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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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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The 1776 Grill

As food trucks go, southwest Ohio is a relatively tame place. Many of its options are specifically either comfort food vendors or experimental kitchens with a gimmick (usually something to do with bacon) that make them stand out. Not so with the 1776 Grill. This spot feels a lot like a mobile outdoor barbecue, as a Lebanon-based operation that can often be found at summertime festivals and catering events around Cincinnati and Dayton. It’s comfort food for sure, and wherever you find the patriotic food truck, you can expect a good time to follow.

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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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Station House

While the Station House is a part of the expansive St. Leonard Franciscan Living Community south of Dayton, the restaurant is very much open to the public, and in fact it’s a spot that is frequented by people local to Centerville as well as the many residents of the community. While the Station House strives to be a restaurant where you can try just about anything, it succeeds best in bringing a laid back feel to lunch.

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Carillon Brewing Co.

Now open in Dayton’s historic Carillon Park, the Carillon Brewing Co. has a whole different take on your traditional brewery concept. The folks here brew their beer in historic fashion — with recipes and brewing styles like they were in the 1850’s. Among the copper kettles, wooden barrels and a lot of interesting history to go along with it. The spot brews it’s own beers using recipes that hearken to the 1850s. But what really drives me here is the food. It’s an excellent assortment of German and European delicacies to match the beers on tap. While the spot is definitely worth going to for a drink, you’re really going to want to eat something when you’re there.

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Glass Slipper Tea Cottage

Tea is a specialty of small-town America, and what better place to enjoy it than the South? While Ft. Walton Beach is a corridor many tourists take to get to Destin and sandy beaches, many of them pass by The Glass Slipper as they do and don’t even know it. Indeed, it would be easy not to notice the unassuming little house is even a business were it not for the pretty lawn and neat trinkets that adorn its sign. The product of a happily ‘retired’ family, this little spot is a nice experience of the comfort and charms of Southern hospitality.

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The Cakery

One of the many bakeries that set up shop around Dayton, The Cakery serves the northern highway town of Troy, and it fills a niche there, where the community’s other big bakery specializes mostly in bread and more artisan stuff, the Cakery does elegant cakes, cupcakes, and those all-too-irresistible confections. Much of the signature of this bakery can be found on the fancy frosting creations that adorn the top of its many cakes and cupcakes. The Cakery is run by frosting artists, and they’re some of the best local designer cake makers in town.

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Salar Restaurant & Lounge

A new restaurant anchoring the west end of Dayton’s Oregon District, Salar has a menu that it a little hard to describe as any one genre. With ravioli, empanadas, duck, pizza, burgers and quinoa, you’ll also find many of the dishes blur the traditional lines between the classic ethnic recipes. Whether it’s pork belly and sweet potato, pizza topped with chorizo, or quinoa topped with pine nuts and cilantro lime dressing, this is the kind of place you’d want to drop by if you had a hankering for something you’ve never tried before. Lunch or dinner, cocktails or a feast, I have been impressed every time I have come back.

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