Saturday, September 8, 2012

Eating Out in Wyoming

Cody: Adriano's Italian Restaurant, 1244 Sheridan Ave. Phone (307) 527-7320 We chose the crab-stuffed mushrooms as an appetizer (yum!) and the deluxe pizza. Excellent! We also took home a piece of tiramisu to share. If all this is any indication, their meals would be good too. Friendly staff. (6/2010)
Hong Kong Chinese Restaurant, 1201 17th St. Phone (307) 547-6420. I should have known better than to ask Denny to stop here because there were never any cars here during the lunch hour. I had to ask for hot sauce to add flavor and sauce to my Szechwan chicken which was very dry. It was the worst Chinese meal I have even eaten at a restaurant operated by an Oriental staff. No iced tea, no refills on drinks. No going back. (6/2010)

Our Place, 148 W. Yellowstone Ave., Phone (307) 527-4420 Good homemade soup and pies (some of the pies are store bought—ask which ones the owner baked), great sandwiches—I had the chicken breast with ham and cheese, Denny had the mushroom/swiss burger. Good fries. Open for breakfast also—very popular with the locals. Cash only. (6/2010)

Sunset House Restaurant, 1651 8th St. Phone (307) 587-2257 Excellent breakfast and buffet. I had the french toast special—the french toast and/or syrup had a pleasant vanilla flavor, the bacon was crisp and salty and the eggs nicely cooked. Denny had the buffet which had a nice selection of foods and fruits and breakfast casseroles. Another favorite with the local, the chefs here like to experiment and create new dishes and sandwiches. We're come back here. (6/2010)

Lander: Oxbow Restaurant, 170 E. Main St. Phone (307) 322-0233 Denny and I had lunch here as well as breakfast. This is another place frequented by the local townspeople. For lunch Denny had the bacon cheeseburger and fries, I had the fish sandwich with french onion soup. We enjoyed our lunches, so went back for Sunday breakfast. Denny's chicken-fried steak and eggs were good, as was my omelet. (6/2010)

Rawlins: Cappy's Restaurant and Drive-in, 2351 W. Spruce St Phone (307) 324-4847. Based on the number of cars here, we figured this was a good restaurant. Wrong. My fish sandwich was a square of breaded pre-formed fish like you get at Mickie Ds and my fries were well cooked but barely lukewarm. Denny said his sandwich was good (I forget what he had). (6/2010)

Penny's Diner, 2005 Daley St. Phone (307) 324-4700 What I like about diners is that you can watch your food being cooked. We had lunch and breakfast here; the menu is limited but the food is decently prepared and it's fun to watch the cook at work. It's pretty obvious he's been at it a while. (6/2010)

Eating Out in West Virginia

Athens:Gino's Pizza, 100 S. Vermillion St. Phone (304) 384-7970 Just about the only place in town to get a pizza. Tuesday night is buy one-get one free. Which makes their very expensive pizzas seem reasonable. Okay pizza. (9/2006)

Pipestem: Mulligan's Sports Lounge in Pipestem State Park,Phone (304) 466-1800. Located at the Pipestem Golf Course upstairs from the Blue and Gold Room restaurant. I had the bbq pork sandwich and Denny had a hot ham and cheese, plus an order of breaded mushrooms. It was a great late lunch. (9/2006)

Brandon's at Nostalgia Inn , Indian Ridge Rd.(enter through the Rocky Ridge RV Park across from the Pipestem State Park) Phone (304) 466-9110 Excellent ribs, wonderful marinaded coleslaw and very reasonably priced. We recommend this one.(9/2006)

Princeton: The Omelette Spot, 909 Oakvale Rd., Phone (304) 425-4194. The omelette was decent but very overpriced especially since we always skip the potatoes, toast and/or grits. There was no reduction in price for not taking the carbs. A better choice would have been the early morning breakfast buffet at Ryan's Steakhouse nearby.(9/2006)

Eating Out in Washington (state)

Airway Heights:  Buckhorn Inn, 13311 Sunset Hwy, Phone (509) 244-3991  We had lunch here first and then went back for breakfast later in the week.  Denny had the German sausage sandwich which was very good and I had the 1/2 serving of Cobb salad which was enough for 4 people I think.  I know I took my leftovers home and had them for lunch two more times.  Breakfast was also good.  This is another restaurant where dead animals stare down at you from the walls, but I'm starting to get used to that.  Reasonable. (7/2010)

Coulee Dam: Melody's Restaurant, 512 River Dr., Phone (509) 633-1151 Don't let the setting or the lack of off-season customers put you off as the food is very good, served piping hot and it's very reasonably priced. Visit the Grand Coulee Dam and stay for the laser light show. (6/2005)

Ephrata: Country Deli, 245 Basin St. NW, Phone (509) 754-3143 Good food, small town atmosphere, very reasonable (5/2005)

Fall City: Fall City Grill, 4050 Fall City-Carnation Rd. SE, Phone (425) 222-5622 Great omelets, sports bar d├ęcor, Washington prices (6/2005)

Leavenworth: Happy Valley Restaurant, 220 9th St., Phone (509) 548-2230 Nice little Chinese restaurant located inside a town mall with lots of nice little shops to explore as well as the town's visitor center. Friendly staff, good food, reasonably priced (4/2005)

Long Beach: Chen's Chinese Restaurant, 400 Pacific Ave. N, Phone (360) 642-8288 After a very bad day of traveling on our 20th anniversary, we had an excellent meal here and the waiter made us laugh showing us how Chinese people open beer bottles with their disposable lighters. Of course, there was leftovers. Expensive-tourist area. (7/2005)

Julie's Loose Kaboose Diner, corner 46th and Pacific Highway, Phone (360) 642-2894 Good burgers, clam chowder and Coastal pie (raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, apples and rhubarb) Reasonable for a tourist town (7/2005)

42nd Street Cafe, 4201 Pacific Highway, Phone (360) 642-2323 Breakfast was mediocre and expensive. I've head folks rave about the place so perhaps they shine at evening meals. (7/2005)

Laurie's Homestead Restaurant, 4214 Pacific Way, Phone (360) 642-7171 A very good breakfast with the best vanilla yogurt I've ever had. The restaurant appears to have been remodeled from a house, lots of country-style decorations with emphasis on chickens, friendly staff. Resort town prices, but worth it. (7/2005)

Morton: Plaza Jalisco Mexican Restaurant, 200 Westlake Avenue, Phone (360) 496-6660 Great meal and portions large enough to bring home leftovers for a second meal, so-so margarita, reasonable (6/2005)

Moses Lake: Bob's Cafe at the Inn, 1807 Kittleson Rd. Phone (509) 765-3211 Breakfast was good, but not for $25 for the two of us.(4/2005)

Newport:  Michael's Cafe, 208 S. Washington St. Phone (509) 447-3355  We had breakfast here and wish we had come for the Friday night fish rather than eating at the restaurant we did just a few blocks away.  I had their version of a Denver omelet with a homemade biscuit fresh out of the oven and the owner even brought out some of his home canned huckleberry jam for us.  Denny's chicken fried steak was a bit tough and he mentioned it to the owner who told us that they cut, trim and pound their own steaks so he gave us a piece of his homemade huckleberry pie as an apology.  The restaurant surroundings are pleasant, it is in the heart of downtown yet would have been an easy walk from our campground.  Recommended.  (7/2010)

Westside Pizza, 325 S. Washington St. Phone (509) 447-2200  We had their deluxe pizza which was a decent pizza, but I had to ask for a knife to cut it as the young staff hadn't done a very good job of cutting the pie all the way through and it was too hot to handle by trying to pull the pieces apart.  Also, if you eat at their location, you'll be given plastic forks to eat with.  Not our favorite type of silverware.  (7/2010)

Ocean Shores: Homeport Restaurant, 857 Point Browne Avenue, Phone (360) 289-2600 Nicely decorated, good food (breakfast) (6/2005)

Othello: Potholes Sports Cafe, 7037 Hwy 262 SE, (509) 346-2895 A little bar and grill/golf pro shop serving decent food for a reasonable price out in the middle of nowhere. (4/2005)

Quincy: Harrington's Drive-in, 201 Central Ave. South, Phone (509) 787-3111 Great burgers, fried mushrooms and malts. (5/2005)  Revisited 8/2010--malts and burgers still delicious, the fried mushrooms were too heavily breaded.

