2017 saw some classic Dayton restaurants close, from the incomparable Rue Dumaine, to the Hawthorne Grill in Kettering. We saw longtime fixture from the 70′ the TGI Friday’s close their doors at the Dayton Mall and in Huber Heights. Meanwhile, restaurants like Carmella’s Italian Kitchen, we hardly got to know ya, since they closed after being open only a few months. Whether a national chain, like Long John Silver’s Riverside shutting down, to local “chain” Caddy’s on 741 in Miami Township, they all felt the last call in 2017.
This got the Food Adventures Crew thinking about restaurants of the past. So today , we take you on a trip of years gone by. We call it “Restaurants Closed But Not Forgotten.”
Let’s dive right in.
THE UPPER KRUST – Legendary sandwich shop with locations on North Main Street and in Woodbourne Village in Centerville near 48 and Whipp Rd. Who can forget the “Tom Turkey” sandwich or the choice of beets, chips or apple sauce.
TALL TIMBERS – This old style “supper club” on Troy Pike in Huber Heights, was known for steaks. It was actually in an old building built by Benjamin Van Cleve in 1916. Approximately 25 years ago, a fire closed the restaurant once and for all. We remember dining there as kids and using the “Entertainment” coupon for a free entrée.
LAWSON’S – These milk stores/convenient stores were all over the Dayton area in the 70’s, and even had delis inside. Lawson’s was a Cleveland based company.
SAMPAN – On Webster Street, this oriental restaurant was one of the first ones in Dayton. They had those cool 70’s style, steel serving plates, where you lift the metal top and steam would fly out of the plate, making it appear piping hot. .
TONY’S DUNKER’S DELIGHT DONUTS – Near the corner of Stroop and Marshall Rd in Kettering, this place had a cult following.
PEKING INN – This spot was known for their signature dish “Peking Duck” and serving dinners in hot metal covered dishes. Peking Inn was located on 725 near the middle of Centerville and is now “Las Piramedes” Mexican restaurant.
PONDEROSA STEAKHOUSE – They used to be all over the place in the 70’s and early 80’s. Who could forget the metal topped wooden plates and the damn buttery rolls! Sliding your tray down the cafeteria line, watching them cook steaks, and visiting the trough salad bar. You can still visit one on Airway Rd. for old times sake. Centerville’s Jerry Office was the CEO bringing them from a 40 million to a $400 million company.
CHIN’S ORIENTAL CAFE / CHIN’S GINGER GRILL – A fixture in downtown Dayton and in Tipp City, It was hard to see these 2 locations go. For decades, Daytonians enjoyed these restaurants that were definitely ahead of their time. Facility issues and lack of business, as well as an owner who wanted to retire, led to the closing of the Downtown Dayton location in 2003. The Tipp City eatery would follow in the next few years.
THE COLONY CLUB – Old school supper club, full bar and dancing on one side, a restaurant on the other side. Owned by Don Mendenhall, they were known for their hopping atmosphere as well as steaks and seafood. Located on South Dixie, The Big Ragu took his homecoming dinner date there in 1986.
URBAN SUBURBAN TAVERN: Remember the Butcher paper signs on the wall with the weekly specials written on them? Owned by Dayton icon Urban Goeke, this spot was a popular destination in the early 80’s. Located near Marshall Rd and Stroop, specialties included, steaks, seafood and burgers. Good prices and great values, this establishment was bought out by the owners of Elsa’s and converted to a Kettering Elsa’s location. Not many people know that Urban Suburban was the first Dayton restaurant to serve buffalo style chicken wings.
HAMBURGER HEAVEN: This spot was a popular oldies car drive in destination on the weekends on Woodman Dr in a converted Red Barn restaurant. They were known for their burgers, especially a huge creation called “The Galaxy Burger” which we loved.
BOBO CHINA – Little spot on Bigger Rd that used to be a Burger Chef and a Chucks Burgers and Stuff. They had great egg rolls and one of the first buffets in town.
BOSCO’S / THE OAKS – Dart throwing, beer swilling, and live band watching pubs located at the corner of Bigger Rd and Hewitt Ave. Big volleyball events and summer parties were also hallmarks here. The spots were vacated and made way for the latest restaurant to close at the same location, Italian eatery, Arthur’s.
THE MANDARIN KITCHEN – Formerly located at S. Ludlow, this restaurant was owned by celebrity chef Ming Tsai’s parents. This restaurant was known for its “Yu Shang” dishes and twice cooked pork.
