Cedarland Bakery

The east Dayton suburbs hold many surprises, especially in the world of little local restaurant operations. Cedarland Bakery is a great example; offering a specific flavor in Lebanese food amid a larger backdrop of Mediterranean dishes that might be a bit more familiar. Very popular with the immigrant community in the city, the grill enjoys relatively little fanfare from the suburbs because of its low-key presence. Very much a hole in the wall, this place has lots of sweets to take home with you, but you’ll want to try that lunch menu.

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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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Carl’s Deli

Cincinnati’s near east side hides a huge number of great little independent restaurants, whether they’re local bars, bakeries or pizza shops. But nothing is more under-the-radar that the quiet little delis that populate the eastern hills. Carl’s Deli near Hyde Park is the epitome of the under-appreciated art of the Cincinnati sandwich. Cold cuts, salads, soups and seafood can all be found here. A good local sandwich shop is so hard to find, but when you discover one like this, you want to hold on to it dearly. It’s got to be one of the best places for a cold sandwich in the city.

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Flying Saucer

It’s a chain of enormous beer hall-style restaurants with a big play on providing the chance to try hundreds of craft beers, and each location of Flying Saucer, which is in many major cities around the country, is all about the beer. With each spot sporting 50 to 75 taps at once, this is a spot where you go to try local beer, and many varieties of it. But between the long tables, the many decorative plates, pool tables and dart boards, the spots to offer some bar cuisine to match. The place is an attraction to be sure, but the food isn’t going to bring you back.

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Critic’s Special: Bibibop

Bibibop has rocketed out of the central suburbs into an all-Ohio chain of eight restaurants, and now both Cincinnati and Columbus eaters can enjoy the fast casual Korean food concept. One spot opened yesterday off Sawmill Road in Northwest Columbus at virtually the same time as another opened in Liberty Center near Cincinnati. So what does this chain have to offer? Owner Joe Holbrook invited Another Food Critic out to give it a try. The result was fantastic.

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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.

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Citilites

As the resident restaurant serving the Schuster Performing Arts Center in downtown Dayton, Citilites (pronounced ‘city lights,’ it took me a few tries to figure out) is a class establishment. For performances, it hosts both lunches and dinners, but the store is most popular during the work day, as a spot for business meetings among the downtown companies. It’s got a variety of foods for a variety of customers, and the menu seems to change regularly. Generally though, it’s upscale dining, served best with a nice glass of wine. Odds are, if you’re from the local business community, you’ve attended a few big events in this restaurant.

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Dayton Racquet Club

Perched high atop Kettering Tower, Dayton’s tallest skyscraper, the elite Dayton Racquet Club is a members-only social establishment with a number of amenities, the most remarkable of which is a restaurant and lounge on the building’s 29th floor. It’s at this exclusive club that Dayton’s elite rub shoulders whether it’s for a gathering of business leaders over breakfast, a light lunch with a source, or cocktails after hours. The Racquet Club is good to its members, and the food here, matching the view, is top-notch.

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The Ohio Coffee Co.

Downtown Dayton is served mostly by little local coffee shops, and The Ohio Coffee Company is one of the well-known ones. It’s the bistro at the base of the Fifth Third Center and it’s a pretty common destination for downtown Dayton’s business folks looking for a nice place to meet, for couples to have a meal or for small groups of friends to catch up. Many folks grab their food and go, but many more will visit at the tables that spill out into the tower’s lobby.

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House of Kabab (CLOSED)

Lebanese food has come into Dayton with several new restaurants in recent years, but House of Kabab is one of the oldest, set up along Centerville’s main stretch south of town. The restaurant serves different Mediterranean specialties, the kinds of foods up until recently you could find in few other places around town. But as some of the other Lebanese food places seek to re-imagine the recipes or rework the ingredients into something more westernized, House of Kabab goes for the classic feel. You come here for shwarma, seared lamb, falafel and other foods with a simple, unfiltered flavor.

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