HOME > Chowhound > Great Lakes >
Do you create unique foods?

Toronto to Louisville on i75 - Food Stops?

jonanderson80 Apr 9, 2013 04:51 PM

Hello there!!

A few of us are taking a road trip from Toronto to Louisville, KY over the Canadian Victoria Day long-weekend (May 17-21). Interested to know of any highway (or closely removed) food stops in Detroit, Toledo, Dayton, Cinci and anywhere in btw.

We're into any/all food - from BBQ to vegan, especially unique places that are popular amongst the area (or those coming through).


  1. Davwud May 6, 2013 09:25 AM

    First off Jon, let's start with some regional specialties.

    In Detroit you have Coney Island Hotdogs. A nice thing to do is visit American and Lafayette Coney Islands. They're side by side and a short trip from the bridge. Both are great and basically the same. We've done the head to head competition.

    In the Miami River Valley area you have ultra thin crust (Roman style) Pizza. A really nice place is Beppo Uno in Piqua, Oh.

    In Cinci you have Cincinnati chili. You're best bet, as has been noted is Camp Washington. It'll also allow you to give two other Cinci specialties "Double Deckers" (double decker sandwiches), Goetta (like scrapple) as well.

    If traffic is bad ( and CInci traffic can suck) you can slide over to I-71 and you could always hit Blue Ash Chili. Visited by Guy Fieri and the 3D gang. Same idea as CW Chili. Equally as good.

    You could also hit Skyline Chili. It's like the McDonalds of Cinci Chili. It's very good. Ignore Gold Star Chili. It's not as good. Just look for the signs on the interstate. They won't have DD's and Goetta though.


    I've already mentioned Tony Packo's but also in Toledo is Schmucker's Restaurant. A fantastic old school diner with incredible home made pies.
    The bonus here is it's very close to a Costco with gas pumps.

    A little further south in Bowling Green is Corner Grill. A fantastic community anchor type place old diner in a great spot.

    Speaking of Costco's with gas, there's one in N. Cinci and about a 2 minute drive away is The Root Beer Stand. An old fashioned drive in making their own root beer.

    Some other nice rec's are Woody's Bar in Wapakoneta. it's in town a bit but have a quite serviceable lunch buffet with a better than average pizza and very good looking burgers. Which it looks like you can get cooked to order (I didn't have one but the guy at the next table had one that was medium at best

    In Sidney there's another old school, burger/FF place called The Spot. The food was good but I found that everything was pretty sweet. So I got sugar over load. It was like too much of a good thing

    Once in Kentucky there's a couple places a bit of a drive off I-71 but featured on 3D. One is Rick's White Light Diner. It's an interesting place with good but not great food. Rick is quite the character and will talk your ears off about everything from the weather to sports to politics to the colour of grass.
    The other, which I recommend much more than Rick's is Wallace Station. It's nestled in the middle of horse and burbon country. A spectacular 20 or so minute drive.

    I've been to Kewpee and it's good but I found nothing other than the burger to be that good. I did not sample the pie though. The building is quite cool.

    Time your trip through Cinci to be away from rush hour. Things can really bunch up. Cutting over to 71, crossing the river on 571 can really save time.


    2 Replies
    1. re: Davwud
      rainsux May 6, 2013 04:50 PM

      Wow. I do the DTW:DAY route frequently; and you've given
      me some very good assignments. Thank you.

      1. re: Davwud
        jonanderson80 May 6, 2013 05:02 PM

        Wow is right!! Great recos. Thanks for taking the time/effort to pull everything together for us. We're as excited for the trip down as we are our stay in LoUHville.

      2. rainsux May 5, 2013 12:22 PM

        I-75, Exit 125, Lima, OH

        Go to Kewpee Burger ... For a slice of Olde Fashioned Sugar Cream pie.

        You'll also be an area where local restaurants will likely have a BPTS (breaded pork tenderloin) sandwich on the menu.

        1. Davwud May 5, 2013 06:57 AM


          I'm TO born and bread and married a Southern girl. We make this trip often. In fact, as I write this I'm in my hotel room in Dayton on the return trip.

          I'll give you some great rec's tomorrow when I get onto a real computer.

          There's plenty of very cool stuff that you just don't get at home.