TALEGATORS – Freshly demolished to make way for a new McDonalds, this place had some stellar wings, especially the sweet chili wings. The sauce would make you smack your lips and smack your momma too. Known for their live music and bar specials as well, this place had a cult following.
THE SAVORY – An underrated steakhouse at 2335 Smithville Rd. that was in an old “A” frame building that was obviously an IHOP or Howard Johnson’s. Cozy atmosphere, good food, a great wine selection, and some of the best steaks and lamb dinners in town. Highly underrated, the spot later became the first Cadillac Jacks and the Van Buren Tap Room !
SHAKEY’S PIZZA – The pizza place from the early 70’s with player pianos and music. One was located where North China in Centerville is today. They also had a big draft beer menu. A family joint, with a beer swillin’ twist and sing a longs… call it Noble Roman’s meets Hofbrau Haus.
PIZZA QUEEN INTERNATIONAL – Opened in 1978, by the Castro family, this place served pizzas from locations in West Carrollton and on Marshall Rd in Kettering. In the earl 1990’s, the family decided to close the pizza shops and turn the West Carrollton location in into El Meson Restaurant which is still operating today under the same ownership. Even though we love El Meson, we still miss Pizza Queen to this day!
SCOTTY’S HAMBURGERS – This place was very similar to White Castle, but with a diner feel inside. The Big Ragu specifically remembers eating at the location on N. Fairfield Rd that would later become Bud Frantz’ Fairfield Inn and BR Scoteses’s.
THE PARKMOOR – Dixie Style Chicken, this drive-in diner was a popular Daytonian stop in the 50’s and 60’s. To this day, people talk about their chicken. Miss that taste? Well, the rumor is that Hasty Tasty Pancake House still offers the original Parkmoor Recipe Chicken today ! Fricker’s serves “Parkmoor Chicken Tender Sunday specials with crinkle cut fries and claims to have the recipe as well.
BUD FRANTZ’ FAIRFIELD INN – Family restaurant known for big portions and decent prices. Chicken and steak were the specialties. This spot later became BR Scotese’s.
B. R. SCOTESE’S – Chef David Glynn opened this restaurant as a tribute to his grandfather. The place had some terrific Italian specialties, but unfortunately went out of business in the 90’s.
BOB’S FOOD WAREHOUSE – This grocer on Woodman Dr. in Kettering was a pre-cursor to Sam’s club. They had great prices and bulk items, but you had to bag your own stuff in their boxes. Kind of a local GFS … Wrestling magazines and pulled pork were among the items sold.
CHARLIE CHAN’S — Upstairs at the food court in the Dayton Mall, this chain was known for its egg rolls and chinese dishes. The first place we ever saw duck sauce and hot mustard packets.
LAI LAI — A Chinese restaurant near Woodman and Dorothy Lane intersection. They were one of the first Chinese restaurants to use coupons to lure customers and lunch crowds.
DUKE’S GOLDEN OX – When the owner of the place is a fixture at the bar, you know this is a special eatery. Duke’s was original from the A-frame architecture to the drink menu. Known for their steaks, spaghetti and ribs, we loved the bbq sauce that was almost sweet and tomato like. The ambiance was an old school supper club mixed with a palm readers lair. It was spooky, yet cool inside, and you didn’t know what time of day it was outside, as we don’t remember the place having any windows.
WAREHOUSE BEER DRIVE-IN – The first chain of Dayton drive-thru’s with incredible Soft Pretzels. Many drive-ins around the area today are just old Warehouse Beer Drive-ins.
STEVE KAO’S – An early, local version of PF Changs, this restaurant was very popular in the 80’s. Unfortunately inconsistent food quality led to diminishing business causing this spot to close. Their Kung Pao choices were terrific and they had some great appetizers too.
DRIFTWOOD BOWLING LANES – You wouldn’t think that a Bowling Lane would have good food, but this one did. This place even had waitresses! The cabbage rolls and Hot Shot sandwiches drew good lunch crowds.
PIETRO MAURO’S ITALIAN DELI – Located on Bigger Rd across from the Victoria’s Secret call center, this family owned Italian deli had great breads, cheeses and old world specialties. From desserts, to stuffed peppers, to great sub sandwiches, we were sorry to see this place go out of business.
THE DUTCH PANTRY – We like to describe this as an old time, Amish version of Bob Evans. Dayton had a few locations including Springfield and Englewood. Food Adventures enjoyed the waitresses’ old fashioned, Dutch outfits.
