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)

Eating Out in North Dakota

Medora:  Boots Bar and Grill, 300 Pacific Avenue, Phone (701) 623-2668  We arrived at Boots around 5 PM, fairly early for eating out. There were about four other couples in the restaurant. We overheard our waiter say that it was his first job as a waiter and he had only been working 3 days. He had no supervision and although he was trying very hard the young man simply couldn't keep up. For our meals, I had the chicken quesidilla appetizer which had nice tender chicken but could have used a bit more cheese. My husband had the Rue-Bourbon burger which was huge, well cooked and tasty. His onion rings were a bit greasy and the meal took a long time to get out of the kitchen. Business picked up and we had to wait another long period before we were able to get our bill. I think all this comes from what appears to be a highly inexperienced staff. Very pricey.  We wouldn't go back. (07/2012)

Cowboy Cafe, 215 4th Street, Phone (701) 623-4343  First off, the restaurant doesn't accept credit cards so after giving our order to the waitress my husband had to go find a bank to get cash. I ordered the BBQ sandwich and fries; what I got was a sloppy joe made with ground beef and fries. My husband ordered the chicken fried steak with mashed potatoes, cup of soup and veggie. The steak was so tough he only ate one third of it (the waitress never came back to check on him) the mashed potatoes were a tiny little serving, the soup (tomato macaroni) tasted like Beefaroni and was barely lukewarm. This was one of the most overpriced, badly cooked and misrepresented pair of meals we've ever eaten. Not recommended.

Note: when my husband said the meat was horrible when presented with the check at the end of our meal, the waitress said the cook would make another chicken fried steak. Not wanting two of the same type of pieces of meat (plus the fact that I was already finished with my meal) he turned down the offer. No offer of a discounted price was made.(07/2012)

Pitchfork Fondue,  3422 Chateau Road, Phone (800) 633-6721  Ribeye steaks seasoned with Lowry's seasoning salt, threaded on large pitchforks and then plunged into vats of boiling oil.  Sounds horrible, but it puts a crisp char on the outside and the steaks were cooked medium rare.  There is a buffet line for the sides; baked potatoes, veggies, rolls, beans, etc.  Coffee, water and lemonade are free, alcoholic beverages and sodas are available for purchase.  Brownies for dessert.  Some days there is BBQ chicken and ribs available.  You dine overlooking the badlands in a partially covered pavilion.  It's something different to experience before walking over to see the Medora Musical.  The meal is overpriced but we've done it twice and had fun and enjoyed our steaks immensely.  (07/2012)

Theodore's Dining Room, 301 5th Street, Phone (800) 633-6721  Nice staff, nice surroundings but an average breakfast. My husband had sausage, eggs, hashbrowns and pancakes and left hungry. I had the Western Omelet which was overcooked, the toast was simply warm bread instead of toasted, but the hashbrowns were fine. Tourist prices in a tourist town.(07/2012)


Eating Out in North Carolina

Lexington: King House Buffet, 200 Lowe's Blvd. Phone (336)238-8288 Excellent food, excellent service, inexpensive but quality food. All the buffet food was hot and fresh. Great sushi. Tucked into a strip by the Wal*mart Supercenter. (10/2009)

La Fuentes Restaurant, 217 W US Highway 64 #4, Phone(336)236-1601 The most excellent steak/chicken/shrimp fajitas we've had ever! Very reasonable, takes credit cards. (4/2008) Edited 10/2009; this restaurant has a different name now, so I don't know if the quality of the food is the same.

Pizza Place, 215 W US Highway 64 #14, Phone (336) 249-6197 Most folks on a Friday night were having the buffet which was a few varieties of pizza and spaghetti, along with a small salad bar. We opted for ordering our own pizza, along with some fried mushrooms. The mushrooms were good, the pizza had obviously bee planned for the buffet as it was lukewarm when it reached the table and it wasn't what we ordered. And the pizza itself was nothing special. If you are absolutely desperate for pizza, this will suffice. Takes credit cards. (4/2008)

Mocksville: Buffalo Rusty's Bar-B-Que, 2076 US Hwy 601 S, Phone (336) 751-3131 Breakfast here took 40 minutes to get to our table, even though we were only the fourth couple in the entire restaurant. The food was decent, but the oven wasn't working that morning so there were no biscuits. We were given a discount for that, but we still probabl
y wouldn't go back as the food wasn't that exciting. Rustic decor, takes credit cards. (4/2008)

