Set up just a bit of the beaten path in Fairborn (and briefly having a sister location in Ketteting), Wright Wing is a local watering hole in every sense of the word. Comfortable, full of TVs to watch any number of local ball games, and with a simple menu full of pub grub, this is the place you’ll want to bring a few buddies to enjoy a game or two. The food is a pretty safe bet, and overall it’s one of the better hole-in-the-wall places to love in suburban Dayton.
A definite modern take on a very beloved Midwestern cooking style can be found in the middle of Cincinnati’s Over-The-Rhine neighborhood in Pointiac BBQ and Bourbon Bar. The street has brought forth many interesting concepts in the past few years with a contemporary flare, but one with a special focus on something as dear to the city as barbecue is rarer and more ambitious. This spot is great for its bevy of good drinks and the food deserves a definite tasting.
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.
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.
Served up with a healthy dose of history for its namesake, Taft’s Ale House honors a Cincinnatian who just happens to have been President of the United States once. So it’s nice that this eccentric church-turned-brewery has an aura of history to it, and a heck of a lot of character. While the libations are what bring the crowds to this spot on the weekends, it has a huge menu of food to keep people returning, including a brunch menu that isn’t often advertised. The food here is really worth a special visit.
As many years as it has stood in Springboro, China Garden Buffet has been a spot for inexpensive eats, and an all-you-can-eat Chinese dive that attracts plenty for its quantity of dishes. You can get a variety of dishes here — sushi, chicken dishes and seafood as well as plenty of veggies — to try on that buffet. It brings in a decent crowd from Franklin and Springboro for cheap eats, but leaves something to be desired.
Ollie’s Place has generated quite a bit of excitement in the months since it has opened in the south Dayton suburb of Centerville, Ohio. The spot brings the Dayton suburbs something they will surely love; a craft beer and whisky bottle shop with a connected tap room and restaurant. Take a step into the low-lit environment here and you’ll be immediately struck by the welcoming atmosphere. Not only is it a retail place to grab some craft brews, but it’s a place where you can relax and spend some time with a quality menu of bar foods perfectly matches to the extensive tap wall.
Barbecue: anywhere you go in Nashville, you’re almost certain to find some great options for smoked meats. Drifters BBQ, just east of the city, is a nightlife spot that offers live music, good craft beers, ample patios for games and a great menu of affordable barbecue dishes. I would primarily call the spot a good nightlife option and place for music near downtown, with the added plus of good food that is served late into the night.
The District in downtown Nashville; it’s got some of the best character in the city, and this historic nightlife spot features many music bars, dives and venues where some of the most legendary Music City expatriates got their starts. In this environment rests Wild Horse Saloon, a converted warehouse which opened in 1994 to capitalize on the craze of line dancing, then expanding into a music venue. This three-story attraction gets busy early in the night, but for all it has to offer, I might say you’ll want to avoid the dinner menu.