RYANS STEAKHOUSE – The moist bread rolls and the deep fried okra first stole the heart of Daytonians in the 80’s. The closest ones left are in Columbus and Marion, Ohio. So you can still grab yourself a fork and enter the trough !
VITO’S VENETIAN INN – An Italian restaurant located on Dorothy Lane near Delco Park. They were known for their simple pasta dishes and quality, family owned feel. We miss the manicotti !
SHADES OF JADE – The huge “Pu Pu Platter” appetizer sampler was a signature dish of this Chinese restaurant across from Wright State. Fun decor including running fountains added to dining experience here.
SHOWBIZ PIZZA– The pre-cursor to Chuck E Cheese. Eating cardboard like pizza and some of the kids are scared of the huge stuffed animal robots playing guitar. Full arcade too, and in the 1980’s that actually kicked ass.
MYUNG SUNG – This Huber Heights Chinese restaurant was memorable with a seating area where you could sit on the floor.
THE BBQ HUT – The 298-RIBS phone number, the Broasted Chicken, potatoes and BBQ Specialties made this place a fixture on Wilmington Pike in Kettering. They gave you that little dinner roll with each meal, that for some reason with a slab of butter was absolute heaven.
THE VENETIAN – Great pizzas in this small spot on Stroop Rd. which is now Mama DiSalvos Restaurant! The stepped up area in the back of the dining room housed a pool table. They had great french fries too !!
DANIELS PARK ROW – They had the best shrimp scampi on earth. This restaurant on Patterson Rd. was a throwback to the 50’s supper clubs where women would wear mink coats to dinner. Good food, dark atmosphere.
AL & JOE’S FOODTOWN – Grocery store that was your typical 60’s grocery. No frills, and the place always smelled like freshly sliced deli meat.
LATITUDE 49 – Centerville eatery where the Melting Pot is now. Latitude 49 had some of the best calamari in the world. We loved the aquarium decor and miss that place to this day.
BAYOU CAFE – The first Cajun restaurant in Dayton was a late 80’s venture. This was the first place that your Food Adventurers tried alligator ! The spicy, cajun shrimp was fantastic too. This site was most recently a Fox n Hound and Harrigans South, as well as a BBQ place.
GARTSKA’S – This Greek based eatery was a fixture in Bellbrook for many years. Though the restaurant is gone, we haven’t forgotten their diverse menu and many incredible dishes.
ALEX’s CONTINENTAL INN – Dancing and music accompanied great food. They had a couple of streaks, but finally closed within the last couple of years. The first time Big Ragu ate lobster in a restaurant was here.
CAMBRIDGE INN – Old style English cafeteria in Centerville, very reminiscent of Neil’s Heritage House.
YORK STEAK HOUSE – Located inside the Dayton mall, this cafeteria style steakhouse served items “a la carte.” From Steaks to Seafood, this national chain was a staple in the Dayton Mall for many years, and was located just inside the entrance.
EMPIRE FAMILY RESTAURANT – Popular family spot on the corner of County Line Rd and Dorothy Lane. After closing in the early 90’s it became a great Chinese restaurant called“China House” which also closed a few years later.
CHINA HOUSE – They served one of the best dishes we have ever tried called Walnut Shrimp. Surprisingly, the location closed unceremoniously a few years ago, without warning. It was located very close to The Greene.
SUTTMILLER’S – An old school supper club on N. Main. This Dayton icon’s standard was 70’s food and 70’s hairstyles.
THE MEAT HOUSE – Where’s the beef? Everyone at the corner of Stroop and Marshall Rd in Kettering knew this was the meat house. Whether chicken, pork or steaks they had it all here. Also, this was one of the first places in Dayton where you could buy pre-formed hamburger patties.
SWEETHEARTS – Ice cream and video game place that we visited as kids. These were some of our first Food Adventures alone.
BAD DOG, NICE TACO:Our own Chef LeeAnne House and Brian Johnson teamed to bring you a hot dog and nacho cart that spoiled us with toppings from feta to freshly made housemade sauces. Currently Chef House is in Chicago, and when we asked about a re-opening possibility for Bad Dog, she said “never say never.” Stay Tuned.
THE BARNSIDER: After more than 41 years, the Barnsider restaurant served its last meal in May 2016. Known for prime rib and shrimp dinners, you can still buy their cocktail sauce at local grocers and Foremost Seafood.
BOB EVAN’S: The location on Harshman Road, near Stebbins High School closed in 2016. We hope the students of Stebbins are still able to get biscuits, gravy and pancakes at acceptable intervals.
