“That place is amazing.. have you ever heard of it?” …..no
“The food there is terrific, have you ever been?” …..nope
Some eateries are like Rodney Dangerfield. They don’t get the respect they deserve. The people who have been there seemed to love the place, but some don’t know the restaurant exists, and most haven’t been there. This is the frustrating… but in some ways the fun part of Food Adventures. We get to share some of the unsung spots, some that have even been around for decades. We get to introduce the masses to some great Miami Valley food spots that they may have never heard about.
Dayton’s culinary scene is a vast field of diamonds in the rough, and all of them need a little more attention from the public.
Food Adventures loves these places, and realize that you may not be familiar with many. Call them some of the underdogs of the industry, we call them delicious and some of our favorites.
Here they are, ranked in order……
DAYTON’S 35 MOST UNDERRATED FOOD SPOTS:
2229 Dryden Rd, Moraine, OH 45439
Maybe it’s the location on Dryden Rd. Maybe it’s the fact he isn’t open weekends, except for UD Flyer’s Home Basketball games. Whatever the reason, the homemade food at Vinny’s Bar and Grill is the most underrated place in Dayton. Our 2013 feature article spells it out. Virtually everything we have tried on this menu is outta sight. From chili, to homemade soups. From broasted chicken wings, to incredible vegetable dishes. Vinny’s has sandwiches and burgers that are crowd pleasers too. It is reminiscent of a mini-Doubledays type menu. Owner Vinny Nyhan makes almost everything homemade from tested recipes. But his hours are weekdays, since he is in the industrial business district. Heck he even has a carry out food area and a convenient store attached to the restaurant.
Highlights at Vinny’s are cheap chicken wing night every Thursday. The wings are big, delicious, broasted with various sauce choices. Other highlights include when his pal Rick’s Tropical Delight brings the Big Green Egg and cooks on the patio. He typically does this for UD Flyer home basketball games. That is when he features his famous: “Indoor Tailgate Buffet,” which is always a “must eat.” A full bar brings a sports bar feel to the place.
2) THE SPICY OLIVE:
3650 Rigby Rd, Miamisburg, OH 45342 Phone: (937) 247-5969
This place is one of our favorites, thanks the Hungry Jax who discovered it in Cincy. To say it is underrated is an understatement. Why? Because this store could revolutionize the way you cook at home. It has affected us for sure. Here we have a rare store, where the olive oil and balsamics are harvested at different parts of the globe at different times of the year, so you have the freshest product possible. The difference lends to taste and health. In a world of
where the olive oil industry is in turmoil with fake or diluted product, this store is a savior. Melanie Cedargren and her knowledgable staff are an asset to the Dayton community. With 2 other stores in Cincinnati, her brand is growing. Our favorite’s are the Butter Olive Oil, The Roasted Sesame Seed Oil, The Lemon Olive Oil and so many more…. Check out our past feature article on The Spicy Olive for more details
3273 Seajay Dr, Beavercreek, OH 45430
Unsung pizza place with an unforgettable atmosphere. Boxing posters and news clippings adorn the walls and even a speed bag hangs in the dining area. The coolest attraction is the dining room is inside 2 boxing rings. What gets overlooked? This place has terrific pizza, a semi-thin and crispy crust, cut into squares and served hot out of the oven on aluminum foil. “Must Eats” include the Taco Pizza, the EB pizza (everything but anchovies) and the Calzones. Rocky’s even hosts comedy nights once a month. Beer available on draft and in cans/bottles. A cold draft beer with pizza never tasted as good as when you’re sitting in Rocky’s Pizza Ring. Our previous feature article on Rocky’s goes in depth like no other.
