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.
A private club in the heart of downtown Dayton, the Engineer’s Club of Dayton is a members’ organization and gathering place in a historic downtown building. Founded for Dayton’s thinkers and intellectuals by big names including Charles Kettering and Orville Wright, this spot hosts private events and other kinds of functions. The environment rings of history and the walls are decorated of the many exploits of Engineer’s Club members over their lifetimes, but the breakfast and lunch service is worth a try if you can find someone to get you in.
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.
The hilly Colerain Township of Cincinnati’s West Side is easy to get lost in, but travel the winding roads long enough, and you’ll run across a place like Vinoklet Winery. With an eye on quality dining, this spot makes a line of its own wines and also features many high-end events and music. It’s a serene environment, lost in the foothills, with a warm fireplace and low-lit dining spaces. I can’t think of a nicer place to bring a date.
This chain of Irish Pub restaurants has about 15 locations around the Midwest, most of them aiming for a mid- t0 high-market for pub food and drinks. Claddagh goes for sort of a dark, close-in British bar, lined with fireplaces and old bottles and other trinkets, despite that most of the restaurants are in fact located in nice developments with a patio and a nice view. Claddagh has a lot of the right ingredients, a lot of the right preparation methods, but some of the bar’s technique could use improvements.
The Cincinnati suburb of Oakley has a vibrant night life and a large population of active young people, so it’s no surprise that a healthy breakfast place opening in the middle of the main stretch generated a lot of hype. And bee puns, which you will find none of here. Indeed, Sleepy Bee Cafe has an innovative menu that is sourced as locally as possible, and since it opened last month it’s been pretty typical to see a crowd waiting outside. Unfortunately, the early reputation of the place has been tarnished online by what in my experience has been well-founded criticism of the service.
With a little over 100 locations, mostly based in New England, Uno Chicago Grill is generally a fast-casual concept with a heavier emphasis on the bar. Many are located downtown, many have an outside porch, and many have a ton of space to handle lunch and evening crowds. The chain was founded in 1943 – in Chicago, to be sure – and claims to be the very chain that invented the legendary Chicago-style deep dish pizza.