Known as the ‘City of Sculpture’ for the many installations throughout the streets, Hamilton stands proudly as the county seat of Butler Country, southwestern Ohio. As a city with deep historical roots and traditions as well as thriving culture, it’s also graced with a generous share of restaurants that offer everything from pub grub to fine dining experiences. Here are 10 of the best.
Open for more than 60 years, Chester’s Pizzeria is an Italian-themed pizza place run by the affable Dadabo family, who will go out of their way to make sure diners are suitably wined and dined. Homemade recipes perfected over many years are what make the menu special, and you’ll find all of your favorite Italian eats in abundance – there are pizzas, pastas, and daily lunch specials with discount offers for those in the know.
Only open for breakfast and lunch, Millville epitomizes country cooking at its finest, and locals flock for the large portions at low prices. This family-run operation has been open for decades and attracts anyone up for understated environment and unfussy dishes that always pass the taste test. Treat yourself to the breaded pork chops or the juicy and tender pan-fried chicken. On special occasions, timely specials and embellished decor match the celebration.
Attached to an intimate wine bar is sophisticated bistro WG Kitchen ticking all the boxes for consistently good food, a fantastic wine list, and attractive interiors. Here you’ll sit among lofty mahogany shelves that stock prime vintages and create an atmospheric setting for both lunchtime and dinner meals. Standout dishes include bourbon-glazed pork chops (for its subtle, spice-rubbed finish) and the Dijon and pistachio-crusted salmon, sweetened with locally sourced honey. Come as a group to enjoy the delicious small plates that are almost too good to share.
Located in the Marriott Hamilton, Plaza One Grille offers a first-class fine dining option and an elegant courtyard for summertime outings. The lunch menu is full of flavor, with soups, sandwiches, burgers, and salads, while dinner is a more formal affair, boasting such delightful signature dishes as Prosciutto-wrapped Italian chicken, shrimp and clam linguini, and New York strip steak. The informed staff and impressive wine list make dining here a pleasure.
Quash your hunger pangs with a scrumptious breakfast spread at Brown’s – there’s a choice of freshly made bagels, fluffy English muffins, and tasty sandwiches filled with sausage, bacon, eggs, and ham. Part-shop, part-deli shop, here you’re spoiled for choice with the array of meats and cheeses you can enjoy in or take out.
The tantalizing taste of the southern-style ribs served at this laid-back cafe is renowned among Hamilton’s locals and a must-try for any visitor in town. Owner Mike Neal gives his name to the place, and he’s responsible for the barbecue servings inspired by his Alabama roots. Vast steaks, a signature meatloaf, and tasty ribs will satiate any meat urges, and bottles of the delicious marinating sauces can be bought on-site for you to recreate the dishes at home.
Comfort eaters should come to Hyde’s Restaurant where bargain prices and hearty meals make it a reliable option for no-fuss fodder. The pies are baked twice daily to ensure around-the-clock freshness and come in many fruity combinations, but the specialty here is the banana cream pie, loaded with creamy, gooey goodness. Those with less of a sweet tooth can go for the savory specials that may include spaghetti and meatballs, slow-roasted beef brisket, or roast pork.
Attention to detail makes eating at J Austin’s Riverbank Cafe a delight – from the fresh flower bouquets brightening the dining space to the attentive staff that work hard to exceed diners’ expectations. Using fresh and local ingredients, the menu is loaded with tempting, southern-style fare; highlights include a burger with a fried egg and a biscuit bun, bourbon barbecue wings, and slow-cooked pork belly with sweet potato casserole. With five craft beers on tap, it’s a great place to pull up a stool for a drink and a bite.
It’s easy to miss this family-owned hole-in-the-wall that serves authentic fare from El Salvador and Mexico, including pupusas, horchata, arepas, empanadas, and superb guacamole. Regulars, including many from Hamilton’s Hispanic community, fill the tables; most need no menu to order the hot and spicy dishes. Patio seating and Latin-themed breakfast options add to the enjoyable experience.
Bar, Pub Grub, Wine, Cocktails, Beer, American, $$$
This warm, friendly pub set in downtown Hamilton has an Irish theme and a local vibe, and provides many inviting corners to meet for a drink and some pub grub. The atmosphere is relaxed and the decor inviting with its wooden tables and open fireplace. Choose from the pumps’ ales alongside one of the filling food choices; top picks include the rich and juicy shepherd’s pie and the British classic fish and chips served with tartar sauce and homemade coleslaw.