4) LUCKY’S TAPROOM & EATERY:
520 E 5th St, Dayton, OH 45402
Andrew Trick, the owner, has a cult following of loyal Lucky patrons. He supports local businesses in every facet of his restaurant whenever possible and is known for charity work as well. Lucky’s is a warm, inviting place in the Oregon District with a historic feel. But what gets overlooked, is how good the food is here. And with one of the most eclectic beer selections in town, things only get better from there. “Must Eats” are the Sunday Brunch Menu, and Chef House loves the Avocado BLT and the hamburgers, because the meat is from Keener Farms. The chili and vegan menu selections round out a strong menu. Make sure you get the beer notebook so you can browse, then choose some of these rare brews to batter your fish with.
5) THE SKYBOX, HOLLYWOOD GAMING AT DAYTON RACEWAY:
777 Hollywood Blvd, Dayton, OH 45414
Yes, the new Racino. That’s where you find some of the most underrated eats in town. Tired of Slots? Had enough of trying to pick the ponies? Well you deserve a break in the sleek restaurant called the Skybox at the top of the casino, near the Horse Race simulcast area. In fact, during LIVE racing events, there are servers who bring these delicious menu items all over the Racino table viewing area. The result is a VIP feel, overlooking the track. What’s overlooked here? The Pizza, The All U Can Eat Ribs(special, not always available), The Prime Rib, and the soups.
6) CHASKA GRILL
39 Fiesta Ln, Miamisburg, OH 45342
Time to take a Food Adventure. This place specializes in Indian and Pakistani cuisine. The result is a slightly spicy version of the typical Indian fare in Dayton. The owners have a successful gig in West Chester and are spreading their business, and recipes to Dayton. What is being overlooked here is the main attraction… the buffet. It is a great chance to experiment, try to go out of your comfort zone, testing new foods. You can do this without having to order and ruin a full meal. Friendly service and a quiet atmosphere is typical on weekdays and weekends. We hope more people discover their great food. “Must Eats” are the Saag Paneer (creamed cheesy spinach), Chicken Tikka Masala and the Garlic Naan Bread
7) TREADWAY’S GARDEN:
10245 Dayton Lebanon Pike, Centerville, OH 45458
Where do you start? Three generations of hard-working family members make this the premier “side of the road” produce stop in the area. Why? They have the most beautiful produce. Luscious tomatoes, perfect squash, gorgeous zucchini are just the tip of the iceberg. Throw in the beautiful varieties of green and hot peppers, corn and melons, now you have the makings fo a great food spot. Bring a healthy taste of nature back to your home tonight, and cook up a summers meal that your family wont soon forget. During fall this is a prime place for pumpkins, gourds and more. Check out our in-depth feature story written before the passing of matriarch, Mrs Treadway.
8) CJ CHAN’S:
Two Locations: 2747 W Alex Bell Rd, Moraine and 536 Wilmington Ave, Dayton
Fairly new Asian Restaurant with 2 Dayton area locations. They feature both Chinese and Japanese food on the menu. What’s overlooked is the flavorful choices and decent prices. “Must Eats” are a long list here : General Tso’s Shrimp, Crab Rangoon, The CJ Roll, Pad Thai, Chicken Mei Fun, and Spicy Shrimp with Vegetables. If you have not been here , give this place a try. We don’t know one person who has been disappointed.
9470 Dayton Lebanon Pike, Dayton, OH 45458
Ok, it is a pizza joint, but what gets overlooked are the BBQ and Broasted chicken. We are here to tell you that they are the stars of the menu. I mean who else delivers BBQ Ribs and Brosted Chicken? “Must Eats” The Pulled Pork (ask for sides of BBQ sauce), The Broasted Whole Chicken Wings (ask for more BBQ sauce sides for dipping), Mashed potatoes and gravy and Calzones. The owner Robert Benson is a great guy and has won national pizza competitions, but his BBQ is so good, it steals the show. OMG and the sauce, his homemade BBQ sauce is incredible. Damn, this is making our mouths water thinking about it. Let’s call them….
