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Holiday Dining DECEMBER 2012

& Hotel Guide

A Special Publication of the I75 Newspaper Group Sidney Daily News • Troy Daily News • Piqua Daily Call

Avoid the hustle and bustle... Plan wisely when traveling during the holidays

Planning to visit Grandma's for Thanksgiving or spend Christmas in Paris? Traveling over the holidays can be notoriously busy, expensive and stressful, but the news isn't all bad. There are still deals to be found, provided you shop carefully and plan ahead. Check out our 10 tips for holiday travel and find some joy this holiday season.

Avoid peak travel dates. At Thanksgiving, Wednesday is the critical outbound "avoid" day as a rule. Traveling on Thanksgiving day proper is often a breeze and more affordable; there are often cut-rate airfare deals on Thanksgiving day. On the return, Friday morning isn't bad at all, with each successive day getting a little busier, more difficult and more expensive through Sunday evening. The bottom line: If you are looking for a deal, you won't find one on the peak travel days. Travel off-peak whenever possible. Christmas and New Year's Day fall on Tuesdays this year, so the weekend of December 22 - 23 as well as the day after each holiday could be quite busy.

Book early. Haven't booked your holiday travel yet? It's time to stop waiting and start booking. Fares are only rising as Thanksgiving approaches, so those who hold out in hopes of a late-breaking sale are likely to get left out in the cold or pay a very steep price for their procrastination. The same goes for the Christmas holiday; book sooner rather than later, particularly if you require very specific travel dates or times. With the current state of the airline industry, it is never too early to book your holiday travel flights. Be prepared to be flexible with dates and flight times.

Holiday Travel Ideas and Advice Shop around. Whether you're using booking sites like Travelocity, bid or auction sites such as Priceline, aggregator sites, or our very own travel deals, comparison shopping has never been easier than it is right now. During peak travel season, casting the net as wide as possible will help you understand all of your options. For many travelers, price isn't the only or even the most important factor, especially during the holidays. Thoughtful, deliberate use of the "search adjacent days or airports" features found on many Web sites may also surrender greatly improved fares and travel times. For more help, see our Tips for Finding Cheap Airfare. Having trouble finding a hotel? Don't miss No Vacancy? No Problem.

Know your airports. Checking alternate airports is a pretty standard tactic, but at this time of year it can really make a difference. At no time can the alternate airport gambit pay off better than during the holiday crush. You can score on almost every front -- parking,

rental cars, traffic to and from, nearby hotels -- and save both time and money. For example, a recent flight to Hanscom airport outside Boston dropped me right into Thoreau and Minuteman country near the peak foliage season, offering a very different experience than flying into Logan. Upon my return, the car rental agent informed me that my flight might be running late and let me hold onto the car keys until we were sure that the flight would take off, with no additional fee. Only at a small airport can you get that kind of treatment. Also, keep in mind that smaller airports see fewer flights and, typically, fewer delays -- not a minor consideration during the busy holiday travel season.

Choosing an Airport: Reasons to Look Beyond Price Plot connections carefully. When booking flights, check your search results carefully for sufficient time during layovers, and build in some time for flight delays and weather woes. Particularly during the winter months, peak travel times often bring peak travel delays, and your connection is more likely to be jeopardized. Avoiding really tight connections may save you a sprint through the terminal or a missed flight. Also, it is best if you can muscle your flight path into position so that connections are in places less likely to experience delays -- specifically, airports in warmer climates. For more advice, see our Winter Travel Tips.

Leave early. During peak travel times, much of the trouble you'll face lies on this side of the security check-in, from traffic jams and full parking lots to absent shuttles and long lines. Rather than

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See travel tips/page 3

Travel tips

continued from page 2

striving to "arrive at the airport early," you may want to try to "leave for the airport early" to anticipate all the peripheral delays you may encounter.

Pack wisely.


In the past, you may have been able to fit everything into your carry-on without having to check any baggage -- a strategy we still recommend. However, the TSA rules about liquids and gels make this a trickier proposition. For the record, you may bring liquids and gels in 3.4-ounce or smaller containers, packed within a single, quart-size, zip-top, clear plastic bag. You're also allowed to bring any liquids (such as coffee or water) or gels purchased after you go through a security checkpoint onto your plane with you. If you want to bring more than the 3.4-ounce amount, you'll have to pack the items in your checked luggage.

