A historic joint in downtown Chillicothe, Old Canal Smokehouse is a historic building that sits in a historic town and offers a casual atmosphere with some great Midwestern barbecue. In spite of all of the years that this building has, the smokehouse has a very approachable, friendly appeal. It’s a small-town hangout with some good barbecue, and there’s a reason this spot is known outside of town. It’s a nice representation of the appeal that drives Chillicothe; casual in spite of its many stories.
While there are a few Asian-themed buffets around Dayton, what Osaka Japanese Steakhouse offers the region is a very unique experience. Opened in what has for several years been a series of family dining restaurants, this one is a higher-priced buffet of Far Eastern cuisines you won’t find in many other places around town, and certainly not all under one roof. From Peking duck to octopus, frog legs and, yes, a sushi conveyor belt, this spot is a place to go when you’re feeling like a very adventurous experience.
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.
What originally started as a pretty simple barbecue chain in Illinois has evolved into a unique Midwestern experience known as Hickory River Smokehouse. This barbecue chain, which has eight locations across the country, including Ohio and Florida, draws in major crowds with its unique brand of smoked barbecue. The Midwestern palette has a very specific taste for barbecue, and even as many more chains look to dominate the market, Hickory River finds its way to the popular forefront. Among its accolades, the 2012 Ohio State Fair Pork Rib Off — which I had the great pleasure of judging.
Amber Rose is a bit of an under-appreciated restaurant just northeast of downtown Dayton that caters to a number of European cuisines, ranging from German and Polish food to Hungarian, Italian and even Russian. The spot doesn’t advertise a ton so it’s not very well known out in the suburbs, but the food you find here is a great ethnic change-up from some of the other things you’ll find in town. Amber Rose offers a lot of dishes that are unique to Dayton, and it’s worth a try.
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.
Another new food truck to come out of Dayton, Ohio, Smokinbeebeeq is a delightful concept. Not only do they smoke a variety of homemade meats and cook up some melt-in-your-mouth barbecue, but this specialty truck also makes barbecue sauces sweetened with its own home-grown honey. Homegrown barbecue has a lot of charm to it; because barbecue is one of those things that can be done right in so many ways. What this little truck brings to the table — it’s definitely on the mark.
Far from the excitement in south Dayton, Buckhorn Tavern feels a lot like a rustic lodge, nestled a bit off the beaten path in Clayton. The low lit, slightly smoky interior is filled with regulars and locals and the chandelier is made of deer antlers, but make no mistake, the food here is some of the most down-home good stuff to be tried here in town. This steakhouse should not be passed up.
Opened just off the square in downtown Troy, Basils on Market is a significant departure from the Night Sky Coffeehouse which formerly occupied this space. While it keeps the same intimate and cozy interior feel that made the former space so comfortable, this new concept goes instead in the direction of a high-quality bar with a menu of pub grub and an appreciation for the local arts scene. Good to see local artists are still represented in the space, but now you’ll want to take a look at that menu, too. The dishes you’ll find here are definitely worth a detour.