10) THE TROLLEY STOP
530 E 5th St, Dayton, OH 45402
The Sassenberg family owns one of Dayton’s best kept secrets. Another charming, historic space in the Oregon Express where the food can shine. Many of you have seen the sign, but might not have stopped in. This place is overlooked for sure. Many are missing out on their burgers made from Keener Farm beef. Like the BELT Burger with bacon, egg, lettuce and tomato. Literally every sandwich is a winner from the Hippy Stacker to the Trolley Turkey. Much of these sandwiches are topped with veggies from Fulton Farms or Patchwork Gardens. And again, don’t overlook the beer selection here. They usually have a couple of rare brews on tap. It makes for interesting drinking times at this precious gem.
11) OREGON EXPRESS
336 E 5th St, Dayton, OH 45402
Heads up pizza lovers, this is THE MOST Underrated and unknown pizza in Dayton. The thin crusts are topped with generous
ingredients and sprinkled with spices that make the Oregon Express pizza taste unmistakable. Cut in the traditional squares, it is familiar but yet unlike anything you have tried. Bold flavors and a rich sauce are the secrets to their great pizza pies. A deluxe will out your taste buds in la la land. There is one must eat here, and it is a huge one. It is ANY OF THEIR PIZZAS.
12) DEROMA ITALIAN RESTAURANT:
6254 Chambersburg Rd, Huber Heights, OH 45424
We bet you have never been here. Well, it is time to go to Huber Heights. Tucked into the end of a small shopping strip, this quaint little Italian eatery delivers on food and flavor. Also, the proportions are nice, so you won’t walk out hungry. MUST EATS are manicotti, calamari, eggplant parmesan and the garlic rolls. These menu items are incredible. What is overlooked here is the sauce. A great marinara and alfredo sauce highlight almost all of the pasta dishes.
1000 N Main St, Dayton, OH 45405
This old Red Barn restaurant has some of the best soul food in town. From Must Eats like Fried Fish and Cheeseburgers, to all time favorites like the skillet cornbread and Dayton’s best Chicken wings (BBQ style). The homemade sides put it all in order like mom used to make. Served cafeteria style, it gives you a chance to see all of the day’s steaming hot entrees. The owners and staff are friendly and give to lots of charities. We love this spot. In fact you can view our in depth feature article on Benjamin’s, HERE.
14) SHEN’S SZECHUAN and SUSHI
7580 Poe Ave, Dayton, OH 45414
Boy oh boy, do the loyal customers love this place. They shout it loud and proud. However, this spot still gets overlooked. What you’re missing is an EXTENSIVE menu featuring two worlds: The Chinese Szechuan special way of cooking and The Japanese Sushi Menu. You will find rare must eats like the Peking Duck, Ginger Prawns and Velvet Seafood Soup. On the sushi end, try the Crazy Tuna Roll and the Rising Sun Roll. You gotta try this place for an elegant, special tour of the Orient for your taste buds. Soon to be one of your favorite spots, we promise.
15) LITTLE SAIGON
1718 Woodman Dr, Kettering, OH 45420
The outside is a lime green and blue colored shack. You wouldn’t believe that inside holds the most delicious pho soups and soft rolls that you
will ever try. Many miss seeing the place entirely because it is so small. Many judge the outer appearance and never venture in. all missing out. Again what is overlooked is a complete menu of Pho Soups and nice sized vegetarian menu. Must Eats? Oh that is easy – The Soft Shrimp Roll, Lemongrass Shrimp over Vermnicelli, the Vegetarian Spring Rolls, and the spicy Pho called “Shrimp and Pork Sate Soup with Egg noodles.” The owners have a tremendous story of coming to America for freedom. Today we benefit by enjoying their incredible family recipes. Try it, get out of your comfort one and live a little. You will be back ! For a full feature on Little Saigon, see or article HERE. This place must be amazing because it has been in business over 25 years!
