Corner Kitchen

The newest addition to the Oregon District, and the creation of husband and wife team Natalie and Jack Skilliter, Corner Kitchen opened in a long-vacant space at the corner of one of Dayton’s most loved nightlife spots as a place where people can go to get something upscale but down-to-earth. The deliberate craft of its owners is apparent in the restaurant; each dish looks pretty simple from the outside but gets more complex as you dive in; and in the end the food here really delivers something that downtown Dayton has been craving.

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El Meson

You won’t be in Dayton for very long before you hear the name “El Meson.”

Indeed, the expansive West Carrollton restaurant south of the city along the Interstate 75 corridor is one that’s hard to forget even after one visit. Not just for its colorful and vibrant interior decoration, but for the equally large menu of tapas and other dishes that can’t be found on any other menu in the city. In short, El Meson has long been considered a unique option in the city — one of the few places you can really go for something different. Even with the influx of new restaurant concepts, this spot continues to deliver.

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The crisp and razor sharp Blackbird is well known as one of Chicago’s top dining spots. Opened in 1997 by a small group of talented and ambitious restaurateurs, this class establishment has since garnered numerous world-renowned awards including the James Beard Award for its sleek minimalist design, as well as the legendary Michelin star. Today, the excellent team, led by executive chef Paul Kahan and mixologist Lynn House are out to bring bold conventions and a redesign of fine cuisine.

I’ve been to hundreds of restaurants. Sometimes you get weary of the same conventions and templates that boggle down local American cuisine. But every now and then, once in a blue moon, you have a meal that is more than a bite to eat. It is, in every sense of the word, an experience. And it belongs in a category all of its own.

For me, Blackbird is an experience.

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