13 years ago, after a long wait in Miami, and longer wait in Havana, I stepped out of the Jose Marti airport into the sweltering heat of Cuba in the summer. A friend was waiting for me with a cold Coca-Cola and pulled me around the crowd. I was the last of the team freed from the security detail and he had found our lunch. A little food stand on the curb serving sandwiches. The only item on the menu, roasted pork, and ham with cheese. The Cuban served with plantain chips and a can of the national cola, Tu Cola, for less than $2.00 American.
As a kid, I grew up on Chef Boyardee’s Lasagna. You know the kind. It came in a box with a can of sauce, powdered cheese, and lasagna noodles. It was fast, easy, and not terribly delicious. When my parents wanted real lasagna, we drove to Lebanon and ate at the Tavern. It was the best lasagna in town. It was a single serving in a metal pan, covered in tons of melted stringy cheese, bubbling with housemade sauce and it arrived with a mini loaf of french bread doused in garlic butter. My parents loved this place and I loved the lasagna.
Great lasagna isn’t far away. In Kettering, we have an abundance for every taste. While locals are divided between Jimmy’s Italian Kitchen on Woodman or Troni’s on Dorothy Lane, one thing is clear, the sauce is fresh and full of flavor. $8.99 gets you enough lasagna to demand an afternoon nap. Troni’s has a great salad and house dressing for their lunch special, Jimmy’s serves
soup alongside their lunch. Troni’s delivered with pasta that was cooking perfectly and sauce with spice. Order extra garlic knots. Jimmy’s sauce is chunkier, which I like, and the rolls are soft and buttery, but I wanted the garlic and didn’t get it.
I drove past Mamma Disalvo’s on the way to these two stops. The lasagna there is 100% Mama’s. The sauce is thicker, sweeter, and made
with love. Mama’s lasagna is like my grandmas. The ricotta is noticeable and the pasta is cooked perfectly and still has a bite to it. It is covered in mozzarella and baked off to perfection. $9.95 for lunch with salad and bread. Order extra bread, you don’t want to leave any of that sauce on the plate.
For folks up north you aren’t far from great layered pasta and cheese either. Folks know Giovanni’s in Fairborn for their pizza and subs. Skip the pizza, order the lasagna. Portions large enough to share, you won’t want to but
you could, and dinner prices make it so you can get the antipasto plate beforehand. Dinner is $13.00 with salad and housemade Italian bread.
Story Slamm Dayton is set to host it’s 8th Open Mic Storytelling event on Tuesday the 18th at Wiley’s Comedy Joint in the Oregon District. The Story Slamm hosts tellers from all walks of life and uses The Moth Storytelling format.
Stories told at Slamms are all told live and in the first person. Stories are personal, true and are told around each month’s theme. April’s theme is “Something Old, Something New”.
The public is welcome to attend and contribute a story. Storytellers are encouraged to prepare a 5- minute story relating to the theme and place their name in the hat. Tellers are drawn at random and the best story of the night, as voted on by judges selected from the audience, wins $50 and an invite to the Grandslamm event to be held on May 23!
Doors open at 6:30pm, $5 gets you in and stories start at 7:00pm. Cash bar and appetizer menu available.
DMM TICKET GIVEAWAY
If you’d like to be DMM’s guest at this show just leave a comment below about why you we should pick you and we’ll select 2 winners to be added to our guest list for a pair of tickets each.
A year ago I would have told you that I don’t even like Reubens or Melts at all. Generally I do not like rye bread. I have never ordered corned-beef on purpose and swiss cheese ranks nearly last on my list of preferred cheeses. However, a year ago, without reason I ordered the Reuben over lunch. It wasn’t bad. Since that day I’ve been searching for Dayton’s best!
During this time I’ve come to love this sandwich and this is where you can find the best of the best.
The Reuben is a melt by definition and a modern deli staple. Having worked in a deli in college I was no stranger to the sandwich but it seemed to be stacked against my preferred taste. The Rye, Russian/Thousand Island dressing, corned beef and kraut all work together, each ingredient made better as part of the whole.
Before I give you my list, let me tell you where not to stop. Stay clear of the chain delis. I have been to both Schlotsky’s and Subway as a point of comparison. There are too many great restaurants in Dayton creating these works of art from scratch to settle for a $4.99 fast food version. Do yourself a favor and hit one of these spots I’ve visited for you.
