Grandpa’s Cheese Barn

If you have spend any amount of time driving Interstate 71 between Columbus and Cleveland, you undoubtedly have seen the big white barn near Ashland emblazoned “Cheesebarn.” Sure, there are a few different kinds of cheese places in northern Ohio, where many local cheeses are made. But this one is likable because it has a series of businesses all tied into one. Sample some of the many cheeses, pickles, sauces and dips that are made at this place, and you’ll find an engaging experience and a great place to try.

Rate this:

Nick’s Restaurant

A local watering hole in Xenia, near Dayton, Nick’s Restaurant is a colorful little bar with a low-lit interior, a massive patio and equally massive food portions to match. While the stage brings music to the spot and drinks bring the locals out at all hours, its the food that really drives people in from out of town. Crowd-pleasing pub grub has been the staple here for years, and the restaurant’s wings have won award after award at local contests and wing festivals. Odds are, that’s one of the first things that will bring the place to your attention, and I will say that these wings are worth a try.

Rate this:

Henry’s Restaurant

A tavern and a late night option in downtown Fort Wayne, Indiana, Henry’s Restaurant is a night spot that focuses on classic American bar food and a warm and cozy atmosphere. The menu here is predictable but the end result for the food is above average good. This place is best enjoyed as a spot to grab a table and spend time with a small group of friends. It’s got the charm that makes it a lower key place where you can really enjoy what’s around you.

Rate this:

Corner Kitchen

The newest addition to the Oregon District, and the creation of husband and wife team Natalie and Jack Skilliter, Corner Kitchen opened in a long-vacant space at the corner of one of Dayton’s most loved nightlife spots as a place where people can go to get something upscale but down-to-earth. The deliberate craft of its owners is apparent in the restaurant; each dish looks pretty simple from the outside but gets more complex as you dive in; and in the end the food here really delivers something that downtown Dayton has been craving.

Rate this:

Rivertowne

With something of a sports bar feel, Rivertowne attracts people to its four locations across Pittsburgh with an assortment of its own craft beers and apps that fill up the numerous Pittsburgh fans while rooting for their favorite Black and Yellow teams. The high-traffic locations where you find this spot often leave long lines, especially on game day, but I wasn’t attracted by the charm that brought others in the doors. The food is sloppy and the beers are forgettable.

Rate this:

Bar Louie

Just close to 90 locations of Bar Louie are spread out across the Midwest and the East Coast, slowly expanding west in the U.S. These restaurants tend to locate one or two to a city, generally in the very upscale bar districts where they can justify higher prices and clientele looking for a more upscale experience. The bars are trimmed, often filled with televisions and sports gear, and most importantly, they’re nearly always packed. Expect a safe experience at one of these bars food-wise. Drinks are a different story. But whichever you pick, don’t expect to be wowed.

Rate this:

Coldwater Cafe

Tipp City is a highway town, and while a lot of the folks who pass it by on Interstate 75 north of Dayton never bother to stop there, if they did they would find a really wonderful experience of a little American town. Houses are well-maintained on the main stretch, American flags are everywhere, and the main street downtown is full of historic buildings and quaint little local businesses. One among these, Coldwater Cafe, is a well known name in the small towns of western Ohio, for its funny past, built in a former bank building. You can literally eat inside an old safe. And it’s a really fun time, too.

Rate this:

Basils on Market

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.

Rate this:

Fifth Street Brewpub

It’s organized as the second brewpub co-op in the nation, and Fifth Street Brewpub in the neighborhood east of downtown Dayton generated a lot of hype when it first opened, having attracted over 2,000 members at this point for something of a neighborhood bar concept. But while it added food as it has spun up, those craft brews it was created to churn out proved elusive; months went by and they still weren’t brewing their own beer. And now, finally, Fifth Street’s first brews are starting to churn out. But what makes Fifth Street such a great place to go isn’t the brews, or the food, really. It’s the great people that have made this spot happen.

Rate this:

The Deli on Webster

Webster Street isn’t far from downtown Dayton proper, but you don’t spot a lot of other things in that part of town that bring people out during the week. In fact, though, with the Second Street Market, the Dayton Dragons, and a few other things that bring downtown folks to play. But I consider The Deli to be a very under-appreciated gem of downtown dining. Too many folks missing out on the opportunity to try some great food.

Rate this: