The Chop House

Something of a new take on the old-fashioned steakhouse, The Chop House is a restaurant with about a dozen locations in the Midwest and South. With a menu of fresh steaks and seafood, and a giant helping of sandwiches and other fare, this restaurant offers over-sized plates and a comfortable interior, and a place where folks come to relax and enjoy the company of friends in a familiar experience. The menu strives to be a quality take on foods you already know and love, but it can be a bit hit-and-miss as far as these go.

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Soho Japanese Bistro

As the Cincinnati suburbs have expended north, nicer restaurant concepts have emerged alongside them. The Voice of America Park is one of several major shopping developments to emerge in the growing Interstate 75 corridor between Cincinnati and Columbus. But even as that allows for a measure of creativity, the concepts here tend to be upscale, old-school and focusing on making quality food and experiences. Soho Japanese Bistro is one of the prime examples, and a great one at that.

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Chuy’s Tex-Mex

A fun-loving, quirky concept out of Austin, Texas, the fast growing Chuy’s Tex Mex chain sort of explodes at you all at once as soon as you walk in. The mass of colors, hundreds of hand-painted fish on the ceilings, a shrine to Elvis, all of it greets you as you find your way to the bar or to a table. The flavors that greet you there are equally bold and loud. All told, I’m a huge fan of this concept and what it has to offer.

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Elsa’s Mexican Restaurant

Another small tex-mex chain around the Dayton area, Elsa’s currently operates four locations around the town. It’s got a different feel to it than some other tex-mex places; it feels almost more like a family bar than the average place does. You walk in and are greeted immediately by a dominating drink bar, and on either side, seating, televisions, and an arcade. With a lunch buffet it’s undoubtedly a very way to sell a business. Unfortunately, for all the other things going on around the place, making good food seems to have gotten lost somewhere.

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