          1. r
            red05 Apr 18, 2013 02:57 PM

            If you are into chili dogs, you can have a pretty epic trip as some posters have mentioned.

            Starting in Detroit get a Coney Dog, you can anywhere actually. I've been to several different spots as well as American and Lafeyette (the only real difference is the decor of each interior) Most Coneys are basically the same. Just find a spot that looks busy and go there.

            Toledo has got to be the only town in the world with two local chili joints to be visited by Presidents: Tony Packo's and Rudy's.

            Cincy chili is famous (in Cincy at least) and worth trying at least once. Skyline is the standard bearer, with a few other spots as well.

            Coming from Toronto with it's very diverse and vibrant ethnic communities, you will likely be disappointed with any ethnic food you may try here. The midwestern palate doesn't go for really authentic foods and most places have severely dumbed down their menus to accommodate the local sensibilities.

            Probably the most unique item you could eat that is staple food of the region would be the spaghetti chili.

            1 Reply
            1. re: red05
              jonanderson80 Apr 18, 2013 07:28 PM

              Thanks, Red05! I'm sure we'll be treating ourselves to a few coneys along the way - looking forward to it. Appreciate your comments re: ethnic options. We take advantage of the fare here and are excited to dip into some authentic American grub on our travels. We've created quite the list from everyone's feedback. Thanks to everyone for all the help!

            2. j
              Jim M Apr 10, 2013 04:40 PM

              Had a decent meal at a Bulgarian restaurant—perhaps rare even in T.O.—in the small town of Bowling Green, Ohio, recently. Right on S. Main, the main drag, on the west side of the street.

              1. rainsux Apr 10, 2013 10:50 AM

                Excellent/bargain italian in SW Detroit: Magdaleno


                1. Db Cooper Apr 10, 2013 10:35 AM

                  The great Coney battle wages in downtown Detroit between The Lafayette and The American. They are right next door to each other. Here's the link to the Lafayette on Google. Both of these joints have been profiled on numerous food shows here in the United States. Try one from each and see which one you like best.


                  1. JohnE O Apr 10, 2013 10:13 AM

                    For Cincy if you want to try Cincinnati chili Camp Washington (http://www.campwashingtonchili.com/) is right off 75. Cincy chili is a condiment, not a meal so eat it as a 3,4 or 5 way or a cheese coney. If BBQ is your thing Jim Dandy's (http://www.jimdandybbq.com/) is north of downtown. Downtown has a bunch of great food trucks with New Orleans to Go (http://www.neworleanstogopoboys.com/) being my fave.
                    If you have time to spare and can take a 10 minute jog off the interstate then check out Jungle Jim's (http://www.junglejims.com/) in Fairfield. It's a mega-international grocery store where you can find just about anything.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: JohnE O
                      jonanderson80 Apr 10, 2013 07:56 PM

                      Thanks, JohnE O!! We've added these to the list - really hoping we can find time to check out the food trucks. Thanks!!

                      1. re: jonanderson80
                        jjjrfoodie May 6, 2013 04:57 AM



                        Camp Washington Chili.

                        As a born and bred Cincinnatian, that is about the pinnacle.

                        I was in a few weeks ago for lunch and when I paid at the counter a woman from memphis who was passing through stopped in to buy a gallon of the chili to take back home to TN because she missed it so much.

                        Restaurant is about 200 yards from the freeway so it's not a long jaunt to get there.


                    2. nsxtasy Apr 10, 2013 08:38 AM

                      I-75 takes you right through the middle of Detroit, Toledo, Dayton, and Cincinnati, so all the many, many places in the downtown areas of those cities are right near the interstate. That means everything from fine dining to lunch and snacking type places.

                      I'd also recommend stopping at Cincinnati's Findlay Market, which is also right near the interstate. It's a public market with vendors, restaurants, etc. More info at www.findlaymarket.org

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: nsxtasy
                        jonanderson80 Apr 10, 2013 09:31 AM

                        Thank you!! We added it to our list. Sounds like the perfect place for a pit stop.

                      2. Niki in Dayton Apr 10, 2013 08:12 AM

                        About a mile from I-75 in Tipp City OH (just north of Dayton) is Coldwater Cafe: www.coldwater-cafe.com/

                        Really good food (house baked breads, good desserts) and Tipp City's downtown is picturesque.

