Now that Labor Day weekend is over, here are some of OUR labor of loves.. tastefully speaking, of course. That is the theme of this week’s Food Adventure Article They are the 30 best foods of the Miami Valley that you probably haven’t tried.
Little known Dayton Foods that are underground classics.
Now that you know the skinny, let’s get down and dirty with our Thirty.
These are the are the 30 DAYTON MUST EATS You gotta Try, Before You Die:
1) THE SPLIT FILET SERVED WITH DRAWN BUTTER at THE PARAGON: This steak isn’t on the menu, so you have to request it. It is a little known secret that will melt in your mouth. Perfectly cooked, the sinful act of dipping the steak in drawn butter is something for royalty. Try it and see why the Paragon Supper Club is a fixture in Centerville.
2) CHICKEN MONTEREY from FLAVORS: Healthy meets savory in this dish. Honestly, one of our favorite meals in the Dayton area. The food is consistent. Why? Quality, fresh ingredients. Chicken Monterey is a solid dish every time. It is served with a side of tortilla chips and the amazing garlic sauce (now available at Dorothy Lane Market). And guess what, it is a healthy meal. What more can you ask for ?
3) SPRING ROLLS WITH VERMICELLI NOODLES at LITTLE SAIGON: The best $8 you will ever spend. Dip into the giant bowl with a pair of chopsticks and enter a Food Adventure. Vermicelli noodles, topped with diced, vegetarian spring rolls. Under the noodles, is a surprise of bean sprouts and lettuce. Served with a side of vinegar sauce and topped with chopped peanuts, this little know Dayton gem is your go to for Vietnamese Food.. Trust Us ….
4) THE CAROLINE STEAK at THE CAROLINE RESTAURANT: You will be in awe of the special, stainless steel knife served with the meal, but don’t take it home like some others have… Choose the handmade sweet potato fries as a side dish and an appetizer of whiskey or bourbon mushrooms, and this will be one of the best meals you will ever have. We have to mention that the great staff makes The Caroline a perfect places for a date, party, or special occasion.
5) BLACK BEAN BURGER at CHRISTOPHER’S RESTAURANT: We have never been black bean burger fans, until we met Chef John at the Centerville Farmer’s Market. We tried one that was being grilled at the market, and was converted. We respect the black bean now. The burger is large, hearty and filling. We recommend adding a slice of cheese. It satisfies your carnivorous cravings.
6) 10 EGG OMELET FROM TANKS: One of the things we learned growing up in Dayton, is that there aren’t many late night eateries. Thank God for Tanks. If you love breakfast, they serve it any time of the day. This is a delicious omelet that will bust your gut, and you wont eat the potatoes or toast that comes with it. If you have a normal appetite, we recommend the 6 egg girly omelet. The omelet has a multitude of ingredients, and whatever Tanks decides to throw in that day.
7) GRILLED CHEESE SANDWICH with WHITE CHEDDAR and APRICOT CHUTNEY from MEADOWLARK: One of the most simple sandwiches, is one of the most satisfying. Ohio Northern Cheddar and apricot chutney make this incredible cheese sandwich. Served on Dorothy Lane Market Artisan Bread, you have a guaranteed winner here. After you it it, you will find yourself trying to replicate it at home.
8) CHEESE AND ONION SANDWICH from CENTRAL PERC: For the adventurous, we give you a British Sandwich. How do you get one? Ask the owners who grew up in a small village in England to make it they way they way grew up with..ahem.. the “proper” way. They will probably throw some butter and Branston Pickle on there (you may want to google this pickle). Your breath will be horrendous, but you will be happy. On a side note, Rosie the pastry chef is insanely talented. An incredible sandwich and tea room that is open limited hours, and accepts Cash Only.
9) BLACK N BLEU BURGER from SEAJAX: The new kid on the block, this burger is a symphony for your taste buds. We have been all over like Terry’s Turf Club which was supposed to be the best Ohio burger per Guy Fieri, but we think this one is better. Spend $8 and get a “corporate hamburger” (thank you Michael R Hawk), or spend $10 and get a handmade hamburger with swirled bleu cheese that will knock your socks off.
