Looking for place to dine out in Middletown?
Here are seven places that opened in the past year to try:
The modest, focused menu at Gracie’s, 1131 Central Ave., features Pork Belly Shrimp & Grits, Deviled Eggs and The (Charcuterie) Board among its starters, as well as Half Roasted Chicken, The Burger, a Berkshire Pork Chop, Seared Salmon, Crispy Skin Branzino (a sea bass) and Braised Short Rib Mac among its main dishes.
A massive blackboard highlights daily specials: meatloaf (Monday), pork shank (Tuesday), fried chicken (Wednesday), pasta night (Thursday), fresh catch (Friday) and steak night (Saturday).
There’s also a selection of wine, beer, top-shelf liquor and craft cocktails.
Blast Furnace Pizza
Blast Furnace Pizza, 1126 Central Ave., offers pizza, salads and desserts, as well as lunch specials, lunch delivery to area businesses, a large dining area and a downloadable Blast Furnace Pizza app to place orders.
The restaurant, whose name and decor pay tribute to the Middletown’s steel-making history, works with local nonprofit organizations to help with fundraising efforts, holding a “Community Caring, Community Sharing” fundraising night every Thursday night.
Bourbon’s Craft Kitchen & Bar
Bourbon’s Craft Kitchen & Bar, 2231 N. Verity Parkway, features “gourmet street food” such as steak burgers, broasted boneless wings, hot dogs and fresh guacamole. There’s also adventurous fare such as queso poutine fries, white cheddar mac ‘n’ cheese, an Asian brisket taco, gyro tacos and chicken and waffles.
Among the eight different hot dogs, is a “Grippo’s Dog” that comes in a Stout bun and is topped by Muenster cheese, bourbon-smoked hickory bacon, homemade cole slaw, a malt vinegar sauce and crushed Grippo’s potato chips.
There’s also “endless bourbon of all kinds” — 40, by our count — plus wine, craft beer and a full bar complete with craft cocktails. There are bourbon barrels in which the business is aging its own Old Fashioned concoction. Desserts include Belgium waffles and skillet cookies.
In the heart of downtown Middletown at 1300 Central Ave., The Slice is a full restaurant and bar. On the menu are pizza, chicken wings, Italian sausage hoagies, steak hoagies, chicken hoagies and salads, as well as appetizers like garlic knots, french bread pizza and cheese sticks.
Cooked in stone ovens, the pizza is available by the slice, not just by the pie. Specialty pizzas abound, including Pickle Pie, Chicken-Bacon-Ranch Pizza, Veggie Pizza, Buffalo Chicken Pizza and Barbecue Pizza.
Local beers are available for purchase, as well brews from other local, independent breweries.
Central Market & Deli
Central Market & Deli at 1218 Central Ave. in downtown Middletown carries Walnut Creek products with full deli, hot and cold sandwiches, pizza, breakfast sandwiches, salads and fruit cups, along with fresh produce shakes smoothies, just to name a few.
Party trays of deli meats and cheeses are available for special events, as well as party subs. The business also supports area entrepreneurs by selling their homemade desserts.
Central Market & Deli delivers anything the business carries to homes and businesses in Middletown, Trenton and Franklin.
Rapid Fired Pizza
Rapid Fired Pizza’s 4,000-square-foot location at 3583 Dixie Highway is one of the largest in the Kettering-based chain and includes seven 50-inch televisions and ample seating, along with a wide variety of local craft beer and domestic beers.
It features a dozen different sauces to create one’s own pizza. For those watching carbs or counting calories, Rapid Fired offers four craft salads starting at less than 400 calories. Custom salads may be created with one’s own choice of fresh toppings.
Hardee’s opens on South Breiel Boulevard in Middletown on Monday after an absence of more than a decade in the city.
The fast-food franchise offers Angus hamburgers, Mushroom Swiss burgers, biscuits made from scratch and chicken tenders that are breaded and battered at each store.
The previous Hardee’s in Middletown was on Towne Boulevard. In 2006, it was razed along with another restaurant for the Kroger Marketplace that opened in 2007.