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HAMILTON: WG Kitchen & Bar

Sometimes, you just have to let the restaurant find you.

This was the case for me, today.

On a mission to find another new brunch place to try, I first found myself in downtown Miamisburg. I was walking the streets, looking for this one place, but I ended up not finding it.

But everything happens for a reason.

Walking around, I came across a noticeable line for a little food stand right in the middle of downtown: Hamburger Wagon.

People in line for Hamburger Wagon
People in line for Hamburger Wagon
I thought this was adorable. #HamburgerWagon
I thought this was adorable. #HamburgerWagon

Each time I walked by, the line got bigger, and from what it looked like, these burgers took time to make.

But as much as I thought about trying Hamburger Wagon, my gut was telling me to hold off.

Across the parking lot my car was in, was the beautiful recreation trail I’ve come across many times now since being here: the Great Miami River Trail, which stretches VERY far.

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There was a bridge going across this big river, and a huge hill, and as curiosity struck me, I decided to drive up.

I ended up making my way to route 725. I ended up driving through several towns, including passing through Germantown (not the downtown, but passing through). I then eventually made my way into downtown Middletown, where I decided to get back on I-75 south.

I got off the exit where Cincinnati Children’s Hospital is a landmark, and started driving up route 129  (which is another highway), and came across this beautiful looking shopping plaza in Hamilton.

A restaurant’s name caught my eye, “WG Kitchen & Bar.”

I had this feeling about it, that I needed to check it out, but I at first passed it on the highway. I turned around and came back to it, and lo and behold, what do I see outside the restaurant? This sign.

IMG_0634BRUNCH!

Score.

The atmosphere:  When I walked in, I was greeted by someone in a chef’s outfit, who seated me. As I found out a few minutes later, that guy wasn’t actually supposed to seat me (and the host and I giggled), but it shows the friendliness of the place. Everyone I encountered there was accommodating.  As you walk in, you’ll find yourself surrounded by bottles and bottles of wine. The bar is huge, and as I found from its menu, you can do wine flights. The three words that came to my mind to describe the inside : classy, rustic, industrial. I loved the details of the restaurant’s interior, from the old school light bulbs hanging above you, to the open ceilings, to the exposed brick wall in one part of the restaurant. Paintings and funky murals line the walls, and there’s even a more enclosed room off to the side that I assume could be used for parties. A lot of natural light was flowing into the restaurant. The music was very light and soothing, from jazz music to Billy Joel’s “Summer, Highland Falls.” The tables and place settings were beautiful; wooden tables that had a very rustic feel. At times I felt like I was inside someone’s home, having a meal.

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What I ate/drank: Warm pita bread with sun dried tomato/basil cream cheese, 2 mimosas, chef’s omelet special of the day which came with roasted red potatoes & fresh fruit.

Price:
Mimosa’s – $7 each

Chef’s omelet – $10.99

With tax the total was $26.61, with tip it was brought to $31.61.

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My thoughts: Because the guy from the kitchen sat me, I didn’t actually get the physical brunch menu until I had asked the host about it. As I saw the brunch cocktails were $7, I jumped on the mimosa train. I’m glad I did. The mimosas were fresh (it tasted like fresh squeezed orange juice mixed with the champagne), it tasted like Orangina in a cup (which to me makes a good mimosa, as the taste is balanced). The waitress informed me of the chef’s brunch specials today, and I decided to try to the omelet. While I waited, she brought out the warm pita bread with the sundried tomato basil cream cheese.

Warm pita bread with sun dried tomato basil cream cheese.
Warm pita bread with sun dried tomato basil cream cheese.

It was a great way to start off the brunch experience, the little warm pita bread triangles with the savory yet sweet cream cheese made me think of having a bagel without actually having a bagel. A nice little appetizer.

Chef's omelette special with roasted red potatoes and fresh fruit. $10.99
Chef’s omelette special with roasted red potatoes and fresh fruit. $10.99

The omelet’s presentation was nice. I loved the cheese on top (I believe it was mozzarella on top?), as well as the cheese inside it. Inside the omelet was fresh spinach, mushrooms, caramelized onions, asparagus and feta cheese. The vegetables inside were cooked perfectly: not soggy yet not crunchy, as well as being flavorful. The omelet itself was cooked great as well, light and airy but not runny. I loved the combination of flavors inside the omelet. The flavors that stuck out were the feta and the caramelized onions. The roasted red potatoes were good, not super greasy, and had a nice balance of flavor from the red onions to the herbs mixed in. What excited me was the inclusion of fresh fruit on the plate. That was my palate cleanser between every few bites. As feta cheese is very strong, it was nice to clean my palate before going back to the potatoes, for instance. While I do think the prices are a little higher on the scale of pricey-ness, I thought it was a nice brunch.