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Dining out with the family... In today's fast paced world, the life of a working parent can be hectic. Between work, school, after-school activities for the kids and more, there is very little time to prepare a home cooked meal and dine with the family at home. That is why it is no surprise to see families dining out at restaurants more frequently. While dining out at restaurants can save time, it isn't so easy on the household budget. Dining out doesn't have to be expensive. Saving money on restaurant dining is easy if you know where to cut corners.

on a budget

Set a Clear Limit for Each Family Member Prior to going to the restaurant, set a limit as to how much each person can spend on his or her meal, and make sure your family sticks to the budget. By setting a strict limit, indicating how much each person can spend at the restaurant, you are sending a clear message that the family needs to watch how much they spend when ordering.

Skip the Appetizers Another way to keep your total down is to skip the appetizers. Many restaurants now give super-sized entrée portions, so there is no need to fill up before the main course. Appetizers are just going to fill you up before dinner, and then you won't be that hungry when the main course arrives. Opt against ordering appetizers and your final bill will be significantly lower.

Mailing List and Coupons Can Save Money If there is a particular restaurant your family enjoys, ask to be put on its mailing list. Often, restaurants will mail out updated menus and coupons, and let you know when they are having specials. Additionally, if you visit the restaurant's website, you can obtain much of this same information as well. Print out coupons to use towards your next visit and keep an eye out for special deals being offered.

Take Portion Sizes into Consideration When dining out, take portion sizes into consideration. Some entrées are big enough to share. If several members of your family want the same dish, it may be feasible to

share dishes. Rather than have everyone take home a big container of leftovers, share an entrée. Everyone will be well fed, you won't have to lug home leftover food and your bill will be 50% less.

Skip the Alcoholic Beverages One item in particular that can drive up a restaurant bill is alcoholic beverages. Mixed drinks, wine and beer can be very pricey at restaurants. Instead of indulging at the restaurant, drive home safely and enjoy a drink at home.

Have Dessert at Home As you are reaching the end of your meal, your wellmeaning waitress approaches you and asks, "Can I get you anything else? Cake? Pie?" Rather than taking her up on her offer, nix the dessert at the diner and enjoy a treat at home. Both your wallet and your waistline will thank you.

The Bottom Line Dining out doesn't have to sabotage your budget. Saving money while dining out is easy, once you know where to cut corners. Sometimes, it just takes a little creativity (and a little cooperation from the family) to save money on your final bill at the restaurant. Rather than splurging every time you go to the restaurant, take measures to cut spending and stay within your budget.

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I75 Newspapers • Restaurant and Hotel Guide • Page 5

Tips for choosing a restaurant... The holidays are a great time to get together with co-workers, away from the office, to decompress, eat, drink, and have fun. It is a wonderful time of year to celebrate your company’s progress in meeting goals, acknowledge employee loyalty, and reinforce company values. We suggest that before you choose a restaurant for a holiday party that you pull together a party planning committee or group to ensure that you have considered all of the following: (1) Make sure that the restaurant has a private function room and has dedicated staff for your party (2) Find out if the restaurant has some package deals on food for group functions. Tony’s Place and many other restaurants can create a special menu that will include a wide selection of food items such as appetizers, entrees, beverage, dessert, and sometimes tax and tip. Decide on what you will provide for party attendees (3) Ensure that the restaurant has a good selection of meat and non-meat dishes, and offer these in your food choices so that everyone can enjoy a meal. Find out if the restaurant is able to customize meals for those with special diets (4) Decide if you are inviting spouses, and/or guests to the party, and get a count of your group in advance to give it to the restaurant. Typically, the more people you have joining you the lower the cost per person (5) Decide if alcohol will be available, and then discuss the

for your holiday party options and costs of each option with the restaurant. Find out if the restaurant allows you to bring your own alcohol to the restaurant, and if there are any associated charges (6) Decide if you will provide any entertainment as this will need to be considered in the choosing of the space and budget of the event (7) Location is important. Find out if the facility is accessible to those with disabilities, and if they have ample parking and restrooms (8) Make reservations for your party as far in advance as you can, and broadcast the date to staff as soon as possible. It helps to add a couple people to your count as it is easier to take away chairs than to add them if it is a busy day. By doing a little pre-planning and considering all of these above factors you can insure that your holiday party gets the maximum attendance and is enjoyed by all.

