Heini’s Cheese Chalet

A favored tourist attraction in Amish country, Heini’s Cheese Chalet, a barn on the edge of the town of Berlin, is the sort of place you will want to really know what you’re getting. Specifically, this place, where cheese is produced in massive quantities, where you can watch each of them made before your eyes and then you get to sample any one of dozens of varieties. This cheese chalet is a genuinely unique experience for the cheese lover in you to try a lot of different varieties. Make a point to stop in for the biggest variety you’ll ever see.

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West Side Brewing

Newly opened on Cincinnati’s Harrison Avenue, West Side Brewing had a high profile run-up as it raised money and prepared to open, bringing a counter-balance to the beer scene in the other sections of the city. A wide interior with games, long tables and plenty of room to play with, this is a destination stop where you’ll want to hang out for awhile.

To understand Cincinnati, you have to get it has two very distinct sides in the East and the West. The former gets a lot of attention and, in this Cincy native’s perspective, the latter is less understood, especially by outsiders. Something that brings more people this way is always a good thing.

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Big Sky Bread Co.

Practically hidden along Far Hills Avenue in south Dayton near where Kettering meets Oakwood, Big Sky Bread Co. is an old-school bread bakery that is so easy to under-appreciate these days. The bakery is a classic small-town lunch spot; pleasant aromas waft to the front of the restaurant as french bread, challahs, pretzels and garlic loaves are baked alongside cookies, cakes, and other kinds of goodies. It’s all to easy to ignore the simple pleasures of an old-fashioned bakery like this one. But to enjoy such a bakery is to delight in the simple pleasure of a home-grown original experience.

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Wandering Griffin Brewery & Pub.

Dayton’s newest brewpub, The Wandering Griffin has sprung up in a former bar chain location in Beavercreek. This bar makes use of a unique space to give it sort of a deconstructed feel; heavy wood tables and furnishings, a low-lit bar and dramatic lighting give way to a bar that favors creative culinary ideas and a wide variety of beers, both made in-house and produced across Dayton and all of Ohio. The Wandering Griffin is here to celebrate not just Gem City, but all of Ohio and the surrounding region, where many great kinds of beer are worth note and where brewers often collaborate to make a better beer.

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Bar 145

An Ohio-centered concept with half a dozen locations, Bar 145 tends to find its way into larger new developments, where its entertaining take on the traditional pub makes it a place that supports a few different activities. The location in Kent, for example, has space for a dance floor and hosts regular DJ nights to support that. The location in Dayton, on the other hand, has taken the form mainly as a ‘barcade,’ where classic arcade games can be played for free. But don’t forget the food. Where the bar has focused its energy on building a good menu in recent years, it has brought some great ideas to the table.

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Tavern on the Bend

A dive bar serving Cincinnati’s West side, Tavern on the Bend can be found just off Interstate 74 near Monfort Heights. This local sports bar features a menu of burgers and other sandwiches as well as 20 craft beers on tap. The sandwiches are named for different celebrities, famous characters and big personalities. And indeed, the food here has a lot of personality. This spot is a safe local place to grab a bite to eat and some company.

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Roost American

A new restaurant opened in Kettering as the brainchild of Chef Dana Downs of Roost Modern Italian fame, Park City Grill is more of a classy comfort food establishment than its Oregon District sister. This spot offers a lunch menu of quality takes on Midwestern comfort foods, and a dinner menu heavier on the surf and turf. The menu is approachable yet extremely well thought out, and while you might find many familiar items here, you’ll also find a few things you won’t get the chance to try in many other Dayton restaurants. This fun concept is definitely worth a try.

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Chalet in the Valley

Amish Country: For most Ohioans, that term is synonymous with some of the most remote and under-appreciated parts of the state. Indeed, this land in the rural northern and eastern parts of the state is where the greatest concentration of the Amish population resides, especially here in Holmes County, in the land between Columbus and Cleveland. These rolling foothills give way to endless hamlets and small towns where the simple live is celebrated. Little restaurants like Chalet in the Valley, in the county’s seat of Millersburg, are an example of the home cooking of rural Ohio.

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Hofbrauhaus

Although it is a chain of restaurants and beer halls centered around the Midwest, Hofbrauhaus brings the concept of the German beer hall to American cities. Each spot is set up as a large community gathering space; where long tables host many different groups of people and where live music, in-house-brewed beer and good food flows freely. The spot gets lively on weekends as big groups congregate for good times. But the food here, like the environment, is all German. The spot is an experience unlike what you’ll get in other places in town.

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Cock & Bull Public House

The Cock & Bull Public House — it’ll remind you somewhat of an English pub with its intricate exterior, but inside it’s much more a sports bar than anything else. Located along Hyde Park’s main stretch in eastern Cincinnati, this bar has plenty of pub grub favorites, and a few British-inspired dishes, to go along with a longer list of beer. It’s a place that seems to attract plenty of Cincinnatians on the weekends, but the wait and the prices can’t be ignored.

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