6) Archer’s Tavern in Kettering and Centerville does it all. I love their wings, my kids love the burgers, but their Reuben deserves some consideration. Nicely sliced corned beef, generous sauerkraut and lots of cheese made theirs a real contender. Their sauce wasn’t anything to write home about, but it was grilled perfectly making the sliced Rye a bit crunchy the way I like. Get the fries. They are double fried, fresh cut, a nice addition to this sandwich. The grilled Reuben and fries are just a bit over $8.00.
5) The most expensive on my list and with the best dressing is Christopher’s in Kettering. Christopher’s is often overlooked on Dayton food lists and their Reuben stands out like the restaurant itself. They start with great Rye bread toasted perfectly, with a homemade dressing and plenty of kraut atop of the sliced corned beef. I asked for extra dressing for my chips and that was no mistake. Go ahead and get the half sandwich. The full size was 3 napkins big and I needed a nap back at work 2 hours later. The half sandwich is plenty and easier on the wallet. The half is $5.95, whole sandwich is $9.95 and stick with chips and extra dressing for dipping.
4) Zinks Meats and Fine Wine in Centerville makes their own Corned Beef and slices it in house. They cook the sliced beef and cheese on the flattop before assembling the sandwich. A thick toasted marble rye held the 1/3 pound of beef and supported the saurekraut well. No complaints. Zinks had the right amount of dressing and the cheese melted a got that nice cheese crust on the edges, giving the sandwich additional texture. The meat didn’t fall apart and came with full flavor and chew. With chips and pickle, you are in for $8.99. Knowing that beef and dressing is made in house, makes it worth the price.
3) The Dublin Pub. The Irish know corned beef and Dub Pub delivers a couple of versions of the Reuben. I stick with the original with extra dressing for my fries. The Dub Pub has more of a shaved slice to their beef which ensures every bite is easy and tender. The Pub offers an Uptown version of their Reuben that adds cole slaw and pastrami to an already hearty sandwich. At 8.99 with fries, this Reuben is a great lunch, grab a Guinness while you are there, call the boss, you’re gonna be late getting back to the office.
2) FlyBoy’s Deli. Contrary to popular belief, the Reuben is not a New York Deli original. Folklore suggests that the Reuben originated in Kansas City. FlyBoy’s doesn’t care about folklore and makes a sandwich tough enough for NYC. The Rye bread holds up after being buttered and crisped in a Panini press. The Corned Beef is tasty and tender like you’d expect from a big city deli. It’s a big sandwich and worth every penny. $7.99 and I would recommend the New York potato salad as a side.
1) DiSalvo’s Deli. Ronnie Disalvo is doing something right. I’ve had the Reuben two ways and both were tops. Order it with Pastrami or Corned Beef. Get there early for lunch, the corned beef goes fast. Secret to their success? It’s the butter and grill press they used to really get a great crust on the bread while melting the swiss to perfection. The corned beef is prepared in house and the Rye is the best in town. Grab the Reuben, a deli side and a Coke and you are out the door for $10.00.
Where am I headed next for a Reuben? Great question. Two stops are in my near future. Tanks on Wayne, famous for breakfast, chili and burgers is rumored to have a Reuben worth writing about. Corner Kitchen has also rolled out a Reuben that has a spicy slaw in place of Kraut and a fried egg. That is moving the Reuben to another level.
You’ve seen my list, now you tell us Dayton, where do you go for the perfect Reuben?
Dayton is full of amazing talent. Some get the limelight, some get grand billing, while others sing for the world to hear collecting awards and accolades quietly. The Gem City Chorus is doing just that.
Gem City Chorus is an international award winning women’s performance chorus that sings in the 4 part Acappella style know as barbershop. Although this is our primary harmony style, the Gem City Chorus sings a variety of music from pop to big band, from musicals to songs from the stage and screen.
Gem City is a member of Sweet Adelines International. This international body represents more than 70 years of singing competition and more than 23,000 members worldwide who sing in choruses like the Gem City Chorus. Dayton’s Chorus of ladies has 14 Medal Winning International performances. These ladies not only sing, but compete at the highest levels. Members can be found in all ages, one member has been performing with Gem City for 55 years!
This women-only group rehearses every week in their own studio space in Centerville. They gather every Tuesday evening for more than 3 hours to perfect the 4 part harmony they are famous for. Women of all ages are encouraged to stop in and learn more about singing a cappella music, barbershop style, and how to become a member of the chorus.
Gem City Chorus is more than a sorority and competition singing group. They also comprise 4 professional ensembles for hire. Visit GemCityChorus.org for more information about the full 50 member Chorus, the smaller Diamond Cut ensemble of 16 ladies or one of the two quartets for your next event.