Stop in and see us! Corner of Court & Ohio

492-9181 Hours: M-Sat 7am-9pm, Sun 8am-9pm

“A Sidney Tradition Since 1907”


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May the coming year bring only good news to your doorstep. We’re proud to serve this fine community and we thank you sincerely for your readership and endless support. With glad tidings to you and your kin this holiday season from our entire staff.


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The top eight creative ways to wrap your Dreading holiday shopping? Tap your inner arts-and-crafts mentality to dress up a plain old gift card to give a gift that almost everyone wants and needs, but with a personal touch. Gifting gurus -- including nationally recognized lifestyle, holiday entertaining and gift giving expert Debi Lilly, owner of A Perfect Event in Chicago -- agree that gift card wrapping and presentation make all the difference in whether a gift card is perceived as a hasty, "cold" present, or a thoughtful, unique gift chosen specifically for the recipient. Lilly, who was a regular on "The Oprah Winfrey Show," tells consumers to put some thought into the whole gift -- both specific type of gift card and wrapping -- before making any purchases. "Always, always, always, try to make the wrap tie to the gift card. Have it be something personal that kind of reflects the person you're shopping for -- their personality, their hobby, their style, that kind of thing -- and then that same trick applies to the wrapping," says Lilly. Still feel stuck? Check out our top 10 creative gift card wrapping solutions for 2011 here: 1. Cash in with a Card Cache. The Card Cache, a unique gadget that allows the recipient to keep all her gift cards on a single card ring (much like a key ring) adds fun and organiza-

tion to shopping with gift cards. Buy a couple of gift cards, punch holes in the corners of them, and add them onto the gift cache. Add a couple of charms to the mix for an extra few bucks, and you have a useful, valuable, and fun gift. ($13) 2. Think outside the wallet. What better way to give a wallet than including some dough -- in the form of a gift card -inside it? This is not your granddad's boring leather billfold. Instead, the cool, funky Jimi Wallet, "the wallet for people who hate wallets," comes in a variety of colors and styles and is the perfect size for gift cards. Best of all, it's made in the U.S.A. from recycled and recyclable materials. 3. Create your own GC-a-Month Club. Who among us hasn't felt the post-holiday blues? Come Feb. 1, the decorations are down, the weather is bleak, and unless you're a groundhog, there's no reason for celebration. But wait -- what if you gave your loved one a present that would continue giving throughout the year? Even for us creatively challenged folks, this one's a breeze. First, find a calendar (one with pockets works best, but isn't necessary) that suits your recipient. Next, purchase 12 gift cards -- in whatever increments you choose -- and attach one to each month. Vary the selection by month: for July, a Cold Stone gift card means a cool treat on a hot summer night,

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holiday gift cards while hectic December is the perfect time for a massage gift card. This truly is the gift that keeps on giving throughout the year. 4. Let them eat cake. Let's face it: The holidays mean yummy food and lots of it. It's the one time of year that most people give in to the craving for rich foods and delectable desserts. So why not attach a gift card to their Hanukkah Sweets Gift Box, or a box of Hand-Dipped Chocolate Pears. Adults and kids alike will love Popcorn Cones in flavors ranging from Cinnamon Toast to Cupcake and Rocky Road. It's no wonder that Popcornopolis has been dubbed "the Prada of Popcorn." 5. Go faux. Dad might think he's the only prankster in the family, but you're about to show him how it's done. Just wait till Dad opens the Musical Tie of the Month or the Bacon Tuxedo and watch his smile falter as he tries to pretend it's just what he's always wanted. Only after he oohs and ahhs over this whoopee cushion of gifts should you allow him to open the box to see his real present: a gift card to his favorite golf store. 6. Make your mother proud. Mother Earth, that is. Present your gift card in a reduce-reuse-recycle manner that