BOSTON’S BISTRO: July 2016 marked a historic closing. After 35 years of business, owner Dave Boston closed his establishment on N. Main Street. Much of his business has been at the old Sports Page location. It was a building his father built. Boston’s was known for being the first place to sell multiple craft beers in the Dayton area. He started selling craft beers in the 1970’s. Dave said he would reopen at another site if the deal was right.
CORLEONE’S CENTERVILLE: This spinoff pizza joint was the 2nd location for Corleone’s, tucked into a shopping center on 725 behind Fricker’s. It never quite took off, even though they had some tremendous pizza and pasta options. Thankfully the Patterson Rd. location is still open.
DESIGNER DOGS: It opened in January, 2016 inside the Fairfield Commons mall, and closed in September. Inventive toppings on the hot dogs included shout outs to various cities and states. The owners promise a return in some fashion, noting a deal in the works to mass produce their dogs. Hopefully we see them again real soon.
DON PABLO’S, FAIRFIELD COMMONS: They were one of the first restaurants to open around the Fairfield Mall. Decades later, they would close in 2016 citing lack of business. We are sad to see them go as their drinks and chips with salsa were some of the best around town.
DT’s KITCHEN CARRYOUT: They opened in March and closed in December, 2016. The menu was a broad diner menu from Quesadillas to Fried Shrimp Dinners. We hate to see locally owned restaurants close, especially when the customer reviews looked so good.
ECLIPSE COFFEE and TEA: Locally owned coffee shop located on Wilmington Pike between LaRosa’s and Frisch’s. Maybe the location was tough, because it looks like the product was superior. They carried quality coffees and teas out of Seven Hills, Ohio.
KAI SUSHI CAFE: One of Dayton’s first sushi restaurants. The crowds had dwindled over the years with increased competition. An empty parking lot seemed the norm the last few months, and after a couple of transfers of ownership and a legal dispute, the restaurant could not continue to operate. We hope this old Howard Johnson building on Byers Rd. gets a new tenant soon.
KRISPY KREME: January, 2016 was the closing date for cult favorite. The national donut franchise could not keep up with local
favorites. Although it will close, regional bakeries will still be pumping Krispy Kreme product into various gas station convenient stores around town.
LAROSA’S, HUBER HEIGHTS: Buddy LaRosa decided to pack this one in during 2016. The Cincinnati based company could not get the business they wanted to stay open. But don’t worry although the 7375 Old Troy Pike location is closed, there are others around Dayton and of course Wayne students can still get slices at King’s Island.
LOGAN’S ROADHOUSE, FAIRFIELD COMMONS MALL: A surprise to many, corporate cited high rent and low income for the closing. If you people would have just not thrown your damn peanut shells on the floor.
MAX n ERMA’S SPRINGBORO: Located at 710 Gardener Rd, off of State Route 741, this restaurant closed in January, 2016. We love Max n Erma’s. We love this regional chain and concept from the Garbage Burger to the drinks. Hopefully another one will open in town, soon.
MCKENNA’S GRILL: This restaurant on Presidential Drive in Fairborn, inside the Holiday Inn, closed to make way for “The Wright Place.”
OSAKA SUSHI and BUFFET: Dayton’s first conveyor belt sushi restaurant, was an upscale buffet that just never
caught on. There was a strong regular customers of Asian descent, but the big crowds were few, forcing them to close. The owner has promised to renegotiate the rent and reopen as a hibachi restaurant much like Sake or Benihana.
QDOBA, BROWN STREET: This eatery closed July 2016. It was located in the heart of the busy restaurant district across from University of Dayton.
SHISH WRAPS: Simon Abboud owned this health conscious restaurant that turned Mediterranean street food into some wonderful creations. We were very sad to see this place on Brown Street go. Their hummus, tabouleh and sauces were all made from scratch. Their shish wraps always left us “shish faced.”
SUSHI CLUB: February, 2016 marked the end for this “all you can eat” made to order sushi place on Alex Rd. We had hit this spot many times and always had a good meal. Maybe the food costs did them in, but they never could seem to capture the big crowds although they had a regular following. We were surprised it closed so quickly and really miss the food.
TASTY MEASURES CAFE: Although they made their own deli meats using Sous Vide style cooking methods, the business crowds were not enough to stay open. Unfortunately this locally owned cafe on Jefferson Street closed in June, 2016.
UNCLE SUNNY’S HOMESTYLE CAJUN FISH & CHICKEN: A family owned spot on 131 Cincinnati Ave in Xenia, it was all about the fried fish and chicken. The reviews were great, and although they originally were going to be a 24 hour restaurant, that never came to fruition. The owners are hinting at another project in the works, so stay tuned.
