Restaurants get famous for a reason.
Some of the best, most classic Ohio restaurants are the neighborhood “hole-in-wall” joints. Others are nationally known eateries that have been around for more than a century. Here in the Buckeye State, we truly have it all when it comes to exceptional food. Here are 12 wildly famous restaurants that totally live up to the hype—and you need to visit them for yourself.
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. 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.
8. 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.
9. Crabill’s Hamburger Shop (Urbana)
Now in its third generation of local owners, this tiny burger joint —with just eight dine-at-the-counter seats—appropriately specializes in tiny burgers. (White Castle's sliders will make you laugh after you've dined here.) Crabill's Hamburger Shop is located at 727 Miami St., Urbana, OH 43078.
10. 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.
11. Oler’s Bar and Grill (Findlay)
This "hole in the wall" Mexican restaurant is a family owned and operated diamond in the rough. The Tex-Mex here is out of this world, as are their margaritas. Oler's Bar & Grill is located at 708 Lima Ave., Findlay, OH 45840.
12. The Thurman Cafe (Columbus)
Tucked away in Columbus’ historic and charming German Village at The Thurman Cafe are mouthwatering, overloaded burgers just waiting for a contender to take on the joint’s specialty: The Thurmanator. This beloved Columbus burger and restaurant first appeared on the Travel Channel in 2008 via “Man vs. Food,” and has since then been featured on multiple other shows. The Thurman Cafe is located at 183 Thurman Ave., Columbus, OH, 43206.
Have you been to any of these restaurants before? What’s your favorite restaurant in Ohio? Share your thoughts and experiences with us!