10) THE BOURBON BURGER from BRIXX ICE CO.: This is one of our favorite burgers in the world. It is a burger with bourbon glaze on it that makes you cry “hell yes.” Great patio for the divas, but we prefer the bar stool seats and chowing down. Thanks to childhood friend, owner/chef Chris Bhai for the developing a sauce that makes this burger a “must eat.”
11) HUEVOS RANCHEROS from SUNRISE CAFE: We crave this incredible breakfast dish from the best kept secret in Yellow Springs. The dish is corn tortillas, topped with eggs, and a black bean sauce, garnished with fresh salsa and sour cream. Dont go hiking, instead, grab breakfast here. They trumpet the fact that they have no deep fryers, no microwaves, just kick butt food. Worth the trip to organicville.
12) SUMMER IN A BOWL SALAD from OLIVE, an URBAN DIVE: Local freshness, local ingredients. We absolutely love it. If an artist made a salad, it would be “Summer in a Bowl.” We can’t put the ingredients on here, because the ingredients are seasonal. Olive, only uses top quality materials. Open your mouth and prepare to be dazzled. It wont bust your budget or your pant line.
13) CALAMARI APPETIZER at FRANCO’S: Get the deep fried option dusted with Parmesan cheese and olive oil. The Big Ragu, the king of fried food, usually says “Oh my god” in a over dramatic tone when they are served. This is a tradition, when preparing for a big Italian meal at Franco’s. Stay hungry my friends…
14) THE PAELLA from EL MESON: Watching them prepare it is half of the fun. Listening to owner Bill Castro explain his passion for food and the pivotal role food plays in life is a great experience in itself. Chef’s sprinkling rice and seafood shells while walking around the huge paella pan and flirting with the crowd. By the time the dish is served we have teased our eyes and the aroma is amazing. We love this family and their food. Try this place out, if you haven’t, you aren’t experiencing Dayton.
15) WHOLE, DEEP FRIED TILAPIA at TACO LOCO: You can go to another restaurant and get this dish for $30 or you can get it for $8 at Taco Loco. The dish that will freak your friends out, but leave you one happy foodie. If you can stomach a whole fish on your plate looking at you, then this one is worth the stares… literally. It is delicious and simple.
16) THE GRILLED PEACHES with GOAT CHEESE at LILY’s BISTRO: A seasonal treat that should be on the menu every month. A stellar dish that steals the show at any meal. Drizzled with balsamic vinaigrette dressing, this memorable side will blow your mind. Thank you Lily’s for making us crave this on a daily basis….
17) THE RAW OYSTERS at SWEENEY’s SEAFOOD HOUSE: The Big Ragu has tried oysters from coast to coast and north to south. He concludes that the best raw oysters on the planet are at Sweeney’s Seafood. Served on the half shell, these are chokers, not for the squeamish. Grab a bottle of hot sauce and one of their micro brews and sling em back like a champ!
18) SPINOZIAN DELUXE PIZZA from SPINOZA’S: Homemade, fresh dough with Italian sausage, pepperoni, black olives, bell peppers,mushrooms and fontina cheese. The pizza is always good here. The crust is exceptional. Pair it with one of their great salads and listen to a live band and sip on some local beer. Not many people know about this place, but the ones that do, love it!
19) THE LAND AND SEA BLT at HARVEST MOBILE FOOD TRUCK: This sandwich kick so much azz, that it won $10,000 for best dish at a Food Truck Rally. Applewood bacon, smoked salmon and a ciabatta roll. Then Harvest adds a sauce that is the money shot. Follow this truck and see why poeple track them down all over town. Chef Patrick continues to blow us away with cluinary creations.
20) LOX & CHEESE CREPE at CREPE BOHEME: An ingredient list so simple, so good. Salmon, capers and cheese all wrapped into a handmade crepe right before your eyes. One of the reason we go to 2nd St. Market is to savor the crepes at Crepe Boheme. Sabine is the ultimate crepe master, and her works of art will never let you down. This is the real deal, a chef making the crepes.
