The east Dayton suburbs hold many surprises, especially in the world of little local restaurant operations. Cedarland Bakery is a great example; offering a specific flavor in Lebanese food amid a larger backdrop of Mediterranean dishes that might be a bit more familiar. Very popular with the immigrant community in the city, the grill enjoys relatively little fanfare from the suburbs because of its low-key presence. Very much a hole in the wall, this place has lots of sweets to take home with you, but you’ll want to try that lunch menu.
A downtown Cincinnati destination that specializes in Mediterranean, specifically Turkish, cuisine, Istanbul Cafe is popular with groups and larger crowds, specifically for events that might be a little nicer and more upscale. It’s got a following with tourists, a space popular with the local Turkish American population, and brings people in quantity on weekend nights. Plenty of great dishes from kebabs, falafel, lamb dishes, chicken and more. It’s a delightful place, a nicer restaurant that still delivers with friendly service and good food. The restaurant has landed some good reviews in local media, but where it continues to find good ratings, really, is with crowd-sourced reviewing sites.
A dive restaurant in Fairborn across the street from Wright State University and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Yaffa Grill is a pretty simple restaurant operation and attached grocery store serving Mediterranean cuisine. Busy during the lunch hour for its variety of fresh food and relatively healthy options. This place is all made for convenience, whether you want carry out or a quick buffet. The food here is fresh and pretty good.
Eccentric. Colorful. A resort. All of these things describe the collection of beach themed decor and busy dining areas that is The Dock in Enon. The seafood restaurant has a ton of quirk with it, designed to make you feel like you’re at a beach in the middle of southern Ohio. For all that excitement, the place does a pretty good job with the seafood dishes it offers, and the pleasant experience the place brings grows on you pretty quickly. It’s easy to miss it for its location in a small town, but it’s also so much fun, it’s worth a little trip.
A local watering hole in Xenia, near Dayton, Nick’s Restaurant is a colorful little bar with a low-lit interior, a massive patio and equally massive food portions to match. While the stage brings music to the spot and drinks bring the locals out at all hours, its the food that really drives people in from out of town. Crowd-pleasing pub grub has been the staple here for years, and the restaurant’s wings have won award after award at local contests and wing festivals. Odds are, that’s one of the first things that will bring the place to your attention, and I will say that these wings are worth a try.
A bar and restaurant in Walnut Hills, on the cusp of downtown Cincinnati, Andy’s Mediterranean Grille specializes in Middle Eastern dishes that aren’t to be found in many other places in the area. Aiming to be a little more upscale and drawing a crowd for its distinctly Greek cuisine. With belly dancers to entertain on the weekends and a friendly staff that helps serve up hummus, tabbouleh, lamb burgers and a number of other regional specialties alongside more Americanized dishes like pizzas. The spot isn’t the first place you might think to go, but it does have a charm that grows on you after a few visits. It’s the wait time and the price that can make it hard to swallow.
A tavern and a late night option in downtown Fort Wayne, Indiana, Henry’s Restaurant is a night spot that focuses on classic American bar food and a warm and cozy atmosphere. The menu here is predictable but the end result for the food is above average good. This place is best enjoyed as a spot to grab a table and spend time with a small group of friends. It’s got the charm that makes it a lower key place where you can really enjoy what’s around you.
With something of a sports bar feel, Rivertowne attracts people to its four locations across Pittsburgh with an assortment of its own craft beers and apps that fill up the numerous Pittsburgh fans while rooting for their favorite Black and Yellow teams. The high-traffic locations where you find this spot often leave long lines, especially on game day, but I wasn’t attracted by the charm that brought others in the doors. The food is sloppy and the beers are forgettable.
It’s the re-imagining of a familiar location for Dayton residence, but Caddy’s Tap House is a whole different kind of watering hole in his predecessors. The spot has a focus much more on craft beer, good food, and socializing. There’s definitely a sports bar aspect to it, but I’d say that this is more of a spot that you really like to go to enjoy some time with friends. The food here, though, can’t be ignored. Caddy’s makes a lot of great pub food in house, and its versions of these dishes make for really delicious fare.
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.