The Buffet at Monte Carlo

In Vegas, they say it’s all about the buffets. Indeed most casinos on the strip have one, and you can walk right in and eat without gambling. In fact many are comped right to your room. Such is the case with The Buffet at Monte Carlo. Most used by the guests of the hotel itself the place has a plethora of options it serves for lunch and dinner. Of course, this casino was created by MGM as more of a budget option for the strip. You’ll find the buffet matches. In quality, not price.

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The Coffee Pot

Greenville, Ohio is about as small-town-America as they come, and this border town between Dayton and Indianapolis is home to a lot of wonderful experiences you would only find in a place like that. Its homely charm extends to the local restaurant scene, where charming unique concepts abound. One of the main coffee shops in town, The Coffee Pot has it all—good coffee, nice drinks, baked goodies and soups and sandwiches that will keep you coming back for lunch, as well. This is the right kind of coffee shop to spend the afternoon relaxing with a good book or conversation.

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ZenCha Tea Salon

Now with three locations across Columbus, Zen Cha Tea Salon is a modern take on the classic, quiet and lovable tea house. Tea lovers can come to a place like this for a chance to enjoy nice drinks and tea time bites to eat while in a quieter and more peaceful environment. The salon is located in places that are typically very busy and crowded, but in each, the tea house is an island of calm, its drinks and goodies a real reason to come in.

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Coffee Beans and Brew

More and more new restaurants are popping up in the area between Cincinnati and Dayton as the two cities grow ever closer together. Monroe and Liberty Township, an area that has seen great suburban growth and most recently major commercial development, brings more people off of Interstate 75 than ever. Coffee Drinkers will find Coffee Beans and Brew, a concept that has some baked goods and plenty of drinks, that seems to draw a crowd of locals from all walks of life. It’s a cozy spot and a very friendly atmosphere that I’d find fair to visit a few times to relax with a drink and a book.

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Boston Stoker

Large chain restaurants dominate too many of Dayton’s neighborhoods, with the likes of Zagat and other national critiques overlooking too many of Gem City’s home-grown innovations for regional or national brands. One of them is Boston Stoker, a small coffee chain with locations in all of the largest spots in Dayton, representing the major coffee destination in downtown, the Centerville area, and in each of the three Dorothy Lane Markets in town. It’s in this chain of locally-produced coffee spots with a great variety and a great atmosphere, that you find out what Zagat has been missing about this city.

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Ferrari’s Little Italy & Bakery

The Bassano family opened Ferrari’s Little Italy & Bakery in the eastern Cincinnati suburb of Maderia 15 years ago, and the Italian restaurant has been a mainstay of Italian cuisine in the city in the time since then. Tucked behind a strip mall it’s got a rustic feel that has meant the classy restaurant has remained a pretty, peaceful place to dine even as much of the town around it has undergone significant change in the past 15 years. But change or not, one thing hasn’t changed since I first set foot in here 15 years ago; the wonderful smell of Italian pastries that greets you when you walk in.

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Glass Slipper Tea Cottage

Tea is a specialty of small-town America, and what better place to enjoy it than the South? While Ft. Walton Beach is a corridor many tourists take to get to Destin and sandy beaches, many of them pass by The Glass Slipper as they do and don’t even know it. Indeed, it would be easy not to notice the unassuming little house is even a business were it not for the pretty lawn and neat trinkets that adorn its sign. The product of a happily ‘retired’ family, this little spot is a nice experience of the comfort and charms of Southern hospitality.

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Bakehouse

More than a simple restaurant serving downtown Troy, Ohio, Bakehouse is the spot where the scent of fresh-baked pastries is always wafting about, threatening the nearby buildings with delicious, sweet aromas and always a crowd of people in for a cup of coffee and some baked goods. Take a step into the place and you’ll find that half of it is a retail destination with tables and displays, and the other half is a fully-functional family, baking bread, rolls, sweets, and even lunch favorites like sandwiches and breakfast foods and other goods. Bakehouse doubles both as a spot to get locally-baked bread and as a place to get a good light meal. The brainchild of local baker Margaret Begg, this spot is a great Troy destination.

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Leo Bistro

The primary dining option for the Dayton Art Institute just north of downtown Dayton, Ohio, Leo Bistro has expanded far beyond the concept of the standard museum cafeteria and is now a full service place to eat, from the same basis as Elite Catering, the museum’s large-dining operation. Dayton Art Institute has a lot of events by itself, but it’s also host to a lot of cultural happenings of various groups around the city. Because of that, it’s likely a Dayton resident will try far more than the items on the standard menu when stepping into the DAI.

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Purple Turtle Cafe & Bakery

Washington Court House sits a hub of transportation for central Ohio. Located in the center of the Cincinnati-Columbus-Dayton triangle, people ply through this city in all directions. With so many different kinds of people coming through the town, it’s got to have a something really unique to get people to want to stop. It’s a place like this that an unusual business like Purple Turtle Cafe & Bakery can really thrive. It’s got a very low-key atmosphere and a modern feel typical of a much larger city, and it brings out a younger crowd.

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