21) THE PARIS OMELET at BUTTER CAFE: Love breakfast? Love mushrooms? We suggest a spin using egg whites, goat cheese, a bit of onion and lot of mushrooms. You haven’t lived until you take a bite of this omelet while overlooking Brown Street. Guess what? It is affordable and a protein powered breakfast.
22) SHRIMP and SCALLOP NEWBURG at THE DOCK: A creamy alfredo dish, with penne pasta. This is like a pasta bake. It is rich and delicious. Can’t afford a trip to Florida? Escape to The Dock in Enon and buy yourself a dinner dream, just like being on a pier.
23) THE RUCK from THE DUBLIN PUB: This is a dense beef brisket sandwich that is simply incredible. The brisket is steamed in Guinness Beer. Topped with glob of cheese and onions, it is delicious. It is a filling, guilty pleasure. After eating this, you may want to call Richard Simmons to chase you around the yard in his ball hugging shorts and burn off the calories. Or go hiking for his physique.
24) THE GYRO at CHICAGO GYRO’S and DOGS: Forget the fries, the sandwich is all you need. Loaded with meat, perfectly seasoned, it is a master piece as-is. The atmosphere used to be sketchy at the old location, but the new location is kid friendly. The gyros and dogs are still the same .. good food. This place flies under the radar, and is an unsung Gyro..get it ?
25) DEL MAR TRIO at EL RANCHO GRANDE: Want a great dish, at an unsuspecting place? The order the Del Mar Trio at El Rancho Grande. It consists of grilled lobster, tilapia and shrimp sprinkled with cheese on a hot fajita plate. Served with tortillas. Orgasmic.. yeah we said it.. Order one of these dishes and tell us we’re wrong.
26) COW PATTY ICE CREAM from YOUNG’S JERSEY DAIRY: We love this chocolate amazingness, and our friend Caryn Snyder says it is “the ultimate cure for PMS.” It is dark chocolate ice cream, chocolate cookie pieces, chocolate covered toffee pieces and mini chocolate chips. The cones are piled high and worth the drive to hippie Utopia.
27) THE PIZZA at SOFT ROCK CAFE: Yes, a karaoke bar has some decent pizza. We don’t know if it is the thin crust, the cheese, or the toppings, but the pizza is addicting. Our tip is to get at least 3 or more toppings, and try not to burn your mouth, the pies come out HOT! Also, *** please note their kitchen is only open Thursday through Saturday at 8pm for weekend indulgence.
28) FISH WITH CHILI SAUCE at THAI9: This huge filet of golden fried fish is topped with a spicy chili sauce, and plated with a small amount of sauteed veggies. The taste is slightly fiery and incredible. The chili oil soaks into the fish, yielding the flavor, but keeping the crispiness. A little known dish, off the beaten path, at a restaurant with a very extensive menu. Try it !
29) THE PLAYBOY ROLL at KABUKI: Nothing says fun like a couple of grown adults trying to blow out a flaming sushi roll. The roll contains Shrimp Tempura, Spicy tuna, and asparagus topped with cooked shrimp and a sweet glaze sauce. It is then “barbecued” at your table, by being served on fire, inside an aluminum pouch. The spectacle is one thing, but the best thing is whats inside the fiery roll of foil. The answer is a scrumptious taste of Japan, right here in Dayton.
30) THE PRETZELS from K&R PRETZEL BAKERY: These should be a Dayton Icon, but not many people know of this secret place at 1700 Flesher Ave. Like a scene from Willy Wonka, the pretzel machine is fed a hand twisted raw dough pretzel, the dough is mechanically dipped in water, then hand salted before it is baked on a conveyor belt. The machine is as long as a limousine, and it is fun watching the finished product come out at the end. It is even more fun to eat the results: A soft pretzel, that is the best we’ve tasted.
These are our 30 DAYTON MUST EATS, You gotta try before you die. Little known secrets, and favorite hidden gems. DID WE LEAVE OUT ONE OF YOUR FAVES? WHICH ONE? Is there one on the list you disagree with? Are some of these items, your favorite too? Please comment below!
We all have them, we all need them… guilty pleasures. As we get older, we try to eat healthier, but once in a while, you gotta splurge. Dayton is a great place to do so. Sure, there is fear in seeing the calorie count, and scary scale readings the following week… but sometimes you gotta have a ghastly, full blown Food Adventure.