Gem City is performing this weekend and you are invited. The show, titled Love, Laughter & Song features the Gem City Chorus as well as special guests No Promises and the Fairmont Select Women’s Chorus. Tickets for a show of this caliber are affordable at $20.00 reserved and $15.00 general admission. Grab your tickets at www.ticketracker.com/store/events/189
There is only one way to determine Dayton’s Best Taco. Gather 10 or 12 of your closest friends and plan an epic Taco Tour. Stop at the 4 hottest taco spots in Dayton in one afternoon, try everything and take great notes.
DaytonMostMetro.com joined up with Bryan’s Burger club and set out to find the best taco. The afternoon started at one of Dayton’s newest Taquerias, Chiapas Mexican. Located on St. Rt. 48 in Centerville, near Bill’s Donuts we easily found space for 10 on the patio.
We surprised them with 10 people so service was a little slow but the tacos were great. Soft and warm corn tortillas were filled and full of flavor. Chicken and beef were the favorites. Chiapas has a very nice Chorizo taco that is almost sweet behind the spice of the Mexican sausage. Beef tongue is a classic choice and was enjoyed by two members of the Taco Crawl team. These tacos are served with cilantro and onion. A salsa verde and red hot sauce are on the table as well. I like mine with a little of the house salsa and nothing more. Chiapas tacos are the real deal at were at the top of the price range at $2.75 each. If you are south of town, this is your stop.
Our tour took us into the heart of downtown to the famed Taqueria Mixteca. Located on East 3rd St, Mixteca is a downtown staple. Located just east of Keowee a few blocks they serve a top-notch taco. I was impressed with the chicken taco. Great spice and cooked well. Other favorites of the group were the fish taco, Chorizo with some spice, and the ground beef. Again, cilantro and onions are standard. Tacos are $2.35 each, fish, tongue, and shrimp are in the $3.00 range.
We were in an out of Taqueria Mixteca in record time to catch the Taqueria Garcia Mobil food truck located a block away before it closed at 3pm. $2.00 tacos out of a food truck and this place was the crowd favorite. They serve a Chorizo/Chicken taco that has the best of both worlds in one fold. Spicy Chorizo and savory slow cooked chicken under some cilantro and onion with a squeeze of lime. Add their Salsa Verde and grab two napkins. We got there late so they were out of Tripe, the group tried the other offerings, the steak (Asada) and pork (Al Pastor). For the price and service, you can’t beat this food truck.
Tired with three stops under our belt, or over it, we made our way to Taco Loco located on Burkhardt near Spinning Road. By far the friendliest service by the nicest staff. 10 of us stopped in on what had become a cold rainy afternoon. The place was full with families enjoying full plates of Mexican fare. The quickly rearranged tables and set about getting us more tacos. Tripe is available on weekends and their steak and chorizo tacos were enjoyed. None of us has the nerve to try the gizard taco. The chicken was nothing to write home about and was the only low point of the day. The atmosphere and service made up for it. Prices as low as $1.90 for beef, chicken, pork, and chorizo, tongue and tripe tacos were in the $3.00 range. Great service and a great menu make this a place to return to.
Did we find the best? Positively. Our group agreed they loved each place and enjoyed tacos at every stop. The food truck won our hearts and stomachs. The staff at Taco Loco won us over with hospitality and patio dining at Taqueria Mixteca and Chiapas is a great way to spend an afternoon with friends. Go try them yourself and tell us what you think.
Here were some additional comments from our Facebook invite page:
-Garcia Mobil was the best taco of the day.
-Chicken and Chorizo combo taco at the truck is a real winner.
-Best onions at the truck.
-Chiapas had the best tortillas.
-The ladies at Taco Loco were the best!
-Al Pastor and Steak tacos at Chiapas were also quite tasty.
I tend to think of Guerilla Art in places like Detroit, Pittsburgh or Chicago. Big murals spray painted at night on an abandoned building. Not graffiti but a commentary on the community or social condition, placed anonymously, carefully, but in the public square. That is how I imagine big city street art.
Dayton likes public art. We see it everywhere. Even suburban cities like Kettering are known for their large collections of public art in parks and public spaces. However, Guerilla Art and Street Art is different. It doesn’t ask permission or obtain permits. A Guerilla Artist doesn’t expect the work to stand forever but hopes it sparks a conversation. This week, in what may be the first in a series of Guerilla Art pieces found it’s way into Dayton.
Finding this piece on Instagram I reached out to a few of the photographers and began asking questions. I ended up speaking with Peter Benkendorf, Founder & Catalyst at Dayton’s Collaboratory, and I was able to get a few questions answered by the DaytonWood artists.
