The 2013 Bar & Food Guide

Kent State’s campus boasts more than 20 dining locations, but a Golden Flash can eat only so much Rosie’s, Subway and prepackaged sushi. But fret not, reader — the city is sprawling with local eateries . For those of you who are 21 or older there are plenty of bars, as well. Here’s a few of the best.

Evergreen Chinese Restaurant and Buffet

1665 Ohio 59

If you’re looking for Chinese food, journey no further than Evergreen Chinese Buffet. We realize buffets aren’t for everyone, but Evergreen will change your mind. The line is filled with an array Chinese-American dishes — General Tso’s chicken, bean curd, egg rolls, wonton soup, etc. The most important thing to remember is that one should always get Evergreen to go. It’s a sweet deal: fill a takeout box at the buffet to your heart’s content. (The price is based on the box’s weight.) If you don’t skimp, the takeout should last you a few days, easy.)

Franklin Square Deli

108 S. Water St.

The Franklin Square Deli had its 30th birthday in April, and the shoprunners say they have always prided themselves on crafting made-to-order sandwiches. (We recommend the Reuben.) The deli is nicely situated on the corner of Water and Main Streets downtown, offering a scenic lunch or dinner from the sidewalk tables. Six-inch sandwiches run at roughly $5.

Main Street Continental Grill

911 E. Main St.

Right in the thick of Main Street, Continental Grill is a good spot to grab a quick lunch or hummus to go. The restaurant’s flagship sell is its meaty Mediterranean cuisine — the chicken shawarma and kafta kabobs are two favorites — but it also has vegetarian options, like falafel, and Americanized choices for kids. Try the cheese fries or mishwi salad if you’re not up to tabouli.


195 S. Erie St.

Laziza is Continental Grill’s fancier cousin. The two restaurants are owned by the same husband-and-wife duo — born in Palestine and Lebanon, respectively. Last spring, readers voted Laziza the ideal spot for vegetarian eating in Kent. If you’re more green-friendly, we suggest the baba ghanoush, vegetarian dawali or kabsa vegetarian — a tomato-based stew infused with Mediterranean spices. Keep in mind that the two-floor eatery employs a sit-down experience, as opposed to Continental Grill’s more on-the-go atmosphere.

Taco Tonto’s

123 Franklin Ave.

Taco Tonto’s isn’t your typical grab-and-go Tex-Mex. The downtown shop will cook you up baked burritos, crunchy tacos and quesadillas with hometown love. The sweet-potato burrito — paired with a chilled beer — is a must for Tonto’s newcomers. Unfortunately, the dining room is often cramped, but the eatery is planning an expansion into the Venice Cafe, which is a few doors down. Bonus: Vegetarian and vegan options are available for many menu items.

Tree City Coffee & Pastry

135 E. Erie St.

Tree City Coffee was born in Kent — also known as the “Tree City” — and has all the features of a locally owned shop. Homemade jams and unique coffee creations like the Oregon Chai Tea Latte. There’s a fireplace-adorned interior for long study sessions and a drive-through for quicker, pants-optional getaways. There’s also free Wi-Fi and a selection of wine to unwind your caffeine jitters.

Wild Goats Cafe

319 W. Main St.

Expect a long wait on weekend mornings — Wild Goats Cafe is Kent’s go-to breakfast joint. A paltry $4 will score you the restaurant’s famous giant cinnamon roll. (Bring a friend.) Some other menu highlights include the “Somethin’ Somethin’” — homemade granola, peanut butter and blueberries sandwiched between buttermilk pancakes — and the smoked-gouda omelette. Word of advice: try the cheesy grits, or live forever in regret. If you aren’t an early riser, Wild Goats offers lunch and dinner options, too.

Scribbles Coffee Company

237 N. Water St.

Want to curl up with a good book while sipping on Ohio-roasted, fair-trade coffee? Scribbles Coffee Company (an independent, family-owned shop) offers the coffee and space to do just that. The back room is less of a coffee shop and more of a library, with plenty of chairs to lounge in and reading material to get lost in. Scribbles is a great place to unwind with your caffeine fix of choice. Plus, there’s always paper and crayons in case you want to — wait for it — scribble.


100 E. Erie St., Suite 130

Bar 145 opened in Kent just this year — a product of the downtown revitalization project — but it’s already proved to be a local favorite. The restaurant’s name comes from the “perfect temperature” at which to cook a burger. One of the more interesting menu items is the Apple Pie Burger, which is topped with spiced apples and cream cheese. The bar has a roundabout patio and outdoor bar areas where patrons can enjoy an array of drinks, including more than 30 different bourbons.

Mike’s Place

1700 S. Water St.

This restaurant is not near campus. It’s not downtown, either. But if you get lost, don’t worry — just look for the giant X-wing fighter (think “Star Wars”) parked out front. Inside, Mike’s Place is packed with memorabilia, knickknacks and movie props. If the Elvis Presley mannequin isn’t enough to draw you in, maybe the gigantic — and we do mean gigantic — menu selection will do the trick. From burgers to breakfast to old-style Italian cuisine, Mike’s has something for even the most-finicky eater.

The Brewhouse Pub and JB’s Concert Club

244 N. Water St.

Want to go out with your friends? Too young to drink? The Brewhouse Pub and its basement counterpart, JB’s, is open to anyone 18 and up and frequently hosts live DJs and bands. Brewhouse is known for its cheap drink options, such as the $1.99 McLovin’ Light beer pitcher. Weekends are the best time to go, but Thursday karaoke night is also a must-have college experience.

157 Lounge

157 S. Water St.

Kent’s 157 Lounge is an eye-catcher to many college students looking for a slice of nightlife. The bar, as the day forages on, transforms into a dance hall. If you’re hungry, 157 also serves sushi and desserts, like chocolate torte.


107 S. Depeyster St.

EuroGyro has a lot more to offer than its namesake. Yeah, there are gyros, but the fried-food joint is better known as a late-night bar with an array of cheap mixed drinks and pitchers. On “Wacky” Wednesday, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a cheaper, better-tasting pizza. (It’s just $5.50 for a large, one-topping pie.) If you have a taste for adventure, try the fried ravioli ($2.75 — a steal) with gyro sauce on the side. Trust us on this one.

Water Street Tavern

132 S. Water St.

Water Street opened its doors about a decade ago, but the downtown bar is easily one of Kent’s most popular drinking locales. Every Tuesday is “Ladies’ Night,” which includes $1 drink specials, and Friday nights feature $2 beverages until 9 p.m. If the weather’s fine, step out on the rooftop patio, or you could stay in and grab a bite at Cajun Dave’s. There’s even a basement level if you’re so inclined.

Ray’s Place

135 Franklin Ave.

Perhaps the definitive local favorite, Ray’s is nestled in the heart of downtown just east of the Cuyahoga River. Its Mo-Fo Burger — a bacon double-cheeseburger with sautéed mushrooms and the works — was even recognized in 2011 as a hometown favorite by the Food Network. Plus, this family-friendly restaurant moonlights as a bustling bar, which readers voted the best in Kent last spring. Be sure to stop by between 4 and 9 p.m. for happy hour: Ray’s has 60-some beers on tap and dozens more bottled beers.

Zephyr Pub

106 W. Main St.

Commonly known as Kent’s “hipster” bar, the Zephyr Pub is more than the sum of its plaid parts. In reality, no one type of crowd can be found in the Zephyr — think of it as Kent’s melting pot. What sets this bar apart is its three-story patio. Most important, however, is its late-night access to Taco Tonto’s. No need to leave the patio to land some chips and guac — just drop by the carry-out window.