So without further ado, we present present our list of the Top 15 Guilty Food Pleasures of the Dayton Area:
15) THE FOOTLONG CHILI DOG at THE ROOT BEER STANDE: Long and strong, we came to get the friction on. This wiener is a mouthful of goodness and a ruined shirt waiting to happen. Eat it in your car, roll up the windows so no one can see,. But we know… this is one of your guilty pleasures.
14) FRICKER’S RIBS & WINGS DINNER: This huge meal comes with a half rack of ribs, those famous fried chicken wings, cole slaw, roll and an side. Finger lickin’ good, and a naughty belt buster for sure.
13) THE PEANUT BUTTER SUNDAE at JET FREEZE: Homemade peanut butter sauce, ice cream, whip cream, nuts and a cherry on top. The peanut butter sauce alone is so sinful that it catapults it onto the list.
12) THE BROOKYLYN BRAWLER PIZZA at JOHNNY’S SLICE of NY: When you serve a giant, stuffed pizza as big as a spare tire, it has to be a guilty pleasure. Big eaters of the Miami Valley come from far and wide not only to eat this giant creation, but to see if 2 of them can finish it in 30 minutes or less to get on the wall of fame. Filled with various meats and cheeses, this guilty pleasure is for serious eaters.
11) THE SEAFOOD PLATTER at TREASURE ISLAND: Deep fried scallops, a cod filet, frog legs, fried shrimp and stuffed crab on a plate with 2 sides. You can taste it all, but don’t test your cholesterol that day. The over the top moment of this dinner is when they serve you some drawn butter for dipping. Oh, behave !
10) ALL-YOU-CAN EAT FISH at the HASTY TASTY PANCAKE HOUSE: For just $7.25, you can literally fill yourself to the gills. Breaded and crispy, it is one of the best ‘bangs for your buck’ as far as sinful meals go. The fish is Alaskan pollock, and when you add the sides, rolls and butter slabs, the wheels come off the diet train.
9) BROASTED CHICKEN at GEORGE’S FAMILY RESTAURANT: Deep fried in a pressure cooker, this stuff is guilty fun for the while family. Moist inside, the chicken is always cooked to perfection. Get some heavenly comfort food sides and complete this trip to dream street.
8) CRISPY SHRIMP at NORTH CHINA: One of our favorite Chinese restaurants serves us a sweet sauced, deep fried shrimp dish that will knock you on your socks. The taste, the crunch, the bites of sauce mixed with rice. Overdone richness? Guilty as charged.
7) POTATO SKIN CUPS at ANGIE’S FIREHOUSE: Stuffed with chili, bacon, onions, tomatoes, cheddar cheese, green onions, jalapenos and sour cream they are a beautiful piece of work. You will find yourself eating an entire plate of these and passing out in a food coma.
6) BISCUITS & GRAVY at TANK’S: Delicious, artery clogging goodness. Although this legendary spot on Wayne Avenue has many treasures, we find this to be our most guilty pleasure.
5) THE HOT FUDGE CAKE at FRISCH’S: We know, this is semi-local and more of a regional treat, but it deserves a spot on our list. Hot, steaming fudge, hitting the cool cake and ice cream. The feeling of the whip cream and hot fudge on your lips is worth every calorie.
4) THE PANZAROTTI at MAMMA DISALVO’S: This is pretty much a calzone that is the size of a small kid. Imagine an extra large pizza full of toppings and cheese, that has been folded in half. Served with dipping sauce, it is like cutting into a turkey to begin eating. Go all out and dip your forkfuls into marina or ranch. It is absolutely delicious.
3) THE HOG BURGER at VOLTZY’s: Voltzy says he named the burger after his ex-wife. All we know is that this mammoth 20 ounce burger melts in your mouth, and you find yourself saying “I can’t believe I ate the whole thing.”
2) CASSANO’S BIG CHEESE PIZZA: Like Vic Cassano Sr said “It’s one heck of a pizza.” That famous Cassano’s crust and sauce, loaded with pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms, onions, green peppers, olives and finished off with a m0und of cheese. The proof is in the taste.