                        I've never heard of World Cafe before but will check it out. Wasn't too impressed with the Bahn Mi at Pho Mi but only tried it once.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Niki in Dayton
                          jonanderson80 Apr 10, 2013 09:32 AM

                          Thanks you, Niki! We'll definitely consider stopping by if the timing works out.

                          1. re: Niki in Dayton
                            rainsux Apr 10, 2013 10:39 AM

                            > Wasn't too impressed with the Bahn Mi at Pho Mi
                            > but only tried it once.

                            Never tried their Bahn Mi. Their pho is okay for a smaller
                            metro area (Dayton). Their pho would not survive the
                            competition in Detroit. Whenever I'm in Dayton and suffering
                            the sniffles, their pho is just fine.

                          2. rainsux Apr 10, 2013 05:40 AM

                            For a fast food burger, fries & shake; I like Kewpee Burger. Also try a slice of their Olde
                            Fashioned Sugar Creme Pie. It's a central OH
                            and IN thing.


                            Sandwich stop in the Dayton area is World Cafe:


                            Pho stop in the Dayton area is Pho Mi:


                            A great sub sandwich in SW Detroit; Gonella's.
                            If you arrive before noon, spend the extra dime
                            for the hard roll.


                            Classic sliders in SW Detroit; Motz


                            Yuppie sliders in SW Detroit; Green Dot Stables


                            5 Replies
                            1. re: rainsux
                              jonanderson80 Apr 10, 2013 09:49 AM

                              Thank you!! Really appreciate the map links - all have been added to our 'roadtrip' map.

                              Any recos for Toledo or Cincinnati?

                              Again, thanks for pulling this together for us!

                              1. re: jonanderson80
                                nsxtasy Apr 10, 2013 10:30 AM

                                >> Any recos for Toledo or Cincinnati?

                                Cincinnati - Findlay Market (see above).

                                In Toledo, if you enjoy hot dogs, Tony Packo's is a longtime local institution. They have five locations; the one close to I-75 is in downtown Toledo, next to the minor league baseball stadium. www.tonypacko.com

                                Personally, I'd much rather eat Thai food than hot dogs. Toledo has a terrific Thai restaurant called Bangkok Kitchen, in the town of Maumee, just south of Toledo. It's a few miles detour from I-75 though. If you go there, it's not easy to spot from the street (Dussel Drive); it's in a strip mall just east of a Wendy's.

                                There's also a very good seafood restaurant called Mancy's Bluewater Grille, on that same stretch of Dussel Drive. www.mancys.com/bluewater-grille/bluew...

                                1. re: nsxtasy
                                  Davwud May 5, 2013 06:54 AM

                                  I've been to the original Packo's and it's a great experience. Nice old building and the place is a legend. If you're a fan of M*A*S*H* it's almost a must.

                                  The Thai food may be great but I doubt it's better than what you can get in TO. You cannot get Packo's in TO.


                                  1. re: Davwud
                                    jonanderson80 May 6, 2013 04:23 AM

                                    Thanks!! Sounds great.

                              2. re: rainsux
                                boagman Aug 14, 2013 05:53 PM

                                "A great sub sandwich in SW Detroit; Gonella's. If you arrive before noon, spend the extra dime for the hard roll.


                                I just want you to know, RS, that you've turned me into a Gonella's sub snob. Today I went there (too late, obviously, and I knew it, but the timing couldn't be helped...), and when I found out that they didn't have the hard roll, I wound up across the street at Giovanni's for lunch, instead. The hard roll really does make a difference.

                                BTW, I discovered the previous time I was there (got the hard roll that time) that the 12-layers of meat and cheese is only $.50 more than the 8-layers, so I went with the twelve. There was at least a full half inch of lovely meats on there, along with the fresh veggies and dressing (NO STINKING CHEESE!). As I was eating it, I had to laugh at the notion of something like a Subway sub: the meat is stinking *awful*, and it's really, really spartan on their subs (double the meat for $2!). The Gonella's offering is generous, and the quality is three letter grades (at least) above crap like Subway...and I *know* that Gonella's slices their stuff onsite. I've seen them.

                                This is, indeed, a good place. No hard rolls? Oh, there's Giovanni's right there. No biggie. I'll be back. ;)

                              Show Hidden Posts