Cassano’s Pizza

Dayton Ohio has a variety of local pizza places, and several of the biggest chains have a lot of local exposure. Cassano’s, toting itself as the Pizza King, is definitely one of those.  The recipes, inspired by Vic Cassano and his family, here you will find thin crust pizza, subs, bar food and lots of love from the locals. In each of the smattering of locations around the Miami Valley, you’ll find a spot where the food comes pretty quickly and there’s a small dining room to enjoy it, but much of the business is done to-go. I like the things that I try here, this makes for a pretty good experience of inexpensive, comfort food that screams Dayton.

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Nashville Hot

While it hearkens to the very favorite dish of the Music City, Nashville Hot (In Dayton, known as “Mike’s Nashville Hot” for the franchise owner) is actually founded in Cincinnati. The product of Tom+Chee’s David Krikorian and including former Bengals player Brad Cousino, this group is focused on taking hot chicken — a cuisine much beloved in Nashville but relatively unknown outside of that city — and popularizing it for a wider audience. Hot chicken is a sensitive thing for die-hards, but what the chain is offering is a great introduction to a dish many will not have tried before.

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Smoky Bones Bar & Fire Grill

Smoky Bones is a Florida-based mid-sized restaurant chain that has enjoyed some popularity throughout the United States for a few years. Mostly it does Kansas City-style barbecue with a variety of meats and a host of “Yankee sweet “sauces. In the south, barbecue chains tend to be pretty popular, but the north has a smaller number of chains with takes on the American classic. So how does this one stack up? Well, it depends on what you order.

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Holy Grail Tavern & Grille

Just across the street from Great American Ballpark at Cincinnati’s The Banks development, Holy Grail Tavern & Grille is a mainstay in Cincinnati — a place to grab good food after the game is over, and a nightlife spot that gets packed during ball games and downtown events. This bar has lasted even as others have closed up shop at the Banks. A favorite of reds fans and downtown dwellers a like, odds are this will be one of the first destinations the locals will direct you to if you find your way to Cincinnati’s downtown or its thriving riverfront.

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Wright Wing

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.

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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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Pontiac BBQ & Bourbon Bar

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.

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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.

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Roost American

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.

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Taft’s Ale House

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.

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