16) BOURBON STREET GRILL:
1043 Brown St, Dayton, OH 45409
An old Cassano’s restaurant has turned into a unlikeley success story. It is all because of the food. And many still don’t know about this place! The eatery is busy and the fast-moving line is long but you still get served in a couple of minutes? Why? Because the staff busts its ass harder than most anyone we have ever seen. They serve up Must Eats like The Bourbon Chicken over rice or noodles, The Spicy Chicken over spicy rice, and what about the Blackened Salmon over Rice ? This place is so underrated it is sick. The food is great, the portions are gigantic and the price is right. See our Food Adventure article for an in-depth feature on Bourbon Street Grill.
298 Far Hills Ave, Centerville, OH 45459
An authentic Mexican place that has not been the big enchilada. Other Taqueria’s have gotten much more love, while this menu is very close to other 2 or 3 restaurants in town with food in the style of Mexico City. Corn tortilla tacos with onions, cilantro, lime juice with your choice of meat. Note, no cheese. Also absent is the white queso topping in the style of many Tex Mex restaurants. It is peasant food, made simple, enjoyed and authentic. The prices are reasonable too. Must Eats are the Pozole Soup, Chicken Fajitas, Camroone Ala Diabla (spicy shrimp), Chorizo Soft Tacos and the best Tamales we have ever eaten. Want more info? Check out our feature article on Chiapas HERE.
18) CHOP SUEY CARRYOUT:
1465 E Dorothy Ln, Dayton, OH 45429
When a place is named Chop Suey carryout, you have to try the Chop Suey.. and it’s the best in town for over 40 years. Still, not a large percentage have tried this spot. We don’t get it. The prices are great, and the food is stellar. Must Eats include 3 Chinese staple dishes:
Shrimp Chop Suey, Sweet n Sour Shrimp and Chicken Chow Mein. They have the tastiest and thickest creamy sauces. The recipes remain unchanged since the 70’s and we are grateful for that. Even the Egg Rolls are a must eat and a throwback to the Dayton Mall Charlie Chans. For more information, read our feature article on this, the oldest Chinese Restaurant in Dayton. Try it for carry out or eat in the dining room which is unchanged since the late 70’s when the Bee Gees ruled the pop charts.
4021 Dayton Xenia Rd, Beavercreek, OH 45432
If you have not been here, you are overlooking some of the most inventive and largest hand tossed pizza pies in Dayton. A cross between a NY style Pizza with toppings so unique they need special
names. We love this spot, and their Monday All you can eat pizza buffet is a hit and a MUST EAT. Try the 215 CheeseSteak Pizza, BLT pizza, Chicken Cordon Bleu Pizza and the Hamburger Pizza. A family owned business by some of the friendliest people in town. Theresa Geraci is always looking out for local charities anc giving back. We think that is pretty special. And so is their fresh dough pizza ! We featured Beavercreek Pizza dive in an article, check it out for a full scoop.
20) YAFFA GRILL
2844 Colonel Glenn Hwy, Fairborn, OH 45324 and 21 Alexandersville Rd, Miamisburg, OH 45342
Good food is good food in any language. That is the case at one of the most underrated eateries in the Miami Valley. Yaffa Grill was the focus of an article and you may want to read it for a full breakdown. There are 2 locations, one in West Carrollton and one by Wright State. We prefer the general store in West Carrollton, and the eat in restaurant in Fairborn. Flame grilled chicken kababs are delicious. These are marinated in special sauce and the flavor is unique and delicious. Must eats are the hummus like Musabara, the Eggplant salad and the grilled half chicken. If you are willing to take a chance and try this menu, you will light up with amazement and surprise.
21) GEORGE’S FAMILY RESTAURANT:
5216 N Dixie Dr, Dayton, OH 45414
Again, one of the family eateries that deserves more notoriety. The article we wrote on George’s 5 years ago still stands. “Must Eats” include Broasted Fish, The Cheeseburger, Peanut Butter Pie, and Banana Pudding Pie. The freshly ground chuck makes for some of the best burgers in Dayton. Their entire breakfast menu is also a must eat. Make sure you get to North Dixie and get some of this classic diner fare.