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fits your recipient's style. For your gardening grandma, a gift card to the local nursery enclosed in a plantable card or for your antiquing aunt, a beautiful vintage glass jar filled with old-fashioned candy, wrapped with wide silk ribbon, with gift card tucked inside the lid. 7. Book 'em. In our book, you can't go wrong by matching the perfect gift card with justthe-right book. Get your college-aged daughter a gift card to local fast food restaurants near her college and tuck it inside U Chic: The College Girl's Guide to Everything. 8. Think outside the box. When buying a dining gift card, look around for great packaging ideas in the restaurant. When Minneapolis resident Mickey Mikeworth purchased a gift card at Davanni's, a local pizza place, the restaurant provided him with a mini pizza box -- to which Mikeworth added the restaurant's menu and delivery information -- and viola! A gift truly ready to go.

How to make the most... Picture the scenario: You have been invited to yet another holiday occasion, office party, or social get-together and you find yourself standing in a room full of strangers. Now what do you do? A) Stock up on food and find someplace comfortable to hide. B) Hang out by the bar and wait for someone to approach you. C) Escape as you see an opportunity. Answer: None of the above. Learn to be a skilled eco small talker! If you have read self-help books or have attempted to learn helpful tips on mastering party mingles, you may already know that ‘awareness’ is one of the common suggestions. Authors of this advice suggest reading up on local news and events to stimulate and engage in party conversation. As a sustainability consultant, I agree and suggest focusing your efforts to expand your eco awareness. At this year’s Christmas or New Year’s holiday party, take the opportunity to engage others in sustainability conversation. Spice up the discussion with some personal topics of eco awareness. Any one of the typical party conversations can be an entry point towards an exploration of sustainability concepts. I Want to talk about the weather? Grow that typical conversation about local weather patterns into an expanding discussion about climate change. Take the lead and solicit opinions about global warming, pollution, emissions, or a host of

of holiday mingling other environmental issues and opportunities related to the weather. I Want to talk about work? Turn that uninspiring workplace problem into an exploration of business sustainability solutions. Leverage those issues into a discussion of business innovation, operational efficiencies, or exciting new technologies. I Want to talk about family and children? Explore conversations about green living, eco travel, or fun green activities for the kids. I Want to talk about projects around the house? There is a number of topics to choose from, either though personal experience or thoughts of doing in the future. As a starter, energy efficiency is always a conversation starter for home improvement projects and appliance upgrades. Have fun with it, see where the conversation goes, and applaud yourself for mingling sustainably and sharing eco awareness with others!

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Make your holiday plans with us. Group seating to 75! The gift of La Piazza is perfect for everyone on your list! (La Piazza gift cards are not valid at our New Bremen location).

From the entire La Piazza team...


Happy Holidays! 937-339-5553

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How to eat healthy... It's one of the most common questions asked by people with diabetes, and no wonder: from Thanksgiving to Passover to Kwanzaa, holidays are all about the food. And not just any food, but the types of rich celebration foods we look forward to all year long. For the most part, forgoing those foods isn't an option, since they're such a part of who we are. How to do it wisely? Lighten up. Recreate a traditional recipe to fit into your eating plan, while still preserving the goodness that makes it so treasured. That green bean casserole with fried onions, say, might be just as wonderful, or even better, with roasted caramelized onions instead. Choose and cull. While some holiday foods are essential, you might feel less strongly about others. Why not pare those foods from the menu (or leave them off your plate)? That gives you more leeway to enjoy your "must-haves." Plan ahead. If you're going to a holiday party or restaurant, find out what's on the menu ahead of time, and decide on what you're going to eat. That way you can adjust the rest of your day's eating, activity and medication schedules accordingly. Bring your own. If you're going to an event where you know the foods served will be a challenge for you, offer to

during the holidays bring along your own dish to share. Consider a vegetablebased dish that contains little or no carbohydrate, so you can enjoy it freely. If you'll be staying over for the holidays, bring breakfast and lunch items to help you start your days on the right track. Navigate the buffet table. Inspect the offerings first before loading up your plate (choosing a smaller, cocktail-size plate, if possible). Make your first trip for vegetables and salad, then go back for smaller portions of richer fare. Have a drink if you want, but wait until after the meal. You'll have something in your stomach to blunt the effects of the alcohol. Before and with the meal, sip sparkling water?with lots of lemon and lime wedges to make it festive. Focus on the fun, not the feast. Spend more time in conversation and enjoying the entertainment rather than worrying about what's on your plate. After all, isn't that why you're at the party?