Tell me about DaytonWood:
“The specific concept came to us about a year ago. One of our other members was already doing stuff on his own. That’s what got us thinking about getting a group together. We were looking for some spontaneous creativity, in a city that prefers managed and controlled creativity. When we shared DAYTONWOOD, everyone said, hell yeah! “DAYTONWOOD” was intended as a humorous play on the iconic HOLLYWOOD sign. It was NOT related to the mission of Film Dayton or the fact that Boy Band is being shot here right now. ”
How many people were involved in the construction and placement?
How many man hours did it take to construct and place DaytonWood?
“30 – 40 hours total and a little more than $200 in materials.”
Where is the work now?
“Parts unknown. We assume it was picked up by the Conservancy District. ”
Would you consider the piece to be Guerilla Art? Yes
Was this a one-time occasion or do you hope to do more?
“The group is fired up. I think we can expect to see more activity. Nothing specific is planned, however, we all share a frustration that for all the talk of a vibrant arts community, there is little support for the individual artists, particularly the visual artists, that tend to be the leaders in community-based development. ”
“We wanted to create some buzz and start a larger conversation about art, specifically Street Art, Public Art, Performance and Guerilla Art.”
Tell me more about how you see Dayton’s acceptance of this type of art:
“Dayton seems to prefer art only if it is officially planned or organized. Dayton is run like a SixSigma company, a Lean Manufacturing operation. The primary purpose of which is to reduce defects and improve efficiency.
In lean manufacturing the last thing you want is unbridled creativity. Because all that does is increase defects from lack of conformity. We don’t really value individual talent in Dayton, a legacy of our history of manufacturing and military. Both sectors are very much “command and control” and see talent as replaceable. Until that changes, we will continue to nibble around the edges. A real transformation in the arts will be elusive.
On a more positive note, we recognize that for a city our size, we are very fortunate to have the arts organizations we do, DPO, the Ballet, Opera, DAI, DCDC, Human Race, DVAC, etc. These are wonderful assets for the residents and when people are considering relocating for work. ”
So, the conversation has been started and we are left with two questions:
Is Dayton ready for this type of art and where did the DaytonWood art piece go?
Find more DaytonWood photos on Instagram at @nicholaus
Dayton is good at keeping secrets. I’ve been searching for little out of the way diners for years in Dayton and am always happy to find a hidden gem. Over at Dayton Diners and Dives I have chronicled my love for East Dayton’s Hasty Tasty, Abner’s, East 5th Grill and other old school breakfast and lunch spots.
This week I discovered another. Located near the yogurt and ice cream at the end of aisle 1 inside Dot’s Market on Patterson is The Bullpen. Originally an ice cream and soda fountain spot, it opened in 1964. I’ve been there two times in the last 5 days and I will be back again sooner, rather than later.
Consider getting a burger hand made from Dot’s famous ground beef. Or a bowl of chili made with the same top cuts. What if you could enjoy a turkey club with big slices of Dot’s hand sliced bacon on top? You can in the Bull Pen.
The Bull Pen is a no-frills diner. It seats 10 at the U shaped counter and has space for another 40 in seats and booth backed tables. Little has changed since the 70’s included the regulars and staff. My waitress Brenda has been serving regulars in the Bullpen for more than 30 years. The average tenure of the men at the counter was no less than 25 years as regulars. I was there for lunch this week and the dining room was half full with retirees and lunch hour workers of all stripes.
The menu is simple and yet meets every need. Salads, sandwiches, and signature burgers round out an affordable lunch menu. I had the Queen sized cheeseburger, with a cup of chili and chips for under 7 bucks. They offered a King size and Bison burger as well. The Club Sandwich I spotted was overflowing with turkey and topped with thick sliced bacon on toast. Broasted Chicken, a fried fish plate, chili dog lunch, tenders and wings makes the lunch menu big enough for everyone.
Dinner specials include those old favorites, fried shrimp basket, liver & onion, chopped sirloin and the roast beef or turkey hot shots. These dinner plates are served with two sides and a roll, all under $10.00.
I stopped in for breakfast on a Saturday morning. I was the 7th one in the door and I arrived 5 minutes after opening. I enjoyed a great biscuit and gravy with a scrambled egg. My coffee cup was well attended to and my entire bill was under $7.00.
The breakfast menu is simple, affordable and straightforward diner fare. Two eggs, toast and home fries are only 3.99. The Big Bull Breakfast, 3 eggs, home fries, meat, toast is under $6.00. Biscuits and gravy, omelets and fried mush are standard offerings alongside waffles, pancakes, potato cakes and grits. I’ve got my eye on the country fried steak breakfast next time.