Sagebrush Steakhouse, 1562 Yadkinville Rd.Phone(336)936-0021. Normally we don't dine at chain restaurants, but since we had friends with us who had a taste for steak we stopped here. Good choice. Denny and I had the barbecued ribs/chicken/shrimp combo which was excellent. The ribs were fall-off-the-bone tender and you had a choice of 6 different styles of barbecue sauce on the table. Yum. Takes credit cards. (4/2008)

Salisbury: Fire Mountain Hot off the Grill, 730 Jake Alexander Blvd (Hwy 601), Phone (704) 639-1811 We stopped here for breakfast when our first choice was closed due to a fire. We were a bit taken aback to discover it was a buffet, because I don't care for buffets. This place was terrific though, with lunch/dinner choices as well as breakfast choices at 8 o'clock in the morning, like fried catfish and chicken. The food was hot, well cooked and delicious. Watch out for the bakery bar there--it's dangerous to us calorie counters. Very cheap at $7.50 each considering the spread.

The Farmhouse Restaurant, 1602 Jake Alexander Blvd. South, Phone (704) 633-3276. A nice place for Sunday breakfast and a popular one. They serve lunch and dinner seven days a week also. Breakfast was very good, moderately priced and the service was terrific. The interior was that of a toned-down Cracker Barrel. (10/2006)

Ting Hao Chinese Restaurant, 510 Jake Alexander Blvd. Phone (704) 633-3942 Moderately priced and a very good meal at lunch. I must admit I was taken aback by their use of styrofoam plates and bowls and plastic forks but the food was excellent and the locals like it too. (10/2006)

Wilson: Italian Pizza and Subs, 700 US 301 North #C, Phone (252) 243-5004 In business for 15 years, the owner is from New Jersey. They make great hot subs; we had the Italian and the Supreme Steak and Cheese. Yum. (10/2006)

Eating Out in New York State

Amherst, NY: The Grapevine Restaurant and Catering, 2545 Niagara Falls Blvd. Phone (716) 91-7799 Denny and I have been saying for years that we're going to stop here and today we did stop for lunch. If the quality of their lunch is any indication of their dinner, we'd recommend it. The restaurant itself is located in an older house on the corner with a lot of parking. Which is good, because it appears to be quite popular with the locals. The interior of the restaurant is tastefully decorated, with linen tablecloths and napkins as a nice touch. There are several large salt water aquariums built into the walls and a large free standing display near the entrance. It also appears that the owners are working on building a nice outdoor patio for dining in good weather. As to their food, Denny had the clam and chowder soup and the Reuben sandwich with fruit (instead of fries) and I had the chicken tortilla soup and ham on a baguette sandwich as part of their soup and sandwich special. Both of us enjoyed our soups and sandwiches. Reasonable for the area. (6/2011)

Ashford Hollow: Carson's Ashford House, 9219 Route 219, Phone (716) 942-3840. A homey restaurant in the middle of nowhere. Decorated with lighthouses and model trains that circle the main dining area, Carson's serves American-style food at a reasonable price. We've eaten breakfast and lunch there but have yet to try their dinners. They do advertise a prime rib special that sounds good. (8/2006)

Grand Island: Brick Oven Pizzeria, 2131 Grand Island Blvd., Phone (716) 773-4445 Good pizza, good subs, nice wine and beer selection. New York prices. (12/2005) Edited 1/2007: Still good when we returned 12/2006.

Currents Lounge, Holiday Inn Grand Island, 100 Whitehaven Rd., Phone (716) 773-1111 Nicely decorated, floor to ceiling windows with a view of the Niagara River. Very expensive, food is average. (12/2005) 
John's Pizza & Subs, 2131 Grand Island Blvd., Phone (716) 774-0020 Good hot Italian subs. (12/2005)

JalapeƱo Loco, 2800 Grand Island Blvd. Phone (716 ) 773-8748 Brand new, standard choices nicely prepared. Pricey. (12/2005)Edited 12/2008 Out of business.