Idle Hour Steakhouse and Cafe, 18 B Street SE, Phone (509) 787-3714  We had breakfast here twice and each time it was quite good.  The wait time for the food was a bit long but both times we managed to come in behind a couple of tables worth of folks.  The owners are chatty and friendly and it appears they have a nice selection of local wines to go along with evening meals.  (8/2010)

Tower Pizza, 8995 Crescent Bar Rd. NW, Phone (509) 787-0102  Decent pizza that was way overpriced, but we are in the resort section of town here. (8/2010)

Randle: Adams-St.Helen Family Restaurant, Hwy 12 and Cispus Rd., Phone (360) 497-5556 A little tired and beat up, home-style cooking, friendly staff and residents, reasonable prices for the area (6/2005)

Big Bottom Grill, 9791 US Hwy 12, Phone (360) 497-0561  Ripped upholstery, dusty and tired decor with the ubiquitous dead animals staring down on you.  The fried shrimp was decent, the food way overpriced and we weren't impressed. (8/2010)

Seattle: Cheesecake Factory, 700 Pike St., Phone (206) 652-5400 Okay, it's a chain, but we spent a special afternoon with a single lady we met on the Gray Line tour who has been teaching in Okinawa for 20 years and travels the country during summer break. Good food, outrageous prices, great company (6/2005)

Sequim: John Wayne Marina Restaurant, 2577 W. Sequim Bay Rd., Phone (360) 681-0577 We ate breakfast here, which was very good and very inexpensive for the area. I'd go back in a heartbeat for dinner or lunch. (6/2005)

Spanaway:  America's Diner, 20420 Mountain Hwy East, Phone (253) 875-4900  A small, new restaurant that mainly serves breakfast.  Breakfast was good, the omelets a little overcooked (my personal pet peeve is eggs cooked brown), but the food was decent and reasonably priced. (9/2010)

Spokane:  Frank's Diner Newport, 10929 N. Newport Hwy. Phone (509) 465-2464  Denny and I just flat out enjoy diners and this one is unique in that it is housed in an old Pullman sleeping car that has been converted (lovingly, I might add) to a diner.  I had the turkey club while Denny had the cheddar bacon cheeseburger with potato salad.  The server kept our iced tea glasses filled, the ambiance was great and the food hot and tasty.  Highly recommended. (7/2010)

Frank's Diner Downtown, 1516 West 2nd St, Phone (509) 747-8798  After having lunch at the north location of Frank's Diner we decided to try the breakfast at the original location downtown where they have been voted Best Breakfast ten out of the last eleven years.  We had a bit of a wait, but were willing to eat at the counter so we were seated before several other couples.  Breakfast was very good, we got to watch the two excellent cooks at work and the ambience can't be beat. Lots of good food. (8/2010)

TacomaHarbor Lights Restaurant, 2761 North Ruston Way, Phone (253) 752-4679  Fantastic views of the harbor, good food eaten with good friends makes for a wonderful dining experience.  Recommended if you're in the area and like seafood and steaks.  (9/2010)

Eating Out in Virginia

Front Royal: South Street Grille, 424A South Street, Phone (540) 536-6654 We ate here for breakfast, lunch and dinner. We can recommend their shrimp, hot roast beef sandwich, breakfast, fish sandwich and chicken-fried steak. Very reasonable for a tourist area. (9/2011)

Louisa: Panda Garden Restaurant, 400 East Main St., Phone (540) 967-5988 Standard Chinese with their hot and spicy dishes on the mild side. They must adjust for Southern tastes. Good, plentiful but not exciting. (9/2006)

Mineral: Mineral Restaurant, 42 Davis Highway, Phone (540) 894-4927 Where all the locals go for breakfast on Sunday morning. Small, a little grubby inside and there is NO no-smoking area there. However the food is good, cheap and served hot. Plus it's the only place to eat breakfast on a Sunday for miles. (9/2006)

Orange: The Hornet's Nest, 269 Madison Rd. Phone (540) 672-7040. I really, really wanted to like this place. The walls are decorated with pictures of the local football teams dating back to the 60s, the staff is friendly and we like to patronize local businesses. However, the quality of the food was erratic; the pulled pork was tender but cold, the country-fried steak was tasty but the mashed potatoes were lumpy and the macaroni salad was the strangest concoction of bland macaroni, mayo, green peppers, celery and diced tomatoes. No pickle relish or hard-boiled eggs in it at all. It may be a local thing. I'd pass on this one. (9/2006)

Williamsburg: Rick's Grill, 6380 Richmond Rd, Phone (757) 229-0045 A pleasant surprise tucked away in a strip mall. Rick's has a small bar and several booths and small tables for dining. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. We stopped for dinner, having the grilled vegetables with fettucine tossed with garlic and EVOO and broccoli/spinach/cheddar cheese soup and the chicken/ham/sausage with liguine tossed with garlic and butter. Both were delicious, served with soup or salad and there were four or five specials also listed daily. The food varies from our Italian dishes to liver and onions and burgers. The food was served right off the grill, was steaming hot, well cooked and tasty. Reasonably priced for a tourist area. We would go back. (9/2011)

Eating Out in Vermont

Shelburne: Barkeater's, 97 Falls Rd. Phone (802) 985-2830. Pretentious. Bad waitress. Denny had the club sandwich and sweet potato fries, I had the ½ sandwich/soup special which was either a turkey or ham sandwich and a cup of the soup of the day. I had the turkey and the soup was cream of cauliflower curry. The cook pureed the cauliflower until the texture of the soup was gritty which to me affected the taste and mouth feel of the soup. The sandwich was fine, everything was overpriced and the waitress didn't come back to see if we needed refills on our drinks (it was a warm day and we were eating outside). We would not go back. (6/2011)

Buonos,3182 Shelburne Rd, Phone (802) 985-2232 A comfortable little restaurant, favored by locals, a nice wine list, good penne with Italian sausage and sauce, good spinach and mushroom tossed with garlic and EVOO over linguine. Tasty hot dinner rolls, share-able size serving of tiramisu that was decent but not memorable. Good service, reasonable prices for the area. We would go back. (6/2011)

The Dutch Mill, 4309 Shelburne Road, Phone (802) 985-3568 Denny and I had breakfast here on a Sunday as it was right next to the campground and the place was busy with locals. Basic breakfast, reasonable for a touristy area, but if we came back, I'd probably look for a different place to have breakfast. (6/2011)

Eating Out in Utah

Hurricane: Hunan City Restaurant, 1141 W. State St. #5 Phone (435) 635-6882 Very good dinner, reasonable for a tourist area (near Zion National Park (9/2005)

Sweet William's Restaurant, 1560 W. State, Phone (435) 635-3169 Breakfast was good, but the waitress ruined the biscuits by microwaving them to heat them. Reasonable. (9/2005)

Leeds: Molly's Restaurant, 251 N. Main St., Phone (435) 879-2039 Great bacon BBQ cheeseburger and Philly cheesesteak. Moderately expensive, rustic. (9/2005)

Nephi: The Family Tree Restaurant, 2087 S. Main, St. Phone (435) 623-5300 Breakfast was good, food was plentiful, relatively inexpensive. (9/2005)

Eating Out in Texas

Amarillo: TheBig Texan Steakhouse, 7701 I-40 East (exit 175), Phone (800) 657-7177 We ate dinner here simply because we didn't feel like unhitching the truck and the restaurant offers free limo rides to campers and hotel guests along I-40 in Amarillo. The interior decoration is half saloon, half hunting lodge but the staff is eager and friendly. Unfortunately, the cuts of meat aren't all that terrific and the prices are pretty high. I'm sure Amarillo has a lot more to offer in a steakhouse. Not recommended. (5/2007)