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I75 Newspapers • Restaurant and Hotel Guide • Page 11


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Making the most of booking your... Accommodation is a concern of every traveler, whether looking for a place to pitch a tent or a luxury suite in a fancy resort. Booking accommodation, dealing with the vast array of accommodation options, and considering alternative lodging options are all issues that travelers face. Finding accommodation can be one of the most frustrating aspects of planning your travels. There are two ways to solve the accommodation problem: booking in advance or finding a place on the day.

holiday accommodations

Booking in advance Booking in advance gives the traveller peace of mind that they will have somewhere to sleep once they arrive at their destination. It is also a good idea when travelling to a popular tourist destination. This can be done in a number of ways: I Over the internet I Through a travel agent I Over the telephone However, hotel managers have to fill beds so it's not uncommon for travellers having booked a room, particularly at the lower end of the cost scale, to arrive to find that it has been resold.

ing a "Contact us" form or sending an email are equal choices for inquiring every detail you need. While online is increasingly becoming the most common way of booking accommodations (sometimes the only way), unfortunately the downside is that a credit card is required to process the reservation so you will be out of luck if you don't have one (sometimes getting a debit or prepaid VISA/Mastercard may work). Moreover, you will need to check the rate being offered if payment is needed immediately or upon arrival/departure. Discounted rates would usually require that payment be made immediately but regular rates will allow you to pay upon arrival or check-out at the property. In the case of the latter, you do not need to settle payment with the same credit card used for reserving; in fact you can pay using cash. However you may still be required to present the credit card used during booking (especially for pre-paid/advance purchase bookings) to verify your identity so bring that with you. See accommodations/page 13

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Online You can book accommodation online, either at hotel's own web site or at web site of an agency. Depending upon where you are going, this can be extremely useful. Yet if you are traveling to somewhere a bit more out of the way, for example, a small city or town, you may find something, but there will be accommodation options not listed on the internet. In this situation, it is better to find accommodation "on the day", as described below. Meta-search (price comparison) websites are very useful. They offer an online service which searches and compares numerous accommodation websites at once to return the cheapest price across them all. This saves time as they do the searching and comparison for you. Another frequent situation is that hotel has its own web site, but doesn't publish which dates it can it is not busy. Then fill-


Exit 90, I-75, Sidne y


I75 Newspapers • Restaurant and Hotel Guide • Page 12

Accommodations Email

For booking by email, the sequence of events is roughly the same, with some steps omitted when not applicable: first, ask whether your dates are available; ask for up-to-date prices inquire on your preferred rooms and other essential details ask to reserve for your dates; provide all personal details (passport details of every visitor etc.) they may need to issue the confirmation. In the end, ask for cancellation policy, directions to the hotel and other practical details that don't affect your decision to stay there. When you use non-native language for writing to a hotel, it's best to ask one or two questions per email, asking all questions at once frequently results in huge delays that can be broken only by a telephone call. Avoid from giving sensitive financial information such as credit card details through email. Use the website's booking engine for that instead.

Travel agent Travel agents often have deals with specific hotels, although you may find it possible to book other forms of accommodation, like camping grounds, through a travel agent. Travel agents usually offer packages that include breakfast, transportation arrangements to/from the airport or even combined flight and hotel packages. They can also hold the reservation for you if you need time to think about the offer or procure other documents for your destination (e.g. visa). Any amendments or requests though should be coursed through the travel agent first and not directly with the hotel.

make reservations through a travel agent and your delay is caused by transportation also arranged by that travel agent.

