We all do this whether we are single, dating someone, or married with kids. It doesn’t matter how many people are a part of the equation, it seems to always be one of the hardest decisions to make—where to eat. We’ve all heard the banter, “I want Mexican, no, I want Chinese…well, you picked last week, it’s my turn” — you know how it goes. Even for Spade and I, we take what seems like an endless amount of time deciding where to spend our precious moments (eating) together. Normally my job is to give you all the details on the best places to end your hunger pangs. Today is different. This is not so much of where to go, but a simplification of how to decide. I’ve put together an easy exercise to go through when trying to make this decision and have linked some of our past posts/reviews for all of our newer followers (or if you just need a refresher!) Hopefully this helps all of you indecisive foodie friends out there!
One of the questions you must ask yourself or your party before finally making that desperate decision: how much time do we have for this occasion? This can make a huge difference on where to feast. Sometimes this is an easy thought between lunch break and dinner with friends. Or maybe you only have so much time before Susie’s soccer game. Maybe you’re in a bit of a hurry, but want to avoid that drive-thru at all cost. (Side note—keep in mind the drive-thru can be a lengthy process depending on what time of day it is.) Fast-casual restaurants are great choices for quick, hearty meals. Places like Cockeye BBQ in Warren or Ely’s To Go in Boardman are great choices for a quick bite. Say you have a bit more time on your hands. Nova Coffee in Warren is a great place for a late afternoon lunch or espresso (or both!) Check out The Kitchen Post in Youngstown for a dreamy, delicious date night option. (P.S.—for a full length expose on planning a date night check out the post I wrote a few months ago HERE.)
2. Party Size?
Another thought: how many people are in your party? Is it just time for yourself, or a party of two, or maybe a larger family gathering? Not every restaurant or café is made for every group. Spade and I found this out very recently. We had a birthday dinner for our daughter at a very packed, newer restaurant. This turned out to be a very anxious meal packed into a corner with ten of our family members. If you’re just looking to spend some time alone with a cup of coffee and a pastry try Branch Street Coffee Roasters in Boardman. If you’re thinking about a morning brunch with your significant other Libs Market in Salem has one of the best. With a bigger party, maybe try Pho Saigon in Boardman—lots of seating and super accommodating.
3. Kid Friendly?
Will this be an adult gathering or one for the whole family? Sometimes both can be accommodated. This is still something to filter through your decision-making process. Also, for Spade and I we always have the debate between craft beer or craft cocktails. With breweries popping up just about everywhere it appears the environment has now become much more family friendly. We enjoyed St. Patrick’s Day this year with a fresh-to-death pint of Birdfish beer while my daughter got her Irish jig on with the other youngins. Speaking of—if you’re looking for a craft beer day outing with some friends, check out the Stateline Brewers Guild. Pick up an ale trail map at any of the 14 local breweries serving up some of the best beer in the area. Another place that hits on all cylinders is Barrel33 in Howland. You can belly up for a night cap and listen to some smooth live jazz or grub out for a Sunday brunch with the fam.
4. Calorie Conscious or Indecent Indulgence?
There is always a time and season for all spectrum of food. Every wise foodie knows the benefits of eating healthy. Though at times it feels as though we must allow our desires to drive our consumption. We have all had those mornings when we woke up and knew it was time to detox. On mornings like this it’s time to head to a place like Orange Avocado You can get all the cold- pressed juices, boost shots, and smoothie bowls your body craves. Maybe even squeeze in a slice of vegan, raw cheesecake while you’re there. Also, Sweet Melissa’s makes a bangin’ salad for those wholesome, lunch-time cravings. On the other end, there’s those mornings we need our daily dose(s) of sugar. Bake Me Treats in Poland and Philadelphia Candies in Boardman can fill your fiendish needs. For all you carb lovers out there, don’t forget about the Hometown Favorites.
5. Special Occasion?
Some weekends are a time to veg out and relax while others are full of non-stop adventure. We all have those Friday nights where we just want to order a pizza, curl up, and watch some Netflix. Sometimes we just want to enjoy a night at home with friends and family. In which case you might want to check out our slowly, but ever-growing recipe list. On the other hand, as the weather brightens outdoor activities start to come in higher demand. A Saturday morning can be enjoyed walking through the Youngstown Flea and checking out all of the food trucks and local food vendors. A favorite outdoor event of ours from last year was Warren’s Oktoberfest where we enjoyed polka music, craft beer, and the TASTIEST brats. Additionally, Farmer’s markets can be a great weekend expedition where you can find awesome vendors like Whipped by Aubrey.
While this is not meant to be an exhaustive list, it can be a great tool when thinking through one of life’s toughest decisions. Here at Jimmy and Spade EAT, we want to encourage all our readers to eat local, but it’s not always that simple. We are here to guide you and help you with any foodie obstacles that you may encounter. We hope this helps on your next food-centric outing and also serves as an inspiration to maybe try something new!