Aransas Pass:  , The Big Fisherman Restaurant, 510 Hwy 188, Phone (361) 729-1734  Everyone in Rockport has to go to the Big Fisherman at least one time to try the Tuesday special of all you can eat chicken fried steak for $2.25 (up from $1.99 last year).  That's all you can eat chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes, cole slaw and dinner roll--as many plates as you can eat.  Denny ate two.  I had the lunch special of fried fish (pollock) and french fries which had five pieces of fish on it.  Very good.  The service could have been better; Denny actually had to chase down our waitress to remind her to bring tartar sauce and others at our table had similar problems with her.  But the food is amazingly good for the price.  $1 margaritas don't hurt, either. (2/2011)

Columbus: Becky's Cafe, 1237 Bowie St, Phone (979) 732-5553 We had breakfast here, as do some of the locals. My ham and cheese omelet was good as was Denny's ham and eggs although the ham slice was off a processed shaped ham. The breakfast menu is a bit limited. Decent. (3/2011)

Los Cabos Mexican Grill, 2543 Hwy 71 South, Phone (979) 732-9744 Reasonably priced Mexican food. I had the Guadalajara Special, which was a chicken enchilada and a beef taco smothered in queso with a side of beans and a cup of tortilla soup. Delicious. Denny had the Texas burrito which he also enjoyed. There's an ice cream machine in the lobby so I guess that means it's free for the taking as you leave. Nice margaritas, nothing special.(3/2011)

Nancy's Steakhouse,2536 Hwy 71 South, Phone (979) 732-9700 We were prepared to enjoy this restaurant which is decorated in a full out Western/cowboy style. Denny had a Hickory Burger which had bacon, BBQ sauce, button mushrooms (hard to keep on the bun), lettuce, onions—so much stuff that he could hardly get his mouth around it. The hamburger, unfortunately, was relatively tasteless. I had the soup and sandwich special with chicken tortilla soup and half a Texas steak sandwich. The steak pieces were very tender but the chipotle mayo was hard to find so the sandwich was a bit dry. The chicken tortilla soup's texture made me think the cook had added a piece of bread in the pot to stretch the filling—the soup had an odd, thick, grainy texture to it. Not my favorite version by a long shot. We'd pass this one up for lunch. (3/2011)

Schobel's Restaurant, 2020 Milam St, Phone (979) 732-2385 This is the winner, winner chicken dinner restaurant for this town. We ate here four times in two weeks; breakfast, lunch and twice for dinner. The restaurant provides a breakfast and lunch buffet at a very reasonable price as well as offering menu choices and then at dinnertime there is a large salad bar to go with your meal. We had the jalepeno schnitzel and the sausage and sauerkraut (Denny thought the sauerkraut was too mild but he grew up in a family that made their own in huge crocks in the basement) as well as their burgers. Friendly, pleasant staff, full bar, good food. Recommended. (3/2011)

Emory: Y'all Come Back Cafe, 659 W. Lennen Drive, Phone (903) 473-2224 We hit this place for breakfast, as do most of the locals. There's even a “Table of Knowlege” here, which back home we call “The Liar's Table”. Denny enjoyed his chicken-fried steak, I enjoyed my Western omelet. The sour dough bread is good, although like so many places, this restaurant simply slaps the bread on a grill for a couple of moments instead of using a toaster. I wish restaurants would toast bread because I much prefer “toast” to “heated bread”. Reasonable and good. (4/2011)

Fulton: Alice Faye's Restaurant, 106 N. Fulton Beach Rd. Phone (361) 729-6708 Breakfast here was mediocre. They made a boring omelet and had no substitutions for the potatoes and toast. Smeary windows obscured the view of the bay. We were disappointed. (4/2006)

Charlotte Plummer Seafood Restaurant, 202 N. Fulton Beach Rd. Phone (361) 729-1185 We were pleased to be seated near a window overlooking the fishing boat fleet but that was the best thing about our experience here. They do have an excellent chicken tortilla soup and a nice salad bar but all the shrimp in my shrimp sampler were badly overcooked as were the shrimp in Denny's shrimp linguini veracruz. A seafood restaurant should NEVER overcook shrimp, no matter what the form. We were disappointed. Very good bread pudding. (1/2011)
M & M Express Cafe, 3501 Hwy 35N, Phone(361) 727-0498 The proverbial greasy spoon with a great oversized fish sandwich and a small order of onion rings that was more than enough for two of us. Their hamburgers looked and smelled wonderful. Prices on par for the area. (4/2006)

Panhandle: Buffalo Grass Steakhouse, 200 Main St. Phone (806) 537-1010 Norman says they have great buffalo steaks (2006)

Harlingen: Gem's Pancake House, 1925 E. Harrison, Phone (956) 423-7977 Fluffy scrambled eggs, good tender chicken fried steak, quick and efficient service, reasonably priced. We would return. (2/2011)

Judy B's Cookhouse, 1101 S. Expressway 83, Phone (956) 423-4117 Good tender chicken fried steak, fluffy scrambled eggs, crisp bacon. The toast was simply bread slapped on the grill for a couple of seconds so I take points off for that. Reasonable. (2/2011)

New York Deli, 122 N. A St, Phone (956) 425-3500 Great sandwiches, all three of their soups are terrific and while we didn't have the burgers, those we saw looked delicious. A funky little place just off the main drag in downtown (read old) Harlingen. Try it. (3/2011)

Sun Palace, 1610 Midlane Dr. Phone (956) 412-3000 American and Chinese buffet, plus oysters on the half shell and other seafood selections. The sizzle heat is strangely tame for this part of the world, although the hot and sour soup is very good. There is a selection of sushi, salads and desserts also, all for $9.95. If you like basic, non spicy Chinese food then this place is for you. (2/2011)

The Pizzeria, 1610 E. Tyler, Phone (956) 465-1477 Great garlic knots, good pizza. New York or Sicilian style, by the pie or by the piece. There are also calzones, strombolis and Italian donuts. We liked this little place. (3/2011)

Rockport: Golden Gate Chinese Restaurant, 2005 Hwy 35 N Phone (361) 790-8223 If you like spicy, try their hot and sour soup. I had the Szechuan Triple Delight, Denny had the spicy Shrimp and Mushrooms and both were great. Very reasonable, very good. We went back for the lunch special and both our choices were good. (4/2006)

J J's Burger Works and Cafe, 302 Hwy 35N, Phone (361) 729-8787 A favorite with locals, we had breakfast here which was quite good and the experienced was enhanced when the owner shared some of his homemade spicy salsa for our eggs. (1/2011)

Jalisco's Restaurant, 1701 Hwy 35N, Phone (361) 727-0555 The menu is in Spanish with the English translation following. Great chicken fajita chimichanga, great beef fajita burrito, good corn tacos, great rice. Took home leftovers. Would return. (2/2011)

Panjo's Pizza and Pasta, 2744 Hwy 35N, Phone (361) 729-1411 Reasonably priced pizza. We would wish for a little more sauce but that's an Ohio thing. Nice thin crust that was crispy without being dry, decent side salad with a good house dressing. (1/2011)

Ken's Diner (formerly The Diner), 205 Hwy 35 N, Phone (361) 729-4985 Very popular on Sunday for breakfast. Ours was good with the exception of Denny's sausage which was badly overcooked. The waitress adjusted the cost of the meal for that and the price overall was quite reasonable. We'd go back. (4/2006) Edited 1/2011. We tried this place for breakfast again; Denny loved his chicken fried steak, my scrambled eggs were dry which is a major sin in my book. French toast was okay, the bacon was excellent. Very uneven meal.