GRINDSTONE CHARLEY’S – One of the casualties of the TGI FRIDAYS type restaurant wars. We guess they couldn’t compete with the clones like O’Charley’s.
CHMIEL’S – Family grocery store in Centerville with a fantastic bakery. Located on 725, it is now a “Big Lots” store.
ADOBE GILAS: Mexican party place at the Greene that seemed to have a fiesty, fiesta crowd each day for 8 years. Rumors swirled as to why it abruptly closed, but nothing was ever confirmed. The food was ok, it was the drinks that will be missed.
ANTICOLI’S GUILLIANO TAVERN: This Italian eatery never gained the following of the original Anticoli restaurant. Classic and delicious Italian dishes like lasagna and manicotti were some of our favorites here. It was sad to see the iconic Dayton family have to close this restaurant.
ANTOJITOS CRIOLLOS: Dayton’s Puerto Rican Restaurant on Linden Avenue had promise, but seemed to be open spotty times and never regained itself from various stumbles. Internet rumors swirled as to why they closed, but no official reason was given. They had the most incredible fried chicken bites called “Chicharrones de Pollo.” The owners are also active in the “A World A Fair” Puerto Rican booth, so we hope to see them remain involved.
ASIA HOUSE SUSHI BAR & GRILL: This Centerville sushi house located in Washing Park Plaza, just off of Lyons Rd., was formerly Ichiban Seafood Buffet. It closed its doors in 2015, after never quite catching enough clientele.
BELLA VINO: This wine bar had an incredible selection of vino, but just couldn’t build up enough regulars to stay in business. Known for a nice patio and some recent menu improvements, we were sad to hear of their closing. They still operate a location in West Chester.
CORK WINE & DINE: Formerly the Wine Loft, this place was beloved by many for the drink and comfortable ambiance. Owners out of Columbus closed the shop late this year.
CRAZY MANGO BAR & BISTRO: The former owners of Bahn Mai, opened this restaurant at the Greene. Unfortunately, this beautifully decorated restaurant closed in July 2015. Who else is gonna miss those long Crab Rangoon Sticks?
DENNY’S: Oh how the mighty have fallen. From the after hour diners leaving the 1470 dance club for some food, this Denny’s was busy late into many nights. We know it’s a chain, but we loved a grilled cheese and onion rings at 2am. Denny’s corporate office orchestrated the restaurant closing in December for unspecified reasons. It is hard to believe that you can’t get a Grand Slam Breakfast in Dayton anymore. Goodbye to an era and an icon.
DOMINIQUE’S BISTRO and BAR: Lack of business forced this upscale restaurant to close in 2015, in Oakwood. Formerly “C’est Tout,” the owner had been in business for 12 years. Lack of business was the reason for the shut down. It is very sad to see the persons affected, and good things that go away in Dayton.
FRIENDLY’S: Oh say it ain’t so ! Not the Reece’s Pieces Sunday, nooo.. Corporate offices called for all 5 Dayton restaurant chains to close. No more clamboats, no more Fribbles… Doesn’t it just make you want to stand up and scream for ice cream?? We will miss this place. Goodbye old friend….ly.
GRANNY C’S BAKERY: This Huber Heights favorite had to close after more than 5 years in business. Increased costs forced the owners to close the place. Known for strawberry donuts, cakes and pumpkin rolls, they also rode the cupcake craze. We wish the McDaniel family (owners) the best in 2016.
HOUSE OF KABAB: In May 2015, the restaurant closed. For some reason, the menu did not catch on as much as they hoped after almost 5 years. Specializing in Persian and Mediterranean dishes, they had some excellent hummus and appetizers. We will miss this place.
NEW YORK PIZZERIA: An immigrant owned pizza place on 5th Street closed its doors this summer. No reason was given for the closing of the business that had been around about 5 years.
OLIVE, an URBAN DIVE: This closing might have rocked the Dayton area the most in 2015. A true locally devoted business with a huge following of regulars, Olive was a beloved restaurant. Located in the old Wympee building. Owner Kim Collett said she was unable to come up with a rental agreement to stay in business. She also said she planned to take a break from the restaurant industry and try something new. We wish her the best of luck.
PATRIOT STEAKHOUSE: A family owned business in Lebanon that went for high quality cuisine at reasonable prices. For some reason the increase in sales did not meet the needs for the operation to stay in business. The result was the loss of another good eatery in 2015.