Mimosa. $7
Mimosa. $7

Why you should go: I noticed families eating there when I had went this afternoon, but I definitely envision this restaurant as a romantic evening for a date, or a fun girls night out doing wine flights and eating good food. It was a classy but friendly place where you could go in and have a good meal, and a good cocktail. Besides having many choices of wine (where you can also buy bottles), you can go for dinner as well, with its choices of small plates and comfort food dinners such as meatloaf and chicken marsala. There were good choices on the menu regardless of age. The prices were a little high, but the quality of food was great. It had a great open atmosphere and I would definitely go to try the wine flights and more of the food.

Location/Hours:

W.G. Kitchen & Bar
Bridgewater Falls
Lifestyle Shopping Center

3371 Princeton Rd., Unit F105
Hamilton, OH 45011
513 – 887 – 9463

Monday-Thursday : 11:30 a.m. – 9:30 p.m.

Friday-Saturday: 11:30 a.m. – 10:30 p.m.

Sunday: 11:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.

www.wgkitchen.com

DAYTON: Tank’s Bar & Grill

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“Stories in these walls.”

As I sat on a cushy, wide bar stool at Tank’s Bar & Grill in Dayton, that’s the phrase I kept thinking of.

There are stories about the items hung on their walls. There must be. And I left this afternoon with many questions as to the stories behind all of it.

It’s Sunday.

And Sunday means one of two things: Sunday brunch, or Sunday dinner.

A fun favorite of my friends and I is to get brunch. Living on Long Island/Connecticut/Syracuse it was all about the diners and breakfast places. But when visiting a few of my friends in Manhattan ( and now Queens where these ladies live), we would partake in a brunch on Sunday, and yes, some booze would be involved.

Living in Dayton, I haven’t found that go-to “diner” yet. In fact, I haven’t seen a 24-hour diner here at all (if you know of one, please! let me know).

But today’s mission was to find a brunch that not only had good food, but a good breakfast beverage to go with it.

Which brings me to Tank’s. I’ve been here in Dayton officially 9 months now, and while I’m good at directions, I definitely had to use the GPS on this one. I had no idea where I was when I pulled into the neighborhood where Tank’s is situated. All I knew was, I was somewhere in Dayton, but nowhere near downtown.

I’ve read many reviews about Tank’s, on Urbanspoon, Yelp and Google, many praising its breakfast and staff, “best bar food ever”, a “watering hole”, “dive bar,” , and others saying its prices are “getting out of control” and one going out on a limb saying “you might break your legs leaving the place because of the stairs!”

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Clearly, there’s a lot of hype about the place, and today I wanted to see what the fuss is about.

The entrance
The entrance way.

The atmosphere:  RELAXED. The entrance is on the side, not the front, so you want to make sure you park on the side road next to Tank’s or actually on the side street parallel parking (that’s what I did). On weekends it definitely gets crowded. I walked in and you have to walk down this interesting set of stairs to enter (you’ll see what I mean in the picture), it felt like I was about to enter another world. I walked in to a crowd of people sitting at tables in an open atmosphere. I didn’t see a host. So I went straight to the bar and found a seat right on the end. It’s definitely not a new place whatsoever.

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Tank’s has been in business since 1987, and there was a lot of wooden decor to go around, including the wooden bar and the big cushy bar seats to sit at. There was a TON on the walls and at the bar alone to look at.  In one corner, on the ceiling, a working traffic light. In front of me, a stained glass sign that says “Tank’s Whine Bar” and a picture of a wine glass. The staff was VERY nice, I felt welcomed flying solo at the place. They were very friendly. On the speakers, an eclectic mix, from Bob Dylan, Mumford and Sons, to James Brown’s “Get Up Offa That Thing”, which really stuck in my mind sitting there. There was a wooden card catalog on the bar, and right in front of me, a glass-enclosed cabinet, one shelf having bobbleheads in it (one looking like a Dayton Dragons one? possibly?). Above me, hanging plants lining the bar, as well as lining the restaurant’s walls. All of this left me thinking what it all symbolized and why it was put there, it made me think.

What I ate/drank: 1 mimosa, and the Country Gentlemen meal (three eggs, choice of ham, bacon or sausage, toast and hash browns) with scrambled eggs, sausage links, whole wheat toast and hash browns with cheese.