Dot’s Bull Pen restaurant is the kinda place you are treated like a local on your first visit. Top notch service, great ingredients, and low prices make this a standout on my list of go-to Dayton Diners. A few additional notes: Pies by Dayton’s Mehaffie pies filled the glass case and the Red Velvet Cake was calling my name as I left to get back to work.
Somehow this little corner diner, at the end of Aisle 1 has been a hidden gem for over 50 years. Next time you are shopping for ribs, brisket, burgers or tenderloins at Dot’s meat counter, treat yourself and stay for lunch. The Bull Pen, located at 2274 Patterson Rd in Kettering, and is open Monday to Saturday 7am – 7pm and Sundays 8am to 2pm.
We caught Mike Bisig right before he took the stage with the Cricketbows at Jimmies Ladder 11 this week. Mike is a high school music teacher during the day, rock band guitarist at night, and he is the guy who is bringing an indoor bike park to Dayton.
Dayton deserves a place where enthusiasts can ride, no matter the weather. Kids deserve a safe place to ride where they can increase their cycling skills without the worry of automobile traffic or crowded bike paths. Mike’s Indoor Bike Park will provide these things while working to bring the cycling community together and bring new life into Dayton’s downtown area.
We spoke with Mike about this newest addition to Dayton. He confirmed the former manufacturing facility that is located just east of the Water Street development off of East First Street is under contract. Mike said if things continue to move on schedule, he will open doors to riders in early 2017.
We asked Mike about the biggest hurdle to creating something like this in Dayton. Mike stated that there is no real business model for a facility of this kind. There are less than 10 indoor bike parks of this type in the US. Even fewer that are stand alone facilities that are also profitable. Mike has been studying Ray’s Mountain Bike Park in Cleveland as the model for his park in Dayton.
Ray’s Mountain Bike park in Cleveland was the first and the most successful indoor bike park. Mike has made more than 30 trips to Cleveland to ride and study the park. Mike is using Ray’s as a template but is giving it a unique Dayton spin. Mike plans to replicate the season pass model from Ray’s, but at a lower price point. The Dayton park will also be open year round accommodating riders when the weather is too cold, too wet or trails are unusable in local parks.
The Dayton park is being built to be accessible to all skill levels and bikes. Most riders, according to Bisig will be coming in with a type of mountain bike. BMX bikes will also find the park fitting for their type of riding. During our conversation, Mike expressed how the design in Dayton is created to be a low barrier to entrance, meaning kids and adults can find something to do without a special or expensive bike upgrade. Bring a bike, bring a helmet and plan to ride.
Throughout our talk Mike returned time and time again to teaching. Mike is a teacher at heart and his vision is for the Bike Park to be a community centered facility where kids learn to ride and learn to ride safely. Mike hopes to partner with groups to teach bike safety for indoor riding and on the road riding. Mike is aware of Dayton’s love affair with the bicycle and he hopes to honor that with Mikes Bike Park.
Mike was pleased to report that the necessary zoning variance has been granted by the City of Dayton in recent days. That was the last major hurdle prior to finalizing the purchase. We asked Mike: What is the most surprising part of starting a business like this in Dayton?
Mike said the most exciting and most surprising part has been the outpouring of support and offers of volunteer help. He reiterated that the Dayton bike community is a generous one and he is busy managing all the offers for help.
Are you a bicyclist or a business owner and interested in helping? Mike says visit the park’s webpage for details on sponsorships and volunteering. The park still has room for corporate sponsorships as well. Businesses can partner in a few different ways.
Besides writing a check, material donations and professional services are also welcomed. Building an indoor bicycle park requires an immense amount of wood and lumber. There is a need for standard sized lumber (2×4, 2×6, 4×4, etc.) as well as plywood, larger logs, pieces of trees, and just about any other larger pieces of wood that you can think of. They will be painting many of the walls inside the park and can use donations of paint, rollers, brushes, sand paper, and other basic painting materials.
If you can donate materials, please CLICK HERE .
There is a grassroots campaign to help pay for the cost of building the wooden structures inside of Mike’s Indoor Bike Park. These funds will also be used to upgrade the restroom and changing facilities, install a state-of-the-art video system for watching riders throughout the park, and to help make Mike’s Indoor Bike Park as safe as possible for all riders. Every dollar earned from this campaign will go towards creating an amazing riding experience for cyclists of all ability levels. Every dollar helps, so if you can give, give what you can so we can all enjoy the best indoor riding experience possible! CLICK HERE to donate today.