On the day If you have planned your trip yourself, which means you have not decided to use a package from a travel agent, sometimes finding accommodation when you arrive is the best option. If you have not made reservations in advance, this should be your first priority upon arriving. The best and/or cheapest hotels have a tendency to fill up most quickly, and looking for a place to sleep as darkness falls can be an anxious - and even dangerous - experience. It is sometimes frustrating to be reading a guidebook and looking for the listed recommendations trying to decipher an unfamiliar map having just travelled for several hours. Walk around and inquire at the first few places you see. Courage and confidence are required for this type of thing, especially if you are not using your native languages. However, it is sometimes easier to do this rather than tracking down listings, especially for the first night.

Telephone Consumers often find the best lodging rates by calling travel suppliers directly. Contacting the specific property, rather than the chain's main toll-free telephone line, provides the best opportunity to negotiate discounts and ask about specials (advertised and unadvertised). In the U.S., hotel and lodging listings can be found for free either by name or category via 1-800-Free411.

The northern Miami Valley's Premier Independent Dining Destination! Located in the heart of beautiful downtown New Bremen, Ohio.

Make your holiday plans with us! Group seating to 50.

Cancelling a reservation

La Piazza New Bremen gift cards are perfect for everyone on your list! (New Bremen gift cards are not valid at our Troy location)

From the entire New Bremen team...

Happy Holidays! 2342641

You might have to change or cancel a reservation. For example if your plane/train/bus is delayed or cancelled and you therefore arrive a day later. Depending on how you booked the accommodation, you may be able to contact the hotel or pension directly by phone or internet to make the necessary change/cancellation. If it was booked through a travel agent or consolidator, you may need to go through them. Pay attention to the cancellation policy when you make the reservation. Most hotels will require a credit card number to guarantee the room. They will usually charge you for one night if you cancel less than 24 hours before arrival. In some popular tourist destinations such as Hawaii or Las Vegas, this minimum notice may be as long as 72 hours, or you may be charged for the entire stay. This can happen even when you

continued from page 12 419-629-3800

I75 Newspapers • Restaurant and Hotel Guide • Page 13

How to practice etiquette Staying at a hotel is an opportunity to relax and enjoy yourself in a place other than home. While you may want to make yourself at home, it's important to practice proper etiquette. The extent of your manners cannot only have an effect on your stay, but can also affect the employees at the hotel. There are ways to make sure you are a wonderful guest who will be welcomed back any time. 1. Throw out your own trash. When you eat or even open toiletries, throw whatever you don't want into the garbage can. While the housekeeping staff will come into the room to tidy things up, you can still clean up after yourself. 2. Be kind to the hotel employees and say "please" and "thank you." Whether you are staying one night or several, you should be polite and genuinely nice to those who work at the hotel--not only just for the sake of doing it, but also because you may be treated better. The employees may be more willing to be extra accommodating to you if they know they're helping someone who is respectful and pleasant.

as a hotel guest 3. Give adequate tips to the employees at the hotel. People you should tip include the bellboy, room service and the valet. Pay them what they deserve and thank them for their service.Tipping cheaply may result in mediocre service for the rest of your stay at the hotel, as not many people want to make a massive effort for very little money. 4. Sort your own dirty clothes from the hotel's dirty linens and towels. Housekeeping shouldn't have to sort through your dirty underwear and shirts to get to the towels and pillowcases they need to take to be laundered. When you finish using the towels and linens, put them in a single pile so they are easily accessible, and put your dirty laundry elsewhere. 5. Avoid being demanding. Whether you are calling for extra pillows or ordering room service, give them enough time to fulfill your request. While you may want things done sooner rather than later, there are other people staying at the hotel, and some of them are making the same requests you are.

Happy Holidays!


We hope the holidays deliver an abundance of joy to you and yours, just as you’ve brought to us this past year.




Monday-Friday 6:00 am - 9:00 pm Saturday 6:00 am - 7:00 pm

117 E. Main St., TROY


I75 Newspapers • Restaurant and Hotel Guide • Page 14


SDN 498-8088 / TDN 335-5634 / PDC 773-2721 I75 Newspapers • Restaurant and Hotel Guide • Page 15

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Troy • 339-2100

Piqua • 778-2100

Restaurant and Hotel Guide 2012  

I-75 Newspapers Restaurant and Hotel Guide 2012