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Published: Tuesday, 1/16/2001

National guides are spotlighting Ohio, Michigan

Vacation and dining guides for those destination dinners or unforgetable getaways make great reading. And there is something for every price range.

The Mobil Travel Guide announced the 2001 four and five-star winners last week. Only 42 North American lodgings and restaurants have achieved the coveted five stars.

For Ohioans, the only five-star restaurant is Maisonette in Cincinnati. Four-star lodgings are the Ritz-Carlton in Cleveland and the Cincinnatian Hotel in Cincinnati. The only Mobil four-star restaurant is L'auberge in Dayton.

Mobil four-star lodgings in Michigan are the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel in Grand Rapids; the Ritz-Carlton in Dearborn, and the Townsend Hotel in Birmingham. Mobil four-star restaurants are the Lark in Bloomfield Hills, Tapawingo in Ellsworth, and Tribute in Farmington Hills.

Among the five-star winners, the Broadmoor Resort in Colorado Springs, Colo., has been on the Mobil Travel Guide resort listing for 41 consecutive years, and the Maisonette in Cincinnati has been on the restaurant list for 37 years.

New to the prestigious top tier is the Jefferson Hotel in Richmond, Va., which has been considered one of the grandest hotels in the United States since 1895. With shorter histories, the new Las Vegas restaurants - Picasso in the Bellagio resort, and Renoir, located in the Mirage - have made the list two years in a row.

Zagat has released six new guides easy enough to pop into your suitcase. Since September, 2001 Chicago Restaurants, 2001 Zagat Paris Restaurants, 2001 San Francisco Bay Area Restaurants, 2001 America's Top Restaurants, and 2001 Top U.S. Hotels, Resorts and Spas have been in bookstores. This week, 2001 Orlando Restaurants was released.

America's Top Restaurants includes 1,279 restaurants in 44 major U.S. cities and regions. While Picasso and Renoir in Las Vegas were included in the Zagat guide, they were unrated. Ditto for many of the other new locations, such as Royal Star and Star Canyon, both in the Venetian resort. Restaurants in Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati are included, but Detroit is not.

The resort guide includes 800 of America's best lodgings with five of the top 10 resorts in Hawaii.

The Zagat restaurant survey is based on the opinions of large numbers of volunteer local restaurant-goers across the country; the travel guide comes from reviews by 20,000 frequent travelers, including 900 industry professionals. The Mobil Travel Guide evaluates lodgings and restaurants with an independent network of national culinary and hospitality experts.

Closer to home, the January issue of Ohio Magazine includes Toledo's trendy downtown eatery, Diva, at 329 North Huron St., with a color photo of its oven-roasted spaghetti squash salad.

The Deli at Claudia's Health Food Store 3344 Secor Rd., also was in the Ohio magazine list of great places to lighten up your eating habits. And the Kerr House at 17777 Beaver St. in Grand Rapids, Ohio, is also highlighted in the list of spas.

There is a wide variety of dining and lodging facilities available in Northwest Ohio. Getting recognition beyond our borders is not only good for them, it is also helpful to tourists who come to town.

So Toledo, roll out the welcome mat and polish up the place settings. Consumers will take note!

Kathie Smith is The Blade's food editor. E-mail her at food@theblade.com.



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