Bullwinkle’s Top Hat Bistro lures crowds with its baby-back ribs, smothered with handcrafted barbecue sauce and served with a salad and your choice of a tater or veggie side ($18.59 for a half slab). But because maneuvering through a plate of ribs with grace requires both physical and mental agility, give your fingers an opportunity to warm up with an order of the piled-high macho nacho ($8.99) or spicy buffalo-style bullwingers ($7.99 for one pound) while you visualize winning a game of Sudoku. Bullwinkle’s menu also sports USDA-choice steaks ($12.99–$21.99) cooked to order, fresh seafood dishes and daily specials ($14.99+), and skillfully tossed pastas ($10.99) and more. If you'd like to keep your love affair with barbecue hidden, but your personal safe is already full of Gigli posters and Goosebumps novels, have saucy sustenance served secretly between two carb slices by ordering a specialty burger ($6.59–$8.59) or sandwich such as the barbecue-chicken melt with monterey- jack cheese ($6.99).
This locally owned, Hollywood-themed eatery boasts an all-star cast of belly fillers named after classic films such as The Godfather, Rocky, and Steven Spielberg's early all-kitten rendition of Un Chien Andalou. Star City is known for its steamed hoagies, ranging from the Little Miss Sunshine's heartwarming pairing of ham and swiss ($5.50 for a whole) to the deluxe Top Gun's action-packed layers of ham, turkey, bacon, provolone, and power balladry ($6.50 for a whole). If your stomach grumbles with Fellini-esque machismo, play the director and hand-pick the bread, meat, cheese, and veggie players in your epicurean ensemble ($5.50–$6.50 for a whole customized hoagie). Round out your repast by adding a homemade side of potato salad, coleslaw, or soup ($1.95 each) to your personal craft-services platter.
With a barrage of consumer-friendly magazine titles catering to all interests, Blue Dolphin Magazines' online store boasts an array of subscriptions ideal for gift-giving or personal enlightenment. The magazine curators line their virtual shelves with more than 1,000 titles in 28 different categories. They vend glossy pages devoted to subjects from the outdoors to scientific breakthroughs to current events, helping each of their titles fit nicely into any reading room, whether it houses couches, barstools, or ornately decorative porcelain chairs. By maintaining direct relationships with the publishers, they are also able to present their customers with a 100% satisfaction guarantee.
The Anticoli family has piled plates high with homestyle Italian fare made with imported pastas and cheeses, freshly caught shrimp, and fresh vegetables since opening its first restaurant in 1931. Though they have emphasized serving quality Italian cuisine for more than 80 years, they recently decided to focus on creating an authentic Italian experience, renaming the eatery after the family's ancestral Italian home and cultivating an atmosphere reminiscent of a trattoria. Terracotta colors wash over walls hung with pictures of the old country and of the Italian prime minister's jazzercise class, and carved, wooden roman columns support a wine bar festooned with cascading vines.
The Italian priority of bringing together family and friends over good food is echoed throughout cozy red booths where diners dive into spaghetti with hearty meat and romano sauce, herb-griddled pork chops, or hand-dipped spumoni dishes. The revelry continues outside on the breezy back patio, which is open seasonally or whenever the chefs feel the urge to make snow angels.
TK Thai Kitchen's menu is fully loaded with a variety of fresh Thai favorites and sushi rolled to order. The grilled shrimp and scallops ($8.95) starter and phad khee mao (a.k.a. the drunken noodle, starting at $10.95) are house specialties, receiving a curry-covered thumbs-up from the kitchen. Plates of crab fried rice greet sea-faring mouths with crabmeat, egg, scallions, diced snow peas, and diced carrots ($15.95). Curries come in a variety of colors and spice levels ranging from mild to the red hand of tongue singeing. Select beef ($12.95) or the seafood- combo curries ($14.95) depending on your surf and turf politics. A friendly staff plays Vulcan with seaweed paper, producing tuna- and salmon-filled thunder rolls ($9.95, eight pieces) and spicy-mayonnaise volcano rolls ($5.95, eight pieces). Extinguish blazing mouths with 21 ounces of Singha ($6.50) or a Thai iced tea ($3), saving room for cooling mango with sticky rice (seasonal, $5.95).
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.