San Benito: Sabor de Mi Tierra, 415 N. Paso Real, Phone (956) 399-7671 The problem with going back to a restaurant where you experienced your first plate of huevos rancheros is that after ten years it's just not going to be the same. And it wasn't. The decor hasn't changed (although it's very clean and bright inside) but the food is more Americanized. Ten years ago the eggs were poached and laid over over a bed of refried beans that had been covered with fried potatoes and served with salsa and wonderful homemade flour tortillas   The tortillas are still wonderful but now everything arrives on your plate side by side. Sigh. Good, but years ago it was excellent. (2/2011)

The Longhorn Cattle Company, 3055 W. Expressway 83, Phone (956) 399-4400 Very popular with the Winter Texans here.  Chopped and sliced brisket. Denny had a po-boy with briskey and sausage, I had the chopped brisket sandwich. Once I spooned on some of the BBQ (which we had to ask for) the bottom of my sandwich bun became soggy with grease. The sauce itself was pretty tasteless. Sides are extra with the sandwiches, although you do get a cup of soup beans which is good. Not to my taste. (2/2011)

South Padre Island: Dirty Al's, 1 Padre Blvd. Phone (956) 761-4901 There are two Dirty Al's, one on the island and one just before the bridge in Port Isabel. We went to the original restaurant on the island. The sign on the door says "sorry--we're open" but it's all in good fun. The decor is frumpy/funky, the view is of the marina and the fish is great. The shrimp is huge, looking at other people's meals but the fish tacos were also more than I could eat. I finished one and took one home for the next day's lunch. Everyone enjoyed their flounder and you can also buy fresh fish and shrimp as you are leaving. Noisy, jam-packed with Winter Texans when we went, good food. (3/2011)

Parrot Eyes Restaurant, 5801 Padre Blvd., Phone (956) 772-9040 Great happy hour margaritas priced at $1.75 and three times as good as the ones we paid $4.50 for at Boomerang's Bar down the street. Happy hour dinner specials at $5.95 were simply okay. I had the fish and also shrimp (long story). There were only 4 shrimp on the plate and they had an odd taste from the seasoning. Lots of fries, mediocre slaw. The fish was decent. The fish sandwich was flounder which Denny said was very good (the fish and fries plate was pollock). A friend's burger was very thick and nicely cooked although the fries weren't cooked as she requested. I don't think we'd come back except to have the margaritas and maybe try some appetizers. The meal also took a long time to arrive. (2/2011)

Study Butte: Big Bend Motor Inn & RV Park, FM 170 & TX 118. Small restaurant is the only game in town, priced accordingly. Burgers, etc. Lots of interesting stuff on the walls to read. (3/2001)

Willis: Pizza Shack ,115 W. Montgomery St. Phone (936) 856-9780 We visited this restaurant twice over two years and somehow I neglected to add it, which is a shame, because they have terrific pizzas and what we saw of the various Italian dishes that other diners were ordering looked wonderful and smelled terrific. If they still offer bread pudding and the tiramisu, get it. Yum! As long as the restaurant is here, we'll go back there. (2001 and 2003) Added 2/2008. Edited 12/2009: The food is still good, the desserts divine.

Eating Out in South Dakota

Rapid City: Colonial House Restaurant, 2501 Mount Rushmore Rd, (605) 342-4640 We stopped here for a late lunch/early dinner since the parking lot was always full every time we drove by. My husband ordered the G4 Dipster which was sliced roast beef with Cheddar cheese and sauteed mushrooms on a grilled sourdough bun with a side of fries. I had the fish sandwich with a side of sweet potato fries. Both sandwiches were huge, well prepared and so very good. I had a chocolate malt which had a good malt flavor and a little chocolate syrup left in the bottom of the metal cup (yep, the malts and shakes are served in the metal mixer cup) while my husband had the strawberry shake. We took home half our sandwiches and fries and looked longingly at the banana cream pie and rhubarb custard pie served at the next table but we were simply too stuffed to eat anymore or to even consider taking a piece of pie home with us. Pleasant surroundings, nice staff, outdoor seating for when it's not 100 degrees outside.

Stonewalls, 5955 S. Hwy 16, (605) 342-6100 Since our campground was several miles south of Rapid City itself, we tried Stonewalls for breakfast on Sunday. My husband had the 3 piece french toast breakfast with scrambled eggs and sausage. The three piece french toast was literally that; three small slices of a baguette style loaf of bread. The scrambled eggs were dry. I had the western omelet with poblano peppers; the omelet was overcooked, the ham in the omelet was diced deli ham and the veggies practically non-existent. I did enjoy the black rye bread. The iced tea was badly overpriced as were all their drinks. The surroundings were pleasant, the wait staff efficient but we wouldn't go back for breakfast.

Rockerville: Gas Light Restaurant, 13490 Main St, (605) 343-9276 We stopped at the Gas Light Restaurant because it was only a couple of miles from our campground and it was recommended by the staff there. My husband had the small filet mignon with a side of fettuccine alfredo while I had the prime rib with fettuccine. Both pieces of beef were flavorful and tender, although my prime rib had a fairly good amount of fat that needed to be cut away. The meals were quite good but the air conditioning vent right above us froze us to death. We mentioned to the waiter that we were uncomfortable at the amount of cold air blowing on us but all he said was that he'd have someone turn it down (which didn't happen) instead of moving us to a different table. Instead of sitting an enjoying another adult beverage and/or a dessert we left quickly because we were so cold we couldn't stand it anymore. There is a separate section of the building that is a bar where they were playing live music after we arrived--it was much warmer there.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Eating Out in South Carolina

Myrtle Beach: Akel's Family Restaurant, 6429 North Kings Hwy, (843) 449-4815 Denny and I stopped here for a late breakfast. Denny had the chicken fried steak with fried eggs and hash browns. The steak and gravy were excellent, the eggs overcooked for over easy and the hash browns were limp instead of crispy. My scrambled eggs, ham and French toast were quite good. Reasonable. 10/2012.

Fiesta del Burro Loco, 960 Frontage Road West, Phone (843) 626-1756  We go here at happy hour for the $3.50 margaritas, the free Buffalo Wings and the $3.00 personal size pizzas.  It's all good. (10/2010)

Firehouse Subs , 5407 Dick Pond Rd., (843) 215-3473 Great subs even if this is a chain. Recommended by a local, I liked the Italian sub here. There are three franchises in the Myrtle Beach area (11/2007)

Garden City Cafe, a new cafe on US 17 near Garden Lake Dr. Sorry, no address or phone number. Bright, cheeful, friendly employees, good although not exceptional breakfast. Reasonable. (11/2008) Edited 10/2012: Garden City Cafe is closed and another Eggs Up Grill is moving in. 
J. Edwards Restaurant , 2300 S. Kings Hwy. (843) 626-9986 Nicely decorated, dim, pleasant service, great ribs, steaks and pork chops. (1998, 1999, 2000) Edited 11/2008: BBQ pork chops were hunks of loin, but the shrimp was good. Local reviews seem to show service and food is uneven. J.Edwards is closed.

Liberty Steakhouse and Brewery , 1321 Celebrity Circle #R4 (Broadway at the Beach) (843) 646-4677 Loud and crowded because of 2 for 1 night, food was good, there is indeed a brewery in the restaurant with a variety of microbrews offered each night. Live bands on the patio which has propane heaters for cool nights. We had fun (11/2008)  Edited 10/2010.  We came back for the annual birthday celebration in 2009 and again in 2010, both times we were seated overlooking the manmade lake because of our large group which worked out well.  The food is good for as large as the restaurant is and as busy as it is for this once a year deal.

Mrs. Fish, 919 Broadway St. Phone (843) 946-6869  A favorite with locals hidden in a strip of buildings in the older section of south Myrtle Beach.  You come here for fish; grilled, blackened or fried, served with a choice of several different sauces ranging from savory to sweet to spicy. Good. (10/2010) Edited 10/2012; they have updated the seating and walls at Mrs. Fish. It's still simple but now is a bit more attractive. The waiter (who has been there several years) assured us the prices hadn't changed. Neither has the quality; the fried flounder sandwich and the fried shrimp with hot and spicy sauce (Buffalo sauce) are excellent. The coleslaw, unfortunately, is simply chopped cabbage with the barest sprinkle of sugar—no mayonnaise, no vinegar.

