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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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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Mimi’s Cafe

With about 100 locations around the country, Mimi’s Cafe started in California, moved to Texas, and has since spread quickly with its very attractive concept of French-inspired casual dining fare. The spot offers a generally very different menu of items to be enjoyed, ranging from expansive breakfasts to hearty lunches of many kinds. The spot tends to pop up in a few locations in cities all over the country, preferring nice neighborhoods and cultured palettes. The spot has something interesting to offer, that’s for sure.

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Lachey’s Bar

A very interesting partnership of celebrity personalities Nick and Drew Lachey, this bar opened in Over The Rhine at the start of 2015; and Lachey’s Bar has driven forward since then on the star power of its very musical owners. The bar, built in a former Pabst Bedding Warehouse, is a modern and very sleek sports bar concept offering a tight menu of bar food favorites mixed with American and comfort food. The spot looks good there’s no doubt, and it’s got a decent quality of product. But the ultimate skill for the place really comes in style over substance.

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Matchbox Chinatown

One of the restaurants in the highly-successful Matchbox Food Group that is responsible for some of Washington DC’s best breakfast spots, Matchbox Chinatown sits along the very popular H Street Northwest corridor, one where brunchers and lunch goers crowd every day for some of the most interesting restaurants in town. The spot is especially known for its breakfast foods and its interesting takes on classic American cuisine, but it’s also known for burgers, pizzas and a ton of other great food. The menu is strong with a ton of great food, and it’s hard not to want to go back.

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