Located in a mostly residential neighborhood on the Near East Side, the Dakota (which opened in the spring of 2018) is still a bit of an in-the-know venue, where owner Kent Oliver offers not only good food but also a community meeting place. Try this: The Pork Queso is a cream cheese version that’s about as addictive as any queso can be. A cornmeal “loaf” layered with bacon, lettuce, tomato, and a sun-dried-tomato mayo proves the “sammich” creds, while the wedge salad here set us off in a city-wide search for the best—so far the Dakota wins hands down with its bacon, tomatoes, fried shallots, and house ranch with blue cheese crumbles. Pro tip: Live music on weekends and a spacious patio add to the icehouse vibe.
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The Dakota East Side Ice House
Great food and a welcoming community vibe.