Scatori's Pizzeria and Italian Restaurant , 1399 South Commons Dr. (843) 650-3370 One half of the building is the pizzeria and the other half is the more upscale Italian restaurant (no pizza on the menu on this side). Meals were nicely presented, house salad and bleu cheese dressing was mediocre at best, and my ravioli was garnished with potato chips. But the antipasto, ziti, ravioli and lasagna (there were four of us) was all good. (11/2008) Edited 10/2010: the owners have worked on their food here; we came in a group of 8 and so were seated in the restaurant although we came for pizza and they normally don't serve pizza on the restaurant side.  However, four of our group ordered regular meals and raved about them, the rest of us had garlic knots and hot bread and pizza and were extremely pleased with our choices.  For once a place got better instead of worse.  Recommended.Edited on 10/2012:  This time around we arrived on a Saturday night with our son and daughter-in-law intending to have a nice dinner.  After talking with Chef Kevin, we agreed to try his specially made four entree and a dessert dinner, which he creates based on your food preferences, with or without wine.  He never duplicates his meals, keeping track of them in a journal.  What we had was a splendid meal paired with wonderful wines and a fun time interacting with Chef Kevin and our waitress Lauren.  It's pricey but so incredibly good and so much fun shared with another couple.  Recommend, recommend, recommend. 
Spencer'z Sports Bar , 5910 S. Kings Hwy. (843) 238-4800 Happy hour on Friday nights has a small free "buffet" with pizza, meatballs, appetizers, hot dogs or whatever they feel like putting out. Play the trivia game against regulars Lizard and Len. (11/2008) Edited 9/2009; the economy has changed, the drinks are weaker and there's less food at the appetizer bar. Edited 10/2010. Spencer'z has been bulldozed and is no more.

Woodhaven Pancake House, 2600 S. Kings Hwy (Hwy 17) (843) 448-2277 Run by the same folks as the Plantation Pancake House, but their omelet was better here. Also free wi-fi. (11/2007)

Murrell's Inlet: 
Bovine's, 3979 Hwy 17 Business, Murrells Inlet (843) 651-2888 Wood-fired grilled pizza, tasty appetizers, pleasant atmosphere. Pricey-very. (1999)

Dead Dog Saloon, 4079 Hwy 17 Business, Phone (843) 651-0664  This was a happy hour/appetizer place for us.  If you stay within the yellow line at the bar you get the happy hour prices and still get to listen to the live bands.  We had the chorizo con queso (all chorizo, no cheese) and the nachos, others highly recommend the crab cakes, the Cajun fish bites and Boo Boo's tender bites.  This restaurant sits on the marsh at Murrell's Inlet and you can walk the boardwalk to a couple of the other bars/restaurants or just enjoy the scenery and wildlife. Edited 10/2012: Happy hour is the best time for drinks; after 6 or outside the boundaries of the bar the drinks and special beers are pricey. The Boo-Boo Bites hoagie, the French onion soup and the Buffalo shrimp are all very good, albeit expensive. Don't sit near the band as the sound is turned up high. If it's warm enough to sit outside, you can hear the band well without destroying your hearing.

Flo's Restaurant , 3797 Hwy 17, Murrells Inlet (843) 651-7222 Good food, great view of the marshes of the Inlet, nice folks. A bit pricey. (1999)

Greg's Cabana Bar & Grill,
2800 Hwy 17, Phone (843) 651-1836  Come here on Friday's for the fish special.  It's great.  As are the burgers.  A mixture of locals and tourists. (11/2010)

Harrelson's Seafood Market, 4368 South Hwy 17, Murrells Inlet (843) 651-5707 Fresh seafood to purchase and sandwiches available at lunch time. Great fish tacos, crab cakes from TV's The Crab Cake Lady. (11/2008)

Hong Kong Chinese Restaurant
, 931 Garden City Connector, Phone (843) 651-7101  This is more of a carry-out place than a sit down restaurant; you have styrofoam plates and plastic utensils when you "dine in".  The food was a tiny bit bland but tasty, the hot and sour soup was very good.  I just hate to eat off styrofoam so we won't return. (10/2010)
River City Cafe, 4393 Hwy 17 Business, (843) 651-1004 Older than the River City Cafe in Surfside Beach, more rustic, same great sandwiches and a view of the marshes. (1998, 1999, 2000)

T.G.I.F., 3202 Hwy 17 South, Phone (843) 651-8888  This was our Friday night happy hour place.  Long Island Ice Teas for $3.50, free wings in a choice of five different sauces and half price appetizers.  We would make this our evening meal with the wings and the half-price pot stickers.  By the time we left Myrtle Beach the waitress knew our orders when we walked in. (10/2010)
Santee: Big Water Country Store, 5236 Dingle Pond Rd., Phone (803) 478-3800 I hate styrofoam and that's what our water and orange juice was served in. The bb holes in the windows were the second strike. The badly chipped china was the third strike. The food was good, the waitress adjusted the price of our breakfast when we eliminated the bread/potatoes/grits but we couldn't get past the styrofoam. 
Maurice's BBQ , 263 Britain Street, Phone (803) 854-3889 Yum. Just yum! Maurice's BBQ is an unusual sweet mustard sauce that is terrific! The cashier has you taste a bit of pulled pork before she lets you order anything because it IS different from your normal barbecue. However, the pulled pork sandwich is melt-in-your-mouth tender, the fries and crisp and hot and the price reasonable. We picked up several bottles of the barbecue sauce for our own use and for Christmas gifts.

Tastee Food Shop Restaurant, 656 Bass Dr. Phone (803) 854-1334. Pass on this one, it's grubby inside and the food is mediocre at best and the onion rings were so overbreaded to be unrecognizable. We were there for dinner and wouldn't come back. Cash only.

Sumter: Stellato's Restaurant , 2320 Peach Orchard Rd, Phone (803) 499-2400. If you happen to be visiting the Sumter area, do give this restaurant a try. They serve Italian cuisine and the three different specials Denny, Melissa and I tried were all excellent. We shared an appetizer of their formaggiio bread and a bottle of Lambrusco and we all took home leftovers. The staff was friendly and helpful, the prices were reasonable and the company wonderful. Kudos to this one.

Surfside Beach (Myrtle Beach):  Eggs Up Grill, 2300 Glenn's Bay Rd. Phone (843) 650-5515  Big sign "voted Best of the Beach 2005,2006, 2007, etc."   I have to admit, we were disappointed in our breakfasts which were mediocre and slow to arrive at our table.  And expensive. (10/2010)

Golden Egg Pancake House, 415 Hwy 17 North, (843) 238-4923 Great breakfast no matter what you choose. Inexpensive, the staff is friendly, the atmosphere is pleasant. The locals eat here; they have their own coffee mugs waiting at the door. Recommended. 10/2012.

Nibil's Restaurant, 11 S. Ocean Blvd., Surfside Beach (843) 238-5080 Years ago we at lunch here and enjoyed it, this time it was breakfast which was good but not exceptional. However, this small restaurant sits on the beach and we watched dolphins swimming by in the ocean as we ate. A nice trade-off (11/2008) Edited 10/2012; Nibil's has moved.  This is now the Surf Diner.

Plantation Pancake House , 1150 Hwy 17 N., Surfside Beach (843) 238-1690 Decent breakfast, free wi-fi and it's a geocache site! (11/2007)

River City Cafe,11 N. Seaside Dr., Surfside Beach (843) 232-9797.
Thick burgers, buckets of salted peanuts on the tables and peanut shells on the floor. A great view of the ocean and great sandwiches. (11/2007)Edited 10/2012: The burgers are still huge, the staff friendly and the view of the ocean from the outside seating is great. 10/2012.
Surf Diner, Surfside Pier, 11 North Ocean Blvd, (843) 238-0121 Denny and I had breakfast here; he had the Chicken Fried Steak and eggs, I had the Denver Omelet. The chicken fried steak was good and tender, the eggs okay, the potatoes were frozen diced fried potatoes, not hash browns. My Denver omelet had a lot of good cheddar cheese and veggies inside, but the omelet itself was cooked brown, which I hate. The waitress admitted the biscuits were frozen, but they had just come out of the oven and weren't bad at all. A couple of dollars more on the meal due to being beach-front, compared to any of the pancake houses on Business 17. (10/2012)

Surfside Jenny's
, 1013 Glenn's Bay Rd., Phone (843) 238-5366  Open for breakfast and lunch only.  This is where we usually eat breakfast when we're at Myrtle Beach. (10/2010)Edited 10/2011:  We came back again this year to find the service wasn't as fast nor was the food as good.  Still a decent meal, the furnishings are getting quite worn, but the prices are reasonable.