Town Cafe , 2352 Grand Island Blvd., Phone (716) 773-7373 Wonderful wedding soup and the locals go for the all-you-can-eat fish. The owner will greet you like a long-lost friend while the guys sitting at the bar tell goofy jokes. Good food and a fun, homey atmosphere. Reasonably priced for NY. (12/2006)

Lake George: Olde Log Inn, 2814 Rt. 9, Phone (518) 668-3334 Built like a log home, rustic and warm inside, outside patio with a view of the surrounding mountains. We had the Friday special fish fry for a late lunch/early dinner. It was a piece of scrod on a long bun with creamy cole slaw and hand cut french fries. Denny also had the most wonderful cup of clam chowder that was rich and filled with bacon and tender clams. Iced tea and lemonade rounded out the meal although there is a full bar there which is popular with the locals. The meal was reasonable, the tea/lemonade prices a bit high even for a tourist area. Everything was good and the waitress/owner was friendly and efficient. We would come back here. (6/2011)

Tamarack Inn, 440 Canada St. Phone (518) 668-5400 Also built with a log cabin appearance, rustic and comfortable inside, but at breakfast the food here was simply decent. Cheese on the omelets was extra, there was an extra charge for the homemade wheat bread which looked suspiciously like storebought bread, texture-wise. We were disappointed. (6/2011)

Lewiston: Hillview Cafe, 1439 Ridge Rd., Phone (716) 754-4007 Denny and I ate lunch here; Denny had the sausage sandwiche with onions and peppers and a cup of split pea soup, I had the ½ sandwich and soup special which was a ham sandwich on a baguette with a cup of the beans and greens soup (think bean soup with spinach greens cooked in with ham and bits of bacon—yum!) Reasonable and good, the place is unpretentious and liked by the locals. (6/2011)

Lockport: Breakfast at Tiffany's, 4074 Ridge Road, Phone (716) 438-7950 A small restaurant located on the corner of Ridge Rd. (Rt. 104) and Cambria/Wilson Rd., the interior is rustic with wood tables and chairs made from logs and horse pictures on the walls. Denny and I ate breakfast and dinner here and the quality was erratic. At breakfast my Western omelet was wonderful (if you overlook the slice of American cheese just laid on top of the omelet) but Denny' chicken fried steak was a bit gristly and rubbery. At dinner his chopped steak was good, covered with a pile of green and red peppers, onions, mushrooms and gravy. My beef brisket sandwich had tender meat, but there was a bit more fat and connective tissue on it than I would have liked. They just need to watch their meat butchering a bit. I did really like the cream of spinach and broccoli soup created by the cook. Reasonable, friendly staff. (6/2011)  Edited October 2012: Breakfast at Tiffany's is now closed.

One Eyed Jack's Smokehouse, 5983 S. Transit Rd., Phone (716) 438-5414  Excellent BBQ.  I had the Pigken sandwich which was a combination of pulled pork and chicken with a honey garlic sauce while Denny had the Memphis pulled pork sandwich topped with coleslaw and a mustard BBQ sauce.  The hand cut fries were good, the macaroni salad was bland and lacking in pickles/pickle relish (okay, maybe that's an Ohio thing).  Nice staff, pleasant surroundings, reasonable prices for New York.  (10/2012)

Newfane: The Rib House, 2990 Lockport Olcott Rd. (north of Lockport) Phone (716) 778-7910. A prime example of why you should try the local small town restaurants. Terrific meals, great service, reasonable prices in the small dining room of a converted house. (7/2004) 
Ransomville: Country Roadhouse Inn, 2989 Ridge Rd. (Rt. 104) Phone (716) 791-4316 Okay, this meal was heavy on the deep-fried stuff; an appetizer platter of fried cheese, fried cauliflower and mushrooms, fried onion rings and chicken tenders, followed by a swiss-mushroom burger for me and a BBQ bacon cheeseburger for Denny which we each split and shared (and I took home half of each of that). Delicious. If you're up for it, you can play sand lot volleyball with the locals afterward at the side of the restaurant. (8/2006) Edited 9/2007: We stopped by for Sunday breakfast and it was okay but nothing to write home about. They do have the biggest mugs of coffee I've ever seen. Edited 8/2009: Service lousy for dinner and they were "out of mashed potatoes" for a hotshot at 5:30PM. Don't bother eating here.

Springville: Apple Dumplin Restaurant, 521 S. Cascade Dr. Phone (716) 592-0171 Pleasant surroundings, expensive for a lunch but tasty. (7/2004)

Warrensburg: Gino's Pizzeria, 3742 Main St, Phone (518) 623-3000 The pizza was huge, but heavy on the grease. The sign says Pizzeria and Restaurant, but there's only a few tiny tables jammed into what appears to be a standard pizza carry-out place. Light on the sauce, light on the toppings. Eh. (6/2011)

Williamsville: Le Nova Pizza, 5151 Main St. Phone (716) 634-5151 Pretty good for New York style pizza (we still prefer a very thin crust) and good wings. (9/2010)