If a restaurant is well-known and frequently recommended, there’s a reason why—and that reason is almost always the amazing food. From local dives to upscale restaurants, Ohio is full of some really incredible places to eat. There truly is a little something for everyone when it comes to good food in the Buckeye State. No matter how long the line or wait time is, the following are 13 Ohio restaurants that are so worth it.
See how many you’ve been to before and which ones need to go on your dining bucket list:
1. Slyman’s Restaurant (Cleveland)
This downtown Cleveland eatery is home to the best corned beef you can find in Ohio. (Fun fact: This beloved breakfast and sandwich joint appeared on Rachael Ray's "$40 a Day.") An early lunch around 11 a.m. is recommended here to avoid the lunch rush. Slyman's is located at 3106 St Clair Ave. NE, Cleveland, OH 44114.
2. Z Cucina di Spirito (Columbus)
With 341 reviews, this upscale Italian restaurant earned the #1 spot out of 1,821 restaurants in Columbus on Trip Advisor. (Pictured above: Housemade Mozzarella Caprese.) It is unbelievably gorgeous and is located at 1368 Grandview Ave., Columbus, OH 43212.
3. Tom's Ice Cream Bowl (Zanesville)
April Dray/Only In Your State
April Dray/Only In Your State
Since 1950, Tom's Ice Cream Bowl has served up the area's best homemade ice cream. Its homey, 1950s style makes it a nostalgic stop for many. (You can't go wrong with any flavor here but if you like nuts on your sundae, definitely get them. Their nuts are roasted fresh daily and all of their toppings are processed in-house.) Tom’s Ice Cream Bowl is located at 532 McIntire Ave., Zanesville, OH 43701.
4. Schmidt’s Sausage Haus und Restaurant (Columbus)
For the best German cuisine in Ohio (and a friendly ghost sighting or two), go to 240 E Kossuth St., Columbus, OH 43206. This popular German Village eatery has been a well-known sausage haus in central Ohio since 1886.
5. G & R Tavern (Waldo)
With a population of just a little more than 300, the tiny village of Waldo in Marion County is unexpectedly hiding a delicious secret. G & R Tavern is a must-stop when you're in the area. For more than 50 years, it's been the village's best spot to eat. The signs here don't lie; this modest, seat-yourself, no-frills tavern is home to the best bologna sandwich in the world. G & R Tavern is located at 103 N Marion St., Waldo, OH 43356.
6. Eli’s BBQ (Cincinnati)
In 2016, Business Insider ranked "The 50 best barbecue joints in America," and Cincinnati’s very own Eli’s BBQ ranked as #3 on that list. For the best BBQ, mac and cheese and jalapeño cornbread you'll ever have, brave the possibility of a long line at Eli's BBQ. It's located at 3313 Riverside Dr. Cincinnati, OH 45226.
7. Kewpee Hamburgers (Lima)
This signature fast food joint in Lima has three locations that serve up the city's best burgers, french fires and malts. There's usually always a wait at the drive-thru during lunch or dinner time, so we recommend going inside if you're pressed for time.
8. Katzinger’s Delicatessen (Columbus)
Sandwiches come in two sizes here, where Rueben's, tuna melts and corned beef are just the start of the sandwich menu—which features a total of 77 different sandwiches. (FYI: You can never go wrong with a #1.) Katzinger’s Delicatessen is located at 475 S 3rd St., Columbus, OH 43215.
9. Pier W (Lakewood)
This landmark Cleveland area restaurant is suspended over Lake Erie to give customers a cruise-like dining experience. The unique waterfront restaurant serves up exceptional seafood and offers lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch. Pier W is located at 12700 Lake Avenue (Winton Place) Lakewood, OH 44107.
10. Tony Packo’s (Toledo)
For a truly epic chili dog, check out this iconic hotdog joint, with multiple locations in Toledo. A strange tradition of displaying autographed hotdog buns began here in 1972 when Jamie Farr of M*A*S*H signed a bun. While that bun is no longer in existence, today the cafe proudly showcases Styrofoam bun look-alikes signed by various celebrities, including five U.S. presidents. The original Tony Packo's is located at 1902 Front St., Toledo, OH 43605.
11. The Maid-Rite Sandwich Shoppe (Greenville)
"Home of the famous Maid-Rite, Cheese-Rite and Big Jim," this unsuspecting sandwich shop upholds a strange tradition. Visitors stick their chewing gum outside along the "Wall of Gum" and come inside for what is arguably Ohio's best loose meat sandwich. (Pictured: Big Jim.) This unusual eatery is located at 125 N Broadway St., Greenville, OH 45331.
12. Casa Nueva Restaurant & Cantina (Athens)
Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, this beloved Athens eatery features the area's best Mexican cuisine, made with fresh, local ingredients. On the weekends, business really picks up, so expect a wait. If the wait is too long for you, we suggest grabbing a seat on the bodega side. Casa Nueva is located at 6 W State St., Athens, OH 45701.
13. Melt Bar and Grilled (Various locations)
Ohio is home to a pretty epic grilled cheese joint that takes the simple, mouthwatering sandwich to a whole other level. If you’ve yet to eat at Melt Bar and Grilled in central and northeast Ohio, then you’re truly missing out. Melt Bar and Grilled has locations in Lakewood, Cleveland Heights, Independence, Mentor, Akron and Columbus’ Short North and Easton Town Center.
Have you been to any of these restaurants before? What else would you add to this list? Let us know!