Eating Out in Rhode Island

Coventry: Gentleman Farmer Restaurant, 2405 Nooseneck Hill Rd. Phone (401) 392-0130 Pleasant surroundings, favored by the local population, we had a decent breakfast here at a reasonable price. (8/2011)

Eating Out in Pennsylvania

Acme: Brady's Restaurant , US 31, 1 1/2 miles west of Exit 91 off the Turnpike (Donegal exit), Phone (724) 423-4566. Sunday breakfast here on a fall morning, looking out at the pond, ducks and trees changing color. Perfect. The restaurant is paneled in barn siding and has a fieldstone fireplace. Breakfast was very good, and there's a buffet with a grill chef ready to make your eggs or omelet the way you want. The lunch and dinner menu had our mouths watering. If we come back to this area, we'll be coming back here to eat again. (10/2007)

Bridgeville: Napoli's Restaurant, Great Southern Shopping Center, 1155 Washington Pike # 43, Phone (412) 221-2484. Excellent Italian hoagie, cheesesteak (after all, we were in the suburbs of Pittsburgh!) and Reuben sandwiches. I was disappointed in the Italian wedding soup which was more of a shredded beef vegetable soup but Denny's cream of mushroom soup was a cup of buttery, creamy goodness loaded with huge slices of fresh mushrooms. Mmm-mmm good! And the tiramisu? Genuine. Highly recommended if you are traveling through the western side of Pittsburgh or staying around Washington, PA—it's worth the drive up. (5/2011)

East Earl: Shady Maple Smorgasbord, 129 Toddy Dr., Phone (717) 354-8222 People rave about the food and the quantity and the size of the place. I'll agree on the quantity and the size but not the quality of the food. For Amish food, it's bland, lukewarm and just not that good. But I don't like buffets/smorgasbords so maybe it's just me. Reasonable. (9/2011)

Hershey: Palmdale Cafe, 1736 E. Chocolate Ave, Phone (717) 533-3100 A great Western omelette and the homefries were served with red onions and a dash of hot peppers. Homey decor, nice staff and the owner is the cook who makes all her own sides like cole slaw. A cup of cinnamon-pecan coffee cost the same as regular coffee. We definitely recommend this one.

Gettysburg: Gettysburg Family Restaurant, 1275 York Rd, Phone (717) 337-2700 There aren't a lot of places to eat breakfast on a Sunday morning so the locals gravitate here. I found the scrambled eggs to be somewhat dry, the French toast to be very soggy and the bacon limp. Denny's slice of ham came from a processed piece of ham rather than from off-the-bone ham. Disappointing, but cheap. (8/2011) 
The Pike Restaurant and Lounge, 985 Baltimore Pike, Phone (717) 334-9227 Located close to the Gettysburg National Park, you can eat at the bar, on the deck or inside. Denny and I chose to eat outside on a lovely day. There isn't a lot of ambience, but we enjoyed the fresh air. Denny had the blue cheese, bacon burger and I had the pulled pork sandwich with onion straws. Both sandwiches were excellent, the food was hot and the server was attentive and friendly. Reasonable for a tourist area. (8/2011)

Lancaster: Conestoga Restaurant, 1501 East King St., Phone (717) 393-0290 Denny and I had high hopes for this restaurant that is situated on the banks of the Conestoga River and has an outdoor patio lined with roses. Unfortunately, the outdoor seating (which was torn and tattered) was the best part of the meal. Denny had the ribs, I had the smoked brisket sandwich, and both were dry although Denny's ribs were a lot more tender than my skimpy serving of brisket on a bun. Service was spotty at best; other waitresses stepped in time and time again for our server who disappeared whenever we wanted something. Disappointing. (8/2011) 
Ida's Cafe, 507 Rohrerstown Rd., Phone (7170 293-1311 Breakfast ordered here will arrive at your table literally five minutes after you order it; I timed it with several tables. Our food was well cooked, hot and tasty, even though I'm not partial to a slice of American Cheese slapped on top of my Western omelet. Reasonable and the servers are cheerful and friendly. (8/2011)

Ronks: Dienner's Country Restaurant, 2855 Lincoln Highway East, Phone (717) 687-9571 An Amish-style buffet restaurant with a fairly limited menu. A dinner menu is also available, but four of us went for the buffet. On Friday fried shrimp and fish are added to the buffet and there was about a 30 minute wait for a table. The food was pretty basic buffet fair, although the salad bar was nice and the greens were fresh. The meat choices other than the fish and shrimp was fried chicken and pot roast in gravy. There is a good selection of pies for dessert as well as a really yummy chocolate applesauce cake. Go for that rather than the lava cake. Reasonable. (8/2011)

Scotrun: La Casa Nostra Pizza, RR 611 (east side of street in small strip of businesses near the E/B I-80 entrance.) Phone (570) 688-1204 Almost a white pizza since they put only a slight brush of sauce on their pizzas, but they'll give you a side of marinara for dipping your slices. Good garlic knots. Very tiny inside so you may want to pick it up and take it back to wherever you are staying. (8/2009) Edited 9/2009: They have closed.

Scotrun Diner and Motel, RR 611 (north of Rt. 715 on the west side of the street) Phone (570) 629-2430 The best French toast I've had in a while and my first time trying pork roll, which the waitress had a hard time describing. Good breakfast. (8/2009)

Tannersville: Smuggler's Cove, RR 611 (south of Rt. 715 and on the west side of the street) Phone (570) 629-2277 A great prime rib dinner--meat so tender you groaned, nice ambiance. Pricey, but worth it. (8/2009)

Eating Out in Oregon

La Pine: Ponderosa Pizza, 52574 Hwy 97, Phone (541) 536-1964 Pizza is okay, 10 wings are served as the whole wings so they are the equivalent of 20 wings and they are served on a huge bed of deep-fried potato wedges. Since we don't eat potatoes, we gave them to the family beside us who told us that they (the grandparents in the group) drive down from Portland (a distance of 160 miles) to eat here. Expensive. (8/2005)

Cindy's Kitchen, 51375 Hwy 97, Phone (541) 536-3785 A small little place serving a good breakfast. Pricey. (8/2005)

LaPine Inn, 51490 Hwy 97, Phone (541) 536-2029 There is a restaurant side and a bar/grill side and we didn't realize that and so sat in the bar for Sunday breakfast. Lots of locals choose to eat here and they all smoke in the bar side so make sure you go into the restaurant side. A good meal, cheaper than Cindy's. (8/2005)

Princeton: The Narrows Restaurant and Campground, 33468 Sodhouse Lane, Phone (541) 495-2006 The only place to eat for twenty-five miles and it's very good. Reasonable prices for the northwest and nice staff. (8/2005)

Eating Out in Ohio

Note: As of December, 2006 the state of Ohio no longer allows smoking in businesses and enclosed public areas.
Bellbrook: Blue Berry Cafe, 72 Bellbrook Place, Phone (937) 848-5900 This is where the locals go. A sunny yellow interior, nicely decorated with a mini boutique to browse while you are waiting for a table. We ate here for breakfast and it was terrific. Generous portions, more expensive than most mom and pop places in the area but worth it. (6/2007)

Tuscany Grille , 129 W. Franklin St., Phone (937) 848-2226. We tried this nice little restaurant for Sunday breakfast. At this time they are only serving a limited buffet as an experiment and hope to expand the buffet if the idea is successful. The food was hot and good, the waitress friendly, the decor attractive. We'll be back. (6/2007) Edited 5/15/2009  This restaurant is out of business.

Brunswick:  Cozumel Mexican Restaurante, 625 Pearl Rd., Phone (330) 220-3335  Quesadillas and the chimichangas were good, margaritas were generous if a bit weak during Happy Hour. (8/2009)

Centerville: China Cottage, 6290 Far Hills Avenue, Phone (937) 434-2622 We ate here at the grand opening when the chefs prepared a special set of meals. Absolutely fantastic. The best value is the lunch menu. No buffets here, but the servings are generous. The restaurant has been remodeled and re-opened in the spring of 2007.

