhood in northern Chicago, AMK is a nice, more modern bar with a focus on good American cuisine, cocktails and whiskeys. The memorable interior of the bar gives way to a solid menu of good sandwiches, small plates and pizza. Make a point to grab a cocktail before you get your meal, it’s a bit of a pricier place, but the experience is worth it. This kitchen is a perfect one to try on a date or out with a few friends.

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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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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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Amber Rose

Amber Rose is a bit of an under-appreciated restaurant just northeast of downtown Dayton that caters to a number of European cuisines, ranging from German and Polish food to Hungarian, Italian and even Russian. The spot doesn’t advertise a ton so it’s not very well known out in the suburbs, but the food you find here is a great ethnic change-up from some of the other things you’ll find in town. Amber Rose offers a lot of dishes that are unique to Dayton, and it’s worth a try.

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Basils on Market

Opened just off the square in downtown Troy, Basils on Market is a significant departure from the Night Sky Coffeehouse which formerly occupied this space. While it keeps the same intimate and cozy interior feel that made the former space so comfortable, this new concept goes instead in the direction of a high-quality bar with a menu of pub grub and an appreciation for the local arts scene. Good to see local artists are still represented in the space, but now you’ll want to take a look at that menu, too. The dishes you’ll find here are definitely worth a detour.

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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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