The Winans family has been making lives a little sweeter for more than a century. During the Great Depression, townspeople would flock to the family’s bakery in Piqua with their sugar rations. Owner Wayne Winans would take that sugar and turn it into freshly baked cookies—a small pick-me-up at a time when even small pick-me-ups were a luxury. Years later, Wayne’s sons, Max and Dick, carried the family torch into the 1960s, when the first Winans Fine Chocolates & Coffees was born.
Today, the Winans family continues to do what it does best at three Ohio locations. All of the business’s chocolates are handmade, with no preservatives or fillers, and never cryogenically frozen. The family’s emphasis on freshness carries over to their coffee, too, which has frequently been named the area's best by the readers of the Dayton Business Journal and the Dayton Daily News. The secret is in their roasting process—their small, 15-pound roaster requires them to roast the beans in small batches, which leads to a more consistent product. Once the beans are ready, coffee artisans carefully combine them with other roasts to create a vast assortment of flavors, which includes 11 house coffee blends, 12 flavored coffees, and even more seasonal selections.
At age 11, while other Jersey kids were playing ball up the block, Tony Aponte was treating his four siblings to pizzas in the family kitchen. More than three decades have passed since those days. Tony has found new digs. He's moved to Ohio to be closer to his three daughters. But he is still crafting pizzas, drawing on those childhood experiences and a greatly expanded palette of toppings and ingredients available at Aponte's Pizzeria, which was featured on The Food Network's Restaurant Impossible.
In the pies he makes now, house-made sauce, hand-tossed white or wheat dough, and fistfuls of whole-milk cheese support capicola, genoa salami, grilled peppers, and artichoke hearts. While pulling apart slices, guests at Aponte’s Pizzeria can drink from a full bar or glance up at five flat-screen TVs to check sports scores or see if the anchorman is still wearing their friendship bracelet. Sports photos and team insignias pepper the marinara-red walls, and the tables clatter with plates of subs and baked pastas.
Bruno's dough-tossers create pies topped with fresh ingredients underneath a corrugated metal ceiling accented by shiny exposed ducts and suspended pizza-shaped decorations. Start with Bruno's signature Bruno dough, deep-fried doughy dollops tossed in garlic butter and sprinkled with parmesan, before taking on a large 14-inch cheese-covered creation. The pizza, made from the same recipe used at sister store Bruno's in Oxford, dresses to impress in a fine three-piece Italian suit of golden-crusted dough, savory sauce, and gooey cheese.
Lucky Dog Grille's inviting environs serve up a menu of flavorful pub fare in comfortable noshing quarters for the whole family. Their plump, aromatic Big Dog wings send tongues aflutter, being slathered in one of your choice of 14 sauces and served with a side of palate-cooling ranch or blue cheese sauce ($5.49 for an order of six, $10.49 for 12, $15.99 for 18). Sample the lightly breaded fried pickles, golden brown and sidekicked with ranch ($5.49), or prove the conservative cheese forecast wrong with crispy, skin-on potato skin flats ($6.99). A host of handy handhelds like the spicy feta wrap ($7.99) and BBQ bacon steak Philly sandwich ($8.99) are equally capable of quelling vicious hunger pangs, or doubling as makeshift melee weapons during unexpected Plesiosaur attacks.