Doubleday's Bar and Grill, 199 E. Alex-Bell Rd., Phone (937) 436-4666 More restaurant than bar most nights, good food, great appetizers and soups, moderately priced (1/2006)

Cincinnati: Abby's Pub & Grill, 5753 Harrison Ave. # 1, (513) 574-6622 Great soup and sandwiches, a little pricey. A nice covered patio for eating outside when the weather is nice. The owner is a big fan of local sports which you'll discover upon reading the menu. A place to return to. (7/2008)

Angilo's Pizza , 6953 Harrison Ave. (513) 574-0777 A decent pizza, a small dining area. Supposedly their hoagies are quite good. Reasonable, friendly staff. (8/2008)

Barnesburg Tavern , 5761 Springdale Ave. (513) 741-1200 Great sandwiches in a newly opened storefront. The Barnesburg Tavern has moved and updated itself and the locals love it. A bit pricey for the area, but good specials every day. (8/2008)

Dena's Diner, 8375 Colerain Ave. (513) 245-2960 A small storefront restaurant serving breakfast and lunch only. Breakfast was fine, not exceptional. Reasonable. (8/2008)

Guido's Restaurant, 8007 Harrison Ave., Miamitown (513) 353-9900 Popular with the locals, they serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. A little worn inside and you can't be in a hurry to get your food, but the wait is worth it for good, old fashioned home cooking. Try the fish hoagie. Or the specials. Breakfast is good too and the New York style cheesecake is tasty. Reasonable. (7/2008)

Home Like Restaurant, 6856 St. Rt. 128, Miamitown (513) 353-9828 We were disappointed in this local restaurant. We ate breakfast here and the eggs were badly overcooked. Pleasant outdoor seating. Popular with the locals. Reasonable. (8/2008)

LaRosa's Pizzeria , 5806 Cheviot Rd., Phone (513) 347-1111 Ohio-style pizza means lots of thick tomato paste based pizza-yum! They make great salads and their house salad with creamy garlic dressing will have you reaching for breath mints afterwards. (7/2008)

Montgomery Inn at the Boathouse , 925 Riverside Dr. (513) 721-7427 One of the most popular restaurants in Cincinnati, known for their ribs. Great service, great food, nice view of the river, expensive. A nice evening out when you are celebrating. (8/2008) 
NYPD Pizza , 5761 Springdale Ave. (513) 521-NYPD Carryout and delivery only, good pizzas, great hoagies. Reasonable. (9/2008) 
Red Squirrel Restaurant , 8227 Colerain Ave. (513) 741-4800 They serve a nice breakfast here and the place is always busy. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week. Reasonable. (8/2008)

Ron's Roost Restaurant ,3853 Race Rd. (513) 574-0222 Great mock turtle soup, good food. I was restricted to soft foods when we ate here, but the seven other people I was with said all their meals were great. Reasonable, popular with the locals. (7/2008) Edited 5/2011; the fish sandwiches are good as are the pork tenderloin sandwiches. Denny's aunt always gets the chicken salad on a croissant. Love the mock turtle soup. Attentive wait staff.

Columbus: Graffiti Burger (Grandview), 1505 West Fifth Ave, Phone (614)488-3665. Think Five Guys decorated by a graffiti artists and you'll have Graffiti Burger. Build one yourself or order one of their creations. Here you have a choice of sizes of french fries, also, which is nice. A fun place with good burgers, popular with the local white collar crowd. (5/2011)

Local chains we hit when in Ohio: Frisch's, Skyline Chili, Steak & Shake, Logan's Steakhouse, Longhorn Steakhouse, IHop, Subway, Perkins, Captain D's Seafood

Dayton: Marion's Piazza, 711 Shroyer Rd. Phone (937) 293-6991 Marion's Piazza gained its fame in the 60s when the owner invited the cast members of Dayton's Kenley Players to stop by after the show for pizzas. The walls of the Shroyer Road location are lined with autographed photos of notable actors from the 60s which is great fun for us older folks. Marion's serves a unique thin crust pizza with the toppings chopped up small and the cheese underneath the toppings so that all the "stuff" has a tendency to drop off. You just scoop those up with your fingers and stuff 'em in your mouth. Plus they cut their pizza in the standard Dayton way; in squares. They have a good selection of hot sandwiches, too. The deluxe steak sandwich with cheese is one of our favorites. It's a great place to meet with friends and it's kid-friendly and group-friendly, too. (6/2007)

The Pine Club, 1926 Brown St. Phone (937) 228-7463 (12/2004) Great steaks, cash only.
Delaware:  23 Delaware Diner, 755 US Hwy 23, Phone (740) 417-9201  Denny enjoyed his country fried steak and fried eggs, served with hash browns and rye toast.  I had the Western omelet which was cooked to brown-ness which I hate.  Good flavor otherwise.  So the meal was uneven for us.  Reasonably priced, diner setting. (09/2012)

 Corner Cafe, 535 Sunbury Rd. Phone (740) 369-0377 We had an average breakfast at average prices. The owner didn't turn the heat on until we were leaving and it was very cold inside the restaurant. Accepts credit cards(9/2007)  Edited 9/2010: we tried this place again for breakfast and the food was worse than before.  Not recommended.

Famous Jack's Diner, 755 US 23N, Phone (740) 369-6677 Lunch here was a tasty fish sandwich that was moist and substantial, although served with just a bun and tarter sauce. Denny's cheeseburger was good, his chili average. The onion rings were a bit greasy. The setting is an old fashioned diner with a couple of pictures of winners of the Little Brown Jug. Accepts credit cards. (9/2007) Edited 5/2011: Denny and I ate Sunday breakfast here. The menu is limited and the food is just average. Edited 10/2012: Sold.  Now the 23 Delaware Diner.

Shorty's Pizza, 554 W. Central, Phone (740) 362-5555 Good deluxe pizza (everything except anchovies) and good Italian subs (hoagies) and good breadsticks. Order at the counter, clean up after yourselves. It's worth it.(8/2009)  Edited 5/2011:  Still good
Jefferson: Hau Po, 14 S. Chestnut St., Phone (440)576-3138 The only Chinese restaurant in town, they appear to be used to carry-out orders over folks who dine in. You order at the counter and then seat yourselves in the separate dining area. The food was decent, not highly spiced (I assume for local tastes but we prefer a good spicy meal!) and surprisingly not large portions for a lunch special. It took the edge off my desire for Chinese and was in the “better than many” category but certainly not the best. (5/2011) Cash only, no credit or debit cards taken here. Several banks in town, one credit union and Thorne's grocery store will give you cash when you buy groceries (plus with their grocery card you get ten cents off per gallon at their fuel pumps)

Jefferson Diner, 20 N. Chestnut St. Phone (440) 576-1977 Popular with the locals, always busy. We had Sunday morning breakfast here. The menu is not as extensive as some but the food is well prepared (other than using American cheese on my Denver omelette). Homemade bread for a little extra charge. Reasonable and pleasant. (5/2011) Cash only, no credit or debit cards taken here.

Kettering: Apple Station Restaurant, 3002 Woodman Dr. Phone (937) 253-6303 Serving homestyle breakfast, lunch and dinner at very inexpensive prices. I hope this one sticks around. (8/2006) Edited 7/2009: Out of business, see Jimmy's Italian kitchen

China Cottage, 3718 Wilmington Pike, Phone (937) 294-4724 Great staff, great food, moderate prices. No buffet. Our personal favorite (12/2005)

Frisch's Big Boy, 2860 Wilmington Pike, Phone (937) 297-0833 A brand new Frisch's to replace the one that closed-yay! Bright and airy with 50s kitsch, they have all the old standards and some new wraps.

Golden Nugget Pancake House, 2932 S. Dixie Phone (937) 298-0138 Open for breakfast and lunch only, terrific food, great staff, very reasonable. Our favorite restaurant for breakfast. Currently closed after an attic fire but will be rebuilt, sadly missed (12/2004) Edited 5/2007: The Nugget is now open for business in a spanking new building, same owners, same staff, same great food.