1) THE “BIG BO BJ” at B&B CARRYOUT: Get your mind out of the gutter, this is a breakfast sandwich. And it is one helluva guilty pleasure. This craziness is a bun with sausage, a fried egg, a hash brown patty, American cheese,strips of bacon and hot pepper cheese. You won’t feel that guilty, because the every bite is just so darn good. A handful of greasy, gooeyness, with great flavor. If you haven’t tried the Big Bo BJ, you need to grab yourself one.
Do you feel guilty yet? Naughty nibbles indeed. Honorable Mention to : Paragon Supper Club’s Paragon Supreme Dessert- a peanut butter and chocolate ice cream mousse, Marion’s Super Cheese Pizza – delicious, Tank’s Chili Cheese Fries-out of this world, and Submarine House’s Super Duper Cheesesteak– triple the meat and cheese & 16 inches long.
DID WE LEAVE ANY OUT? WHICH OF YOUR FAVORITE GUILTY PLEASURES SHOULD WE HAVE INCLUDED IN OUR LIST??
Please comment below and let us know !
For more fun from Dayton’s one-of-a-kind foodies visit FOOD ADVENTURES with THE BIG RAGU, CHEF HOUSE and HUNGRY JAX on FACEBOOK and “like” us HERE .
Everyone knows that Gary Leitzell is the mayor of Dayton, but did you know that he is a foodie ?? You may find him at Tank’s on Wayne Avenue with a mini pitcher of beer discussing the history of Dayton. You may see him munching on pizza at the South Park Tavern, talking about some of the old homes in the neighborhood & who built them. You may catch the mayor cutting a sandwich at the Top of the Market & Deli at Webster Street.
The Big Ragu often runs into Gary Leitzell at various community events. We have had Food Adventures with the mayor at Ghostlight Coffee and even visited with his legislative aide “Gladgirl Shelly.‘ The mayor has spent time with us at the 2nd Street Market. We have been with him at charity events like the AMBUCS Chili Cookoff. And, who could forget our ‘must eats’ like Oktoberfest at the Dayton Art Institute or the World A’Fair at the Convention Center.
When we see Mayor Leitzell, he always takes a moment to talk with us about Dayton and the local government’s exciting plans for the city. Practically everything about Gary is unique. Most of his childhood was spent in England, he has no political affiliation and fancies himself an independent.
But this is not an article on politics. It is an article on fun and food in the Dayton area, which is what Food Adventures are all about.
Speaking of fun, here are some things you ‘gotta know’ about Dayton Mayor Gary Leitzell:
— He eats every sandwich with a fork and knife. – Yes, hot dogs and burgers too. Call it a good manners habit from his days in merry olde England.
—He has a blog called ‘This Old Crack House’ – Mayor Leitzell is a cool character with a great personality. His blog documents the refurbishing of his historic home, which went from a log house to a townhouse, to a crack house and now, his house. You gotta love a guy that has a blog called “This Old Crack House.” Check it out HERE.
— Mayor Leitzell has a scooter. – What better way to get to a Food Adventure?
— He doesn’t own a cell phone. – Gary is a person who prefers to communicate face to face or by email. Wait a minute, how does he order carryout food? For a guy always on the move, we find it astonishing that he doesn’t own a mobile phone. Maybe it is a lesson to us as well.
— His favorite rock band is ‘The Who.’ – Will they play a farewell show at Courthouse Square when his term as mayor ends? We will have our people get with your people to coordinate that one.
If there is a lesson to be learned from Mayor Leitzell it is “Be yourself.” The mayor has a positive passion for the Dayton area and the future of the city. He is involved with many activities, from West Side Dayton volunteer projects to creative marketing for the city. But, you won’t see that trumpeted in a paper or in a story online. As his term expires in January, look for him to run for a Montgomery County Commissioner seat.
So be on the lookout next time you are eating out and around Dayton. You just may be sitting next to the mayor !
What are your top 5 Dayton area restaurants? Comment below so we can see how you stack up with the mayor !