QUAKER STEAK AND LUBE: Buckets of wings and tons of flavor options was the signature of this chain. Now, after 13 years, the Atomic Wing Challenge is no more. Popular with bikers and Wright State Students, the reason given for the close was the selling of real estate where the restaurant was located. Well, that sucks.. we will miss those tall mugs of beer, and those addictive wings.
RINALDO’S BAKERY: The true loss of a legend, this bakery closing will have effects reaching into the Italian festival. Many may know that a portion of the Italian Fest desserts are made by Rinaldo’s Bakery. The Stolfo family operated the business for 50 years. Due to health concerns of the son, the family decided to close their doors. They simply couldn’t handle the workload at their ages. We will forever miss the Italian Wedding Cakes, half moons, and the adult cakes that would fly out from time to time.
ROUSH’S FAMILY RESTAURANT: A Fairborn staple closed in 2015. Mike and Joyce Gharst had bought the business from the Roush family, and were looking to retire. The business was up for sale for a year with no buyers. This restaurant was a throwback family restaurant with the 1950s and 60’s style. Simple, delicious, comfort food. You could order of the menu or try the “hot buffet.” There really are no more places like this anymore.
SAMMY’S EL PUEBLO: Popular burger and Mexican food spot in Springboro closed to make way for another Doubleday’s Restaurant. We will miss the chile relleno and the Mafia Burger.
SMOKIN ACES BAR & GRILL: Formerly “the Filling Station,” this bar and grill closed in 2015. We do not know much bout the close, but we hope that someone will fill the vacancy shortly.
SPRINGBORO FISH MARKET: After 8 months, the owners of this seafood store decided to close. Their specialty was fresh seafood and cited a lack of business as the reason for ceasing operations.
SUMERA: Locally owned idea of sushi mixed with traditonal or non-traditional American items. They had a delicious menu, but sadly cited weak sales as a reason for the closing. We loved the staff, menu and mangement. We were sad to see them go. The tuna and salmon at this store was amazing as was the Peanut Butter and Jelly sushi roll !
ULBRICH’S HOMETOWN BAKERY: Donuts were the specialty of this family owned business. Although this location closed, there are still locations in Huber Heights and Englewood. Such tasty treats, sad to see them go.
UNDERGROUND SPORTS BAR: Troy restaurant owned by the Cheeky Meat Pies establishment, closed its doors in 2015. No reason was given for the sudden close, but we hope the best for the owners in 2016.
ZETLAND STREET: Their commitment to serve , farm-fresh local foods wasn’t enough to keep this Bellbrook eatery afloat. Ever wonder if some locations truly are cursed?
JED’S STEAK AND RIBS – Remember their salad bar? Sure it had croutons that tasted like crayons, but their steak burger and ‘make your own sundae bar’ were great childhood memories and huge innovations at the time. There were many Jed’s around the Dayton area, one was located on 725 in Centerville and is now a Goodwill store. We cannot find any photos or trace of this place online, can you?
SHUCKIN’ SHACK – One of our all-time favorite places was on North Main St. in Dayton. They would bring steamed clams out in golf ball baskets. At the raw bar you could sit and eat raw oysters and clams, and throw your shells into a trough. Who could forget their massive peel and eat shrimp, or fried smelts? This was the only place in Dayton that made you fell like you were in a wharf type restaurant in Florida.
THE PEERLESS MILL– The Miamisburg Restaurant with the old fashioned, old school menu. Inside it was like a mixture of Thanksgiving and Christmas everyday. We recall the incredible decor and churning wheel waterfall. This restaurant was warm and inviting, with a trickling water wheel in the lobby. The food was fantastic, and the service was always exceptional. It was a great place for family celebrations.
KEENG WHA – This Chinese restaurant used to be on the corner of Woodman and Dorothy Lane. They served Ragu’s favorite Chinese dish of all time: “Princess Prawns.” A popular place in the 80’s until the chef left, and it was all downhill until it closed in the mid 90’s.
BILL KNAPPS – The kids meal was filled with animal names like the “tiger” or the “elephant.” The best au gratin potatoes ever were served here in a tiny crock pot with browned cheese on top. Ragu loved the clam strips dinner and their signature chocolate cake. On Tuesdays is was a full meal deal where every entree came with salad, soup and dessert. INSANE ! There was a Bill Knapps on 48 near Loop Rd. in Centerville, one by the Dayton Mall, and another near what is now The Greene.