Price: For both plus tax, $15.54.

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Mimosa, $5.25.

My thoughts: The mimosa was perfection. It tasted like Orangina in a glass, which to me says they know how to make a perfectly balanced mimosa, those pros! My waitress was telling the guy next to me that they can customize it to your liking too (i.e. adding strawberries, a splash of cranberry, etc.). The drink was excellent, and a big mimosa at that. I noticed they used Cook’s Spumante little bottles as the champagne of choice, which is a good, cheap option. I had only wished it was a little less than $5.25 per glass.

Country Gentlemen plate (L-R: Hash browns with cheese, toast, scrambled eggs and sausage links)
Country Gentlemen plate (L-R: Hash browns with cheese, toast, scrambled eggs and sausage links)

The food came very fast, which was great. The first thing I noticed was the toast had a piece of char on it (which I took off), and that it wasn’t buttered, which surprised me. If you’re at the bar, however, there are little cups with butter packets near you that you can grab, as well as a syrup bottle and other condiments. The bread itself was good, but it could’ve been toasted more. The plate was a good size: not too big, not too small. The portion of hash browns with cheese was huge, and delicious: not overly greasy and the cheese added a nice kick of flavor. The sausage links were BLAND. I even added my trusty syrup on them, and it didn’t help.

What really impressed me the most were the eggs.

Oh my god, the EGGS!

The eggs were fluffy, soft, airy, but not super buttery. It reminded me of how my mom makes them, which for eggs, I haven’t had in awhile.

Overall my breakfast was good,  but not super amazing. Was it on the higher end of the price scale for breakfast? I think so. $8.79 for the plate plus an extra $.80 for cheese.

Breakfast menu. There's also a lunch & dinner menu (separate from this)
Breakfast menu. There’s also a lunch & dinner menu (separate from this)

What else is on the menu:  Tank’s has breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Here are the highlights: for breakfast it has omelets with toast for $9.99 (any combination of green peppers, banana peppers, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, salsa, ham, bacon, sausage, American, Cheddar, Provolone, Swiss, Pepper Jack), or you can get a “girlie size” omelet for $5.99 (another unanswered question for me leaving the place, why is there even such a thing as “girlie” size on the menu?).

There’s more choices of combinations of eggs/hash browns/toast/pancakes, and then there’s a Biscuits and “Bull Dog” gravy option for $5.99 (Girlie Size $3.99), which is two homemade biscuits in homemade sausage gravy, and then goes to say “Grandma’s original recipe, except we use Oakwood Possum” (I’m assuming that’s a joke…). There’s also French toast, waffles, and “Road Kill” chili. Breakfast is 7 days a week, anytime, so if you want breakfast anytime, you’re in luck.

For lunch & dinner, there’s an array of food from burgers to overstuffed sandwiches. A few highlights: for $7.49 you can get the Tankburger, which is a half pound of ground Chuck on an Onion, Kaiser or Wheat roll. The “My Way” Grilled Cheese for $6.49 includes Swiss, Cheddar, Provolone, American, lettuce, tomato, banana peppers, mustard, mayo and horseradish on dark rye. You can get chips & a dill pickle spear with its burgers and sandwiches, and for $.99 cents more you can add a side of onion dip (which I noticed people talking about a lot in reviews, good things!). On the overstuffed sandwiches menu I also noticed you can get a peanut butter & jelly club as well as a plain PB&J.  In the “other stuff” part of the menu I noticed there’s one thing called “Couch Potatoes” which is essentially chili cheese fries. The Batter Fried Shrooms I noticed people talking good things about in reviews too. There’s also daily specials on its menu too.

Why you should go: This place is so relaxed that you could go with friends, family, or by yourself. Its exactly what I witnessed today: group of friends, families, older people, younger people. It was a gathering place. A place where I bet if you go frequently, they would know you by name, and know your order. I definitely think it’s a good place to have a “boozy brunch” with people on a Sunday afternoon. Would I frequent every week? No. The prices are definitely a little too high in my eyes. Is it worth the hype? For the decor and for the atmosphere, yes. For the drinks? Yes. For the food, definitely the eggs and hash browns, but I’d have to try some of the other food to give a full thumbs up.

Location/Hours:

2033 Wayne Ave.

Dayton, OH 45410

937-252-2249

Bar: 7 AM to 2:30 AM daily

7 days a week

Kitchen: 7am to 2:00 AM

Breakfast served any time

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