22) THE AMBER ROSE:
1400 Valley St, Dayton, OH 45404
This restaurant is the epitome of underrated. The menu is a one of a kind in Dayton. The German and Lithuanian dishes served are accented by inventive dishes. The Amber Rose has a great food variety, a “haunted” atmosphere, and an expert staff. Owner Joe Castellano and his chefs produce great meals. Known mostly for catering their restaurant is one of the most underrated places to grab a meal. If you have not been here make sure you try the Must Eats like Turtle Soup, Cabbage Rolls, Pierogies and the Dorito Crusted Chicken Sandwich special.
23) ASHLEY’S PASTRY SHOP:
21 Park Ave, Dayton, OH 45419
If Martin Sheen and Rob Lowe love this place, how could some people have not heard of this Oakwood bakery? Decades of delicious dedication have gained great regular following, but the masses need to know about this impeccable pastry spot. We did a feature article on Ashley’s Here. Must Eats are the “Yum Yums,” “Glazed Croissants,” and “Sandy Tarts.” Owner Theresa is like Dayton’s version of a baker’s Willy Wonka.
3002 Woodman Dr, Kettering, OH 45420
Old world favorites in an old Taco Bell building. An unlikely setting for some terrific eats, but Jimmy’s does just that. “Must Eats here are Manicotti, Pierogies, Pizza and the Pepperoni Roll. The restaurant is owned by a husband and wife. Did we mention that the cannoli are excellent? For a more detailed view of Jimmy Italian Kitchen check out our article on Dayton Most Metro.
25) THE CAKERY:
140 Woodman Dr, Dayton, OH 45431
Another locally owned family place that is outta sight. They are so inventive here that they take the cake scraps to make a huge, colorful dessert that is very popular, called Rainbow Cake. It is a perfect place to get your birthday cakes. In fact the “Must Eats” are a Chocolate Cake with Buttercream icing, Cream Puffs, Buttercream shots and Snickerdoodle Cupcakes. Hungry Jax uses this baker for cakes and cupcakes and got us tuned into this store. Check out our feature story on the Cakery for an in depth analysis of their baked goods.
26) NIDA THAI CUISINE:
853 E Franklin St, Dayton, OH 45459
Very unknown restaurant tucked into a strip mall across from Centerville High School. Must Eats are the Curry Shrimp Soup and the Shrimp Pad Thai. We promise more Food Adventures at this location, so we can discover the inner workings of the place. Fresh, hot food at a decent price. These guys know the secret.
27) THE STONE HOUSE TAVERN:
258 S Main St, Waynesville, OH 45068
Archer’s sister restaurant doesn’t get as much love as the siblings. It doesn’t make sense because some of the same great food and beer are at both spots. patio is one of Dayton’s best. Hungry? Come to Waynesville and enjoy some great food and fun. Must Eats at Stone House are the Beer Selection (yes it is a great one to wade through), Burgers, Spartan Style Wings and the Crawfish Mardi Gras Boil. Stay tuned for another Food Adventure dinner here in the coming months.
2303 W Main St, Troy, OH 45373
A hibachi mom and pop restaurant with a full sushi bar. Yes, this place is incredible and their signature is using bean sprouts in their hibachi veggie choices. you havent lived until you’ve scorched some bean sprouts baby. The staff stops bows and says Hi to everyone who enters. If you want you can tease them by leaving and coming back in multiple times. MUST EATS here are the Hibachi Steak, Hibachi Shrimp, Scallop and Lobster combo. For sushi Must Eats are the Spider Roll and the Spicy Tuna roll.
29) HINDER’S SPORTS BAR & GRILL:
902 W Main St, Tipp City, OH 45371
Another place witha cult following, especially because of their Must
Eats.. WINGS ! The burgers are Must Eats too. There is buzz surrounding this place, but again, especially in South Dayton, many have never heard of this gem. Time to head to Tipp City and end the speculation and see for yourself. small price to pay for a perfect wing and perfect hot sauces.