GIRVE’S BROWN DERBY– As kids, we felt like kings in this place. They had the largest salad bar in town and you could even order a kiddie cocktail. Ragu loved the kids menu fish dinner. Adults seemed to love the “Gus’ Steak” which came out with a wooden stake saying medium, or rare with on onion ring on top. There was a bar inside and even lobster tail dinners flowed freely. We felt the Brown Derby “jumped the shark” when it moved from Bigger Rd to the 725 location by the Dayton Mall. Big mistake, we really miss this food gem.
WOODY’S GROCERY – We might say the bakery and seafood department was the best part of this West Carrollton icon. Also, we loved the deli with shaved Corned Beef and Swiss on hard rolls with poppy seeds on top. We remember a cashier named Don Baker who had hair like Elvis that never changed for years. Noone could forget the plaid dresses and bonnets worn by some of the female workers.
ELDER BEERMAN RESTAURANT – Who doesn’t love a place where you could get breakfast with Santa and the Easter bunny? Located upstairs in the Centerville store on State Route 48, our memories are also of the Friday night buffet. This was a place where the waitresses were “real” waitresses and they had the same staff for decades.
BURGER CHEF- To this day, we crave the Big Chef sandwich and their “works” bar where you could load up your burger with toppings! Remember that their regular hamburgers were stuffed into clear wrapping pouches and the steam marks would be on the plastic wrap? Bring back Burger Chef !!
CHICKEN LOUIE’S – A 24 hour chicken wing place? What a great idea ! This was a fixture on North Main Street in Dayton for over 40 years. Ragu would risk life and limb by ordering through the bullet proof glass at dusk. The related “Lou’s Broaster Hut on 3rd st had a special place in our heart.
RAX ROAST BEEF – We loved the salad bar, which hilariously offered nacho cheese next to the pudding. The menu had a star, the “BBC” (the beef bacon and cheddar) which proves the theory that bacon makes everything better. But Rax lovers know that the cheese sauce made those sandwiches. We frequented the 725 store that is now a Tim Horton’s
ROCKY ROCOCO’S PIZZA– Chunks of roma tomatoes on their pizzas, made for a unique tasting pizza that was full of flavor.
JOE BISSETT’S GRUB STEAK– The killer menu item was the Princess Steak and a salad with blue cheese crumbles on top. We also rocked the “kiddie cocktail” on North Main St, Dayton. You may recall our article on the closing of The Grub steak HERE.
COZYMEL’S – Great place for happy hours with margaritas swirling in machines above the bars. You got lots of food at a great price here. This sorely missed place was located on 725 near McEwen Rd. in Centerville and became a Smokey Bones which is also now closed.
FARRELL’S – Across from Tri-County Mall in Northern Cincinnati, this place had a ‘sundae on a stretcher.’ The staff would sing happy birthday to customers on kazoos.
LUM’S – An obscure town favorite. They had hot dogs cooked in beer. Lum’s was located where Marion’s Pizza is now, in Town and Country shopping center.
PEASANT STOCK – Who could forget the ‘Peasant salad.’ Ragu loved the atmosphere at the restaurant in the Town and Country Shopping Center. Chef David Glynn served some great food out of this establishment.
THIRSTY DOG – A great microbrewery restaurant on the corner of Alex Bell Rd and 48 in Centerville that served homemade chips in dog bowls. Ragu loved the Raspberry Light Beer, and the burgers and fish dinners were fantastic too.
HUNAN GOURMET – A long gone gem that was on 48 near Whipp Rd. We loved this place, especially their dry braised shrimp and sizzling rice soup. Some of their entrees were second to none. The building was razed about 8 years ago to build a coffee shop.
NOBLE ROMAN’S – We miss the real Noble Roman’s, not the stuff they are serving at the ‘new Noble Romans’ restaurants. The old restaurants were completely different. We miss the hand tossed pizza in the window, monster pizza, sicililan pizza and the hand rolled breadsticks with nacho cheese.
MARK PI’s CHINA GATE – The fried rice was addicting at this restaurant that was located upstairs in Town and Country shopping center. A great atmosphere for special get togethers, the decor on the glass is still there today, even though they closed in the 80’s.
ARTHUR TREACHER’S FISH & CHIPS – It was fried fish, so Ragu could live here. The Jersey Mikes on 48 in Centerville is where one of the Arthur Treacher’s used to be. We hear that some of these still exist in other states. Dear Fast Food Gods, Bring them back to Dayton ASAP, and don’t forget the vinegar.
SAMBO’S – They featured pancakes served with boysenberry syrup. This place was located at 48 near Loop Rd in Centerville until it closed in the early 80’s. It was known for their cheap prices and controversial menu caricatures. It was a weird, kid version of Denny’s on LSD. But you couldn’t deny, they had great breakfast food.
