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Whether your style is haute cuisine or backway diner, you’ll find great places to eat in Ohio – and the state is also home to great craft beer and well-regarded wineries.
Columbus is the lucky home of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams – not only are these scoops delicious, but they are unlike any you’ve had before: try cherry lambic sorbet, goat cheese with fig, and whiskey and caramel. When you are in Yellow Springs – home to Antioch College – sit down to a meal at the Winds Café and Bakery. This place has been serving seasonal and farm-to-table food since before those terms became cliché.
Skip a trip to the South and instead venture to Athens, home to Miller’s Chicken, which specialized in juicy, crispy fried chicken sandwiches. Plenty of top-notch chefs have opened eateries in Ohio. Lolita Burger in Cleveland is stylish and serves upscale burgers with luxurious trimmings.
In Dayton, step into El Greco’s Pizza Villa – get a large with cheese and dig in while ignoring the carpeted walls. In Columbus, Tip Top Kitchen and Cocktails has oddball cocktails and superb appetizers. For fish, head to the New Sandusky Fish Company, where they serve up fresh lake perch. Ever had Hungarian food? Tony Packo’s in Toledo is the spot to get your fill of stuffed cabbage and chicken paprikash.
The Short North neighborhood in Columbus is home to some very cool restaurants and watering holes. Find craft cocktails in Arch City Tavern and Bar 23. For a relaxing weekend brunch, try Forno, Gallerie, or Laughlin’s Bakery. Luscious lattes and single-origin beans can be sampled at great coffee shops like Impero, Mission Coffee, Melo, and One Line. Come dinnertime, try the tacos at Bakersfield, the gnocchi at Basi, or the thick prime steaks at Black Point.
Some folks are saying that the food scene in Cleveland is on par with the likes of Portland. Locals love the bunch at Urban Farmer and the pancakes at Jack Flaps. Local roaster Six Shooter makes a great latte and wood-fired pizzas rule Citizen Pie. To pick up the best ingredients in town, roam the century-old West Side Market – you’ll find herbs, fresh fish, and the best crepes in town. Johnny’s is downtown’s fancy steak house and cabbage is king at Sokolowski’s. Cleveland also has some of the best greasy spoons in the country.
The Place To Be lives up to its name – try the gyro omelets. Dig into a bacon burger with fries at Kleifeld’s Restaurant in Willoughby or pluck from the menu at My Friend’s Restaurant, which is open 24 hours. Small-town Ohio is home to some undiscovered gems. In Waldo, G & R Tavern is home to the state’s best bologna sandwich and Gallipolis has Remo’s, where you can get famous foot-long hot dogs drizzled with the secret family sauce. In West Jefferson, Henry’s Restaurant may not look like much, but it has some of the best homemade pies in Ohio.
In Hanoverton, the Spread Eagle Tavern has been frequented by U.S. presidents and is tucked into a gorgeous Federalist-style building. For a real diner experience, stop at the Buckeye Express in Belville to experience a restaurant in a moored train car. For Amish food, check out Wilmot’s Amish Door, where you can have a full dinner served family-style. Cincinnati loves is cheese coney dogs – they are short, served on a steamed bun, and topped with chopped onions, cheddar cheese, and ground beef chili.
Cincinnati is also the best spot in the nation to find goetta – a German delicacy made of oats and ground pork, then cooked until crispy. When you are picking up groceries look for pawpaw, a tree fruit which was reported to be George Washington’s favorite dessert. And all over the state you can find Ohio’s official state candy – buckeyes. These delicious morsels are peanut butter balls dipped in chocolate – and yes, they look like the nut of a buckeye tree.
Thirsty? Cleveland is where you’ll find Great Lakes Brewery, which is home to the hoppy Edmund Fitzgerald Porter, which has hints of coffee and bittersweet chocolate. In Athens, Jackie O’s Brew Pub makes rustic barrel-aged ales and sells great pizzas to go along with the beer. For something a little stronger, Watershed Gin in Columbus is light and flavorful and found around town. Pilgrims revere Rockmill Brewery in Wesley Chapel, which produces sought-after dubbels, tripels, cask-aged, and saison noir beers. In Zanesville, Weasel Boy Brewing makes award-winning ales like IPA and a barrel-aged stout. For whiskey, head to Middle West Spirits in Columbus, where you can also sample flavored vodkas.
Ohio may be far from Napa, but the Buckeye State is home to 200 wineries. The state specializes in cool-weather white grapes like vidal blanc and chambourcin, but you can also find standard reds like cabernet sauvignon and pinot noir. In Canton, Gervasi Vineyard is noted for its beautiful setting. In Geneva, Ferrante Winery serves great reds and has an on-site Italian restaurant. Put-In-Bay Winery is a great spot for wine tasting and taking in the sunset. Hocking Hills Winery is a fine spot to relax at after a long day of hiking – there is a fire pit and often you can hear live music.
Remember – when you come to Ohio, bring your appetite!
Opening its doors in 1999, Terra Cotta Vineyards is a must-see destination for wine connoisseurs or those who simply enjoy a relaxing tour with a gorgeous view. The award-winning winery is located in central Ohio near the town of Zanesville.
While visiting the Terra Cotta grounds, guests can sample over 10 different wines, made with homegrown grapes and handcrafted onsite. The winery also offers private events as well as tours to the public – musical performances, cookouts, painting parties, and private group dinners are a large part of what make the Terra Cotta Vineyards unique.