30) ROMER’S BAR & GRILL:
4439 W Franklin St, Bellbrook, OH 45305
A fantastic, underrated menu in Bellbrook. Must Eats are the one and only stuffed burger, The Juicy Lucy a Minnesota
inspired favorite. We also recommend the sliced in-house Beef and Cheddar Sandwich. The homemade Turkey Balls, homemade jalapeno caps fried, and Reuben Sandwiches slow roasted in-house. We did a feature article on Romer’s a few years back and it is still timely today. Read it HERE.
31) MCINTOSH’S PUB & GRUB:
6 E Franklin St, Bellbrook, OH 45305
Cult Following where the rumble is about the wings. Must Eats are the Blackened Wings, the Half Pound Cheeseburger and the Pizza (which is Ron’s). This place has a fun fell and atmosphere and a great spot to have some beers and watch the big game. Underrated? Indeed… Trek over to Bellbrook next time you are hungry and see why.
32) BUNKERS SPORTS BAR & GRILL:
893 E National Rd, Vandalia, OH 45377
Burgers and Wings are the MUST EAT Hallmarks here. People in Vandalia know it, but others, not so much. The other amazing thing here is their digital beer list on the wall. Maybe 30 draft beers on tap? A great selection, with many beers you wont see anywhere else in town. ‘ the kind of thing that makes this place underrated. Good brew, good grub and a place to enjoy it all. The menu is very reasonably priced. the only ting missing from this restaurant is you.. give it a go.
33) FIFTH STREET BREWPUB:
1600 E 5th St, Dayton, OH 45403
An improved, remodeled kitchen catapulted this place up into underrated status. Now, they are churning out gourmet pub food and it is matching the beer choices perfectly. MUST EATS HERE.. come on.. their beer, especially the easy drinking Cream Ale and 1600 Kolsch Beer. More “must eats” are the Co-op cheese curds, the cheeseburger, the seared salmon salad, and the Wedge. Dive into this place head first, because the big menu and great choices will take you a few visits to get a good sampling. Bring a friend down here, chances are they have not tried the food.
34) NORTH CHINA:
6090 Far Hills Ave, Dayton, OH 45459
The best Chinese food in town in Big Ragu’s humble opinion. There is a huge Szechuan and Mandarin Menu and even some Korean
Noodle meals. Why underrated? Since 1987 the quality has been top-notch but still, many people don’t know they exist because they never advertise.. ever. MUST EATS include Mongolian Chicken Spicy, Crispy Shrimp, and worlds Greatest Egg Rolls. Great service has always been a priority and we hope it continues. Check out our article on this underrated classic.
35) VOLTZY’S ROOT BEER STAND:
4668 N Springboro Pike, Moraine, OH 45439
The soup nazi of Dayton is the owner of this cult classic. Rick Volz has been slapping burgers for almost 30 years in Dayton and still some people have never heard of him. If you love burgers, this is your Mecca. If you love soups, behold the winter months are yours. MUST Eats are simple The 10 for $12 cheeseburgers, The Hog (a 20 ounce cheeseburger), a Mug of Root Beer, and Cabbage Roll Soup. Remember these keys to survival at Voltzys or you will feel his sarcastic wrath ! First call your order in ahead of time. Second, don’t substitute or delete ingredients he has on the sandwiches unless it is a last resort. Check out our detailed article on Voltzy’s.
How many of these places have you been too? Unless you are a super foodie, we bet not many. But here’s your chance. Now you have some spots to seek out some new Food Adventures for yourself. You can find some Miami Valley culinary treasure, because now you have the map. Aren’t you glad you follow Food Adventures for tips like these?
We hope you enjoyed our list. Please comment and let us know if we left out and places that should have made the article.