FOUR’S COMPANY – After the Arthur Treacher’s closed on 48 near Whipp Rd in Centerville, this short lived place served up giant beer battered onion rings. They were so full of beer you almost got buzzed by eating a few.
TOTENKO – This place on the corner of 725 and 741 near the Dayton Mall was like a 70′s verison of PF Changs. We learned to use chopsticks here while wearing “toughskin” pants. A great restaurant until it closed because a food critic found roaches on her plate (TRUE STORY). That critic was Ann Heller, writing one of her first reviews for the Dayton Daily News/Journal Herald. This place turned into a Chi Chi’s which has since gone out of business too.
D’AMICO and MANZAS – An Italian eatery that was a mom and pop establishment. Incredible spaghetti dishes highlighted a top notch pasta menu. This spot is now Savona Restaurant.
DOMINIC’S – The iconic location on South Main Street in Dayton whose manicotti was incredible. The real attraction here was the house salad dressing with so much garlic flavor that you breathed fire for 2 days afterward. Ask any Daytonian who was around in the 70’s/80’s, they knew the only place to go where strong garlic breath was excused.
GROUND ROUND– Throw your peanut shells on the floor. Ragu loved their all you can eat Friday night fish fry. Remember the scale at the Wilmington Pike site where the cost of a kid’s dinner was a penny for each pound they weighed?
BAJA FRESH – Do you still crave their fish tacos like we do? The now defunct Dorothy Lane and Kettering Blvd location claimed to not have refrigerators, because they served everything fresh. We were sad to see this short-lived restaurant go.
PHIL AND JERRY’S FOOD-A-RAMA – Legendary Centerville grocery that had annual anniversary parties where a hot dog and a coke were around 20 cents. In business for over 30 years, they had a great seafood section.
JOE’S IS A FISH HOUSE – This seafood spot on Loop Rd and State Rt 48 offered a one of a kind Sunday brunch that would knock your socks off. It featured smelts and steamed mussels. The restaurant was only open a couple of years, but it made an impact on us in the early 80’s.
WESTWARD HO – South Main Street cafeteria style restaurant that had drink glasses as big as your head. The food was good, the patrons were old, yet this was still a hoppin’ place. We used to visit the magic store across the street called the “Magic Hat,” after eating.
PO’ FOLKS – Fried food all over the menu, made this one of Ragu’s faves. The fried clams and fried okra were so good. The one we frequented was on the corner of Wilmington Pike and Dorothy Lane.
FAZIO’S GOLDMAN ONTARIO’s DISCOUNT FOOD STORES – This was the best place to shop with bellbottom pants in the 70’s for groceries. Good deals and wide collars were the norm at this place!
D’LITES- The first place ever to offer healthy fast food! We weren’t sure how healthy it was, but Ragu loved their burgers and smoothiesat the location of 48 and Whipp Rd. Another short-lived place, that we feel had great food.
CHMIELS GROCERY STORE – Now a Big Lots store in Centerville, this place had some incredible pastries. Their bakery was almost as good as Woody’s.
KETTERING VILLAGE INN – A mom and pop Italian eatery known for no frills and good food. This spot is now an “OinkadoodleMoo” restaurant on the corner of Stroop Rd and 48 . KVI had great pizza and pasta dishes. This one is really missed.
ANTONIO’s – An Italian restaurant once owned by the DiPasquale Family. When Villanova’s Basketball team would come to town in the 1980’s, legendary coach Rollie Massimino would always eat here. They had incredible ravioli dishes. Their marinara sauce was out of this world. Sweeney’s Seafood House is now located where Antonio’s operated.
KING COLE RESTAURANT – One of the most elegant dining places in Dayton at the bottom of the Kettering Tower. Known for gourmet steaks and seafood, this was a hot spot in the 70’s and 80’s.
HOOK’S BBQ: In West Dayton, one of the best places for ribs. Lots of southern style sides and healthy portions for cheap. Sadly a shooting in the restaurant was the beginning of the end as a family member/owner was killed. They never could recover from the tragedy.
What places do you still think about? Casa Lupita? Charley’s Crab? Tequila Willie’s? Let us know any and all of them by commenting below! Check out the photo album below for even more restaurants that are “Closed but Not Forgotten.”
DID WE MISS A FAVORITE SPOT IN THIS STORY? WHICH ONES DID WE LEAVE OUT ???
Please comment below with your memories of these places, or any other you would like to mention!
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