Locally owned restaurant now serving out of 5 locations.
Most Daytonians know Elsa’s Mexican Cantina for eats and drinks. Most do not know they have been around for nearly 3 quarters of a century. That’s a lot of taco shells.
Miami Valley Residents love Elsa’s. What’s not to love? Each location has a sports bar feel, typically a great patio, and the fun atmosphere make it seem like cinco de mayo every day. It is also a GREAT place to catch baseball and football games. It gets noisy sometimes, but hey it is part of he fun and alcohol..
HERE’S THE SKINNY on ELSA’s:
—In 1945, Elsa Bonner opened her restaurant.
—In 1979, Elsa’s daughter sold it to 4 business men, 1 whom still owns it. The menu is Americanized Mexican food, and sports bar favorites. Full bar menu highlights include margaritas and Mexican Beers.
— In 2019, they are operating 5 strong locations, and is the consummate place for a happy hour gathering with friends.
Here are the locations:
Elsa’s East Restaurant & Cantina , Linden Ave., Dayton, Ohio
Elsa’s Kettering Sports Grill, E. Stroop, Dayton, Ohio
Elsa’s On The Border, Wilmington Ave., Dayton, Ohio
Elsa’s South Restaurant & Cantina, Far Hills Ave., Dayton, Ohio
Elsa’s Corner Cantina, Wilmington Pike, Dayton, OH
Now- you’re at Elsa’s, what are you gonna order?
MUST EATS at ELSA’S MEXICAN CANTINA:
—THE BAD JUAN MARGARITA:
The first must eat is a “must drink.” This is Dayton’s submission to the Margarita world. Known for its potency the choice is frozen, or on the rocks. You can also choose Strawberry among other flavors. We remain purists here and say “Order a Regular Bad Juan, Frozen.” Warning may cause blurred speech and bad decisions after two of them.
You get free popcorn and chips and salsa, so just take a little more and go first class. This white cheese dip is the sinful deliciousness you are used to. It is the cheese hat remains hot and liquid and after a few minutes it takes a second to become solid.
—THE MINI-SUPER BURRITO:
A flour tortilla filled with refried beans, and your choice of ground beef, shredded beef, chicken, chorizo, or pork carnitas. We always go for the ground beef. The burrito is topped with a mild sauce, lettuce, pico de gallo, and aged cheddar cheese. It is the perfect size for a happy hour bite.
— CRUNCHY BEEF TACOS:
That greasy beef, with that crispy, crunchy shell. The lettuce and cheese make it a deal. Use the Big Ragu’s “fat kid trick,” and drizzle salsa over the top of the taco,before you take a bite.
— JAMAICA JERK CHICKEN WINGS:
These are some of the most outstanding wings in Dayton. Same with the sweet BBQ sauce. The only problem is you can no longer order them “well done.” What the hell ? Yes it is true, and that is a travesty and affects the wings. Maybe if a glut of us order “well done” wings and complain, they will change the policy. But for now, Elsa’s wont cook their wings well done. But boy are those wings and especially those 2 sauces amazing.
3 awesome must eat nachos:
1) GROUND BEEF AND CHEESE NACHOS
For the simple, pure nacho lover, ask for sour cream on the side.
2) NACHOS GRANDE DELUXE:
Shredded beef, chicken, refried beans and Monterrey jack cheese. Lettuce , tomatoes, onions, black olives and jalapenos are added. Ask for Sour Cream and Guacamole on the side.
3) FAJITA NACHOS:
Ground beef, bean and/or chicken nachos, topped with cheese, grilled onions and grilled peppers.
There you have it. Our patented must eats. This will get you where you wanna go fast on the large menu.
As we enter the 74th summer of Elsa’s in the Dayton area, we have 5 locations we can ponder visiting. Now you may have discovered a couple of new “must eats.” Good Luck at happy hour !
Feel free to browse the gallery below