Hibachi Grill, 1760 E. Stroop Rd., Phone (937) 643-3333  Nice selection of Chinese and American foods in a buffet style setting.  Good selection of sushi, freshly made.  Blue crab served in place of King Crab but nicely seasoned.  The fried shrimp is excellent.  Recommended. (09/2012)

Jimmy's Italian Kitchen, 3002 Woodman Dr. Phone (937) 293-9133 I had my first stromboli here and I certainly liked their version. Denny's sandwich (I forget what it was called) of sausage and goodies went down easily, too. Philly Cheesesteak and Gyro served open face on flatbread and are excellent. We'll be back to try their pizza, which has gotten some good reviews. (5/2009)

LaRosa's Pizzeria , 2801 Wilmington Pike, Phone (877) 347-1111 This new branch of LaRosa's was a disappointment; the hoagies (Philly Steak and Baked Royal) were simply okay and the thin crust pizza's crust was limp and soggy. We'll save our pizza jones for the Cincinnati branches.

Young Chow, 20 W. Stroop Rd., Phone (937) 298-5672 Take out only, no buffet. Good, filling, typical American/Chinese menu. I like the chicken, shrimp and broccoli in garlic sauce. Take advantage of the lunch menu deals for the best value. (8/2006)

Lumberton: 68 Family Restaurant, 8295 US 68 Phone (937)486-2111 Popular with local residents, we had breakfast here two or three times. It's good, filling, cheap. (5/2008 and 2009)

Middleport: Millie's Restaurant, 39239 Bradbury Rd. Phone (740) 992-4466. The only place to eat breakfast on Sunday for miles. The breakfast menu was very limited. Average fare, a little higher priced than to be expected for the area. (9/2006)

Moraine: Treasure Island, 4250 Chief Woods Dr. Phone (937) 299-6161 Steaks, seafood, sandwiches. Good food, moderately priced (12/2005)

Oakwood: The Oakwood Club, 2414 Far Hills Ave., Phone (937) 293-6972 Seafood and steaks, pricey but worth it. Go for the surf and turf (filet and lobster tail) and be sure to try the warm dark rye bread in the basket. (5/2006)

Pomeroy: Fox's Den Pizza, 518 E. Main St. Phone (740) 992-9040 A decent pizza,a little pricey. The breaded mushrooms are pan-fried instead of deep-fried. Pass on those.(9/2006)

Port Clinton: Bell Mell Pizza, 307 Fulton St. Phone (419) 732-7337 This is a neighborhood bar, not a pizza joint. However, the deluxe pizza was cheesy and good, as were the deep fried mushrooms. The iced tea was bottled, but the owner has replaced all the ceiling tiles and some of the paneling on the walls since Ohio became a non-smoking state, so the bar didn't reek of smoke. There is a very nice covered wooden patio outside where you can smoke. Cash or Checks only. (9/2007)

Fish Tales, 3266 NE Catawba Rd. Phone (419) 797-3474. The best breakfast we've had for a while. This small restaurant is open for breakfast and lunch only, catering to the locals and fishermen by providing bag lunches for carryout. We had the chorizo omelets and the waitress substituted french toast for regular toast at no charge. The special of pancakes with "spirited" cherries sounded good and a lady at the next table had a yogurt parfait with granola that was tempting also. We'll be back the next time we're in the area. Credit cards accepted. (9/2007)

McCarthy's Sports Pub and Restaurant, 101 Madison St., Phone (419) 732-8800. Some Irish specialities and your standard fish and chips. We saw lots of folks noshing on Buffalo-style wings. Denny chose a hot dog stuffed with cheese, wrapped in an Angus hamburger which was wrapped with bacon then covered with bbq sauce. He said it was good. Shudder. The fish of the fish-and-chips was good, but I didn't care for the deep fried thick chips. Reasonable, with good service. (8/2006)

Port-and-Starboard Restaurant, 128 W. Perry St., Phone (419) 732-7161 Want a good breakfast? This is the place for you. Great omelets, good pancakes, and if you ask that the toast/pancakes be skipped, they reduce the bill. Our kind of place. (9/2006)

Springboro: Young Chow, 232 West Central Ave., Phone (937) 748-8400 Take out Chinese. My favorite is chicken, shrimp and broccoli in garlic sauce. Spicy hot and sour soup. Best value is the lunch menu. No buffet. (6/2007)

Spring Valley: Mammaw's Restaurant, 3291 U.S. 42, Phone (937)862-4144 Friendly folks, a tiny little place right on the highway--we thought we found a winner. Until Denny bit into his beautifully cooked chicken fried steak and discovered it was cooked in old, off-tasting oil. Avoid this one. (6/2007)

Waynesville: Der Dutchman Restaurant, 230 North St.Rt. 42 Phone (513) 897-4716 Amish meals served family-style at your table, plus a nice breakfast buffet on weekends. Reasonable, filling and good. (9/2006 and 7/2007)  Edited 11/2010:  Der Dutchman has burned down and will not be rebuilt.

Village Family Restaurant, 144 South Main St., Phone (513) 897-8835 Surprisingly affordable for this "antiques capitol of the US" tourist locale. Homestyle meals at reasonable prices. The fried perch and fried shrimp are great dinner meals (the house salad was a bit wimpy and limp, though) and a late lunch of a steak sub and an Italian Stallion baked sub was oh, so good after a long day on the golf course. (7/2007)

WestervilleGiammarco's Pizza and Pasta, 7097 Ohio Rt. 3, Phone (614) 895-8890  Tucked into a strip mall, this small restaurant has food with big flavors in large portions and it's all very good.  There were four of us and we sampled lasagna, pasta with Italian sausage, lobster ravioli, spaghetti aglio e olio.  Yum.  Highly recommended.  (9/2010)

Wilmington: Buffalo Wild Wings, 143 Fairway Dr. Phone (937) 283-9464 Although this is a chain, we were in the mood for an alcoholic beverage on this night so we stopped by. It was prom night and in Wilmington, OH BWW is "upscale" dining. The Buffalo Chicken sandwich was crispy outside and tender inside and I liked their skinny fries. Denny had some delicious ribs and wings. My first taste of a mojito was probably not a genuine mojito, but it was very tasty on a warm night.

Country Corner Restaurant, 3669 SR 380, Phone (937) 655-9064 Formerly a drive through beer place that has expanded to include a small dining area, you'll get a decent breakfast here at a reasonable price. The menu is limited, but the food is well cooked and tasty. (5/2008)

Country Kitchen Restaurant, 3150 SR 350, Phone (513) 932-7680 Breakfast here was good, although both the toast and the bacon could have been a lot crispier. Reasonably priced and very popular with the locals, especially around lunch time. We'll have to try that. (5/2008)

General Denver Hotel , 81 W. Main St., Phone (937) 383-4141 We had high expectations of this one, since it's a newly remodeled hotel in downtown Wilmington. We met friends for breakfast and we were only the third table seated on a Sunday morning. The four of us each tried something different and no one raved about their food. It was simply okay and not too expensive. The dining room needs pictures on the walls, although the bar area is quite nice with its antique bar from Victoria Station in Cincinnati. I wanted this place to be better than it was. (6/2008)

Generations Pizzeria and Pub, 1342 Rombach Ave. Phone (937) 382-3845 There is no pub at the pizzeria. This is a neighborhood pizza joint where young soccer/baseball/football/sports teams come after the big game. The pizza was simply okay, the buffalo chicken wings were pan-fried instead of deep fried and not all the way done (yuck!) and the salad that the waitress said was big enough for two really wasn't. It's fine for families with kids, but I'm sure there's a better pizza somewhere out there in Wilmington. (5/2008)

Max and Erma's ,123 Gano Rd., Phone(937)283-3201 Max and Erma's does dinners well, not so good on Sunday breakfast. Four of us enjoyed various meals for dinner which weren't outrageously expensive, although their drinks are overpriced. Their Sunday breakfast buffet is pathetically small and apparently is simply to get the business of the folks staying at the hotel. Pass on breakfast. (6/2008)