Leitzell may be the bossman, but Food Adventures are the Dukes of Facebook . Like these “Dayton Foodies” on FACEBOOK by clicking —–>HERE!
Some things are just Dayton born and Dayton bred. Tanks Bar & Grill on 2033 Wayne Avenue is a Dayton icon, much like The Wright Brothers, U.D. Arena and Dr. Creep. Opened in 1987 by Dan “Tank” Tankersley, the restaurant has become legendary in a short time. Although named for the owner, Tank’s name fits well because they bring out the heavy artillery in their food offerings. With a kitchen that opens very early and closes very late everyday, this is our kind of place. A place for foodies, heck it is more than that, it is a place for serious eaters. Loyalists have given Tanks a cult following, yet many suburbanites are unfamiliar with the spot & want to know, “Why all the love?” The answer is big portions of tasty food in a no frills atmosphere. This is an not a wuss place, the old house has character and if these walls could talk, there would be some good stories. You gotta love a place with 2 menus at all times.
Get your eat on, you are in the right spot.
HERE’S THE SKINNY:
— Open 7am – 2am everyday, plenty of time for a Food Adventure
— They serve breakfast all day. Brings a tear to our eye.
— Old School Joint where you wont leave hungry. The plates are big, but the prices are decent.
— The Beer Selection is immense. Lots of weird beers and unfamiliar bottle labels to experiment with and a few seasonal beers on tap too.
— TANK’S BURGERS: Are you kidding? If you go to Tank’s and eat one thing, make it a burger. People drive-in from all over the place for this stuff. This is one of the finest burgers in Dayton. You gotta’ try one.
— OMELET TANK’S WAY: This is a 10 egg omelet with over a dozen choices for ingredients. A massive, tasty creation with a cheap price. Chef House goes for the 6 egg omelet called the “girly.”
— ROAD KILL CHILI: As the menu says, this isn’t normal possum, it is the Oakwood kind. All kidding aside, this hearty chili is a warm splash of happiness. Doctor it up with some hot sauce and you have yourself one of the best chili’s in the area.
— HOMEMADE CHIP DIP: This isn’t store bought dip, it is made on site. When you are sluggin’ down a lot of beer, this creamy item is a pretty good accompaniment.
— WEDNESDAY SPECIAL ROAST BEEF HOT SHOT: An open face sandwich with roast beef, mashed potatoes and gravy. Comfort food at it’s best. It is a big portion, and again the price is right. You might want to take a nap an hour after eating this beast.
— HUSHPUPPIES: These homemade balls of deep fried love are almost as big as baseballs. Throw a few down your gullet or at your friends. They have a savory flavor with an addicting taste of sweetness.
— REUBEN: An amazing Reuben sandwich. Great bread, makes this sandwich in our humble opinion. No explanation or elegant description needed. Just eat it.
Here is a Food Adventure exclusive **SECRET**: This is NOT on the menu so you will have to ask for it. Try the Turkey Reuben and ask them to put cole slaw on it instead of sauerkraut. It is an incredible sandwich that you have to request. After you are addicted, you can thank us later. We are serious eaters, we know this shizzle. We don’t read the menu to tell you about things. We actually eat the food, all of it! Ask Dayton Mayor Gary Letizell who joined us for one of our Tank’s trips with his assistant Shelly. They realized this was a Food Adventure almost immediately.
Honorable Mention menu items are the fluffy Waffles, Grilled Cheese Tank’s Way, and the specialty hash browns served in heaping mounds. And all you fellow foodies, make sure you get the fresh cut fries as a side instead of chips, or we will run you over in a Sherman tank.
Tank’s Bar & Grill has earned its stellar reputation. It’s not trendy, it isn’t the flavor of the month, nor is it a swanky place where the pretty people eat. What you see is what you get, and the patrons keep coming back. If you have not visited this place, make sure you put it on your Food Adventure Hit List. Daytonians love Tank’s, and so do your humble Food Adventurers.
Like Food Adventures on Facebook HERE ! We are not food critics, we are just two guys that love to eat.
Check out more than 40 food porn pictures of various Tank’s Bar & Grill favorites in our Food Adventures Photo Album, below.