Now a gastro intestinal look back at the food year that was… 2015.
Who burst on the Dayton food scene in 2015? Who left us forever, breaking foodie’s hearts? The Miami Valley saw a lot of comings and goings this past year. Food Adventures is here to review the list and get your comments on the gains and losses in 2015.
Whether you liked it, loved it, or lost it, Dayton dining would never be the same. Don’t forget to comment below, and let your opinion be heard.
HERE WE GO …………..
WHO SIZZLED ONTO THE SCENE in 2015?
BAD DOG, NICE TACO: It is part “on site food vendor” and part catering/delivery business. This company has really turned some heads with the delicious dogs, tacos, nachos and omelettes served at various events and breweries. Co-owner is our very own Chef House who has evolved the business over 2015 to include delivery and catering. Fresh, local ingredients is the philosophy of Bad Dog, Nice Taco and the inventive toppings and salsas are sure to excite your taste buds. Launched in July 2015, we look for more innovative food from them in the new year.
BAGGER DAVE’S BURGER TAVERN: A chain with big burgers and regional craft beers. They boast no walk in freezers and serve all their meat fresh. Did we tell you that they make their own soft drinks too? Every Thursday, Bagger Dave’s features 50% off craft beers. Expect this place to be packed with thirsty patrons! The Big Ragu says – Get an appetizer of deep fried artichokes and stick to their specialty burger menu page, you won’t go wrong. Also, some of the best chili in town.
BENNETT’S PUBLICAL: Miamisburg’s newest sports bar just opened at 67 S. Main Street. Coined a “family sports pub,” The atmosphere is very nice with a wood, oak and old brick rustic feel. Yet it keeps an inviting elegance about it. We love sports bars and their specialty is wings with spiced breading. They also have gravy fries. Yes Dayton, gravy fries. We need this place in our life. Did we mention bacon wrapped, Gorgonzola stuffed dates? The Big Ragu says cancel all of his appointments… see ya there.
CHIAPA’S MEXICAN GRILL: “Authentic” Mexican food comes to Centerville. The buzz has been good, with raves about the tacos. A small, clean casual joint, Chiapas is a perfect place for a quick bite or a relaxed meal. We look forward to trying it as soon as the opening crowds subside. Early feedback says it is similar to both Taco Loco and Taqueria Mixteca.
CHUY’S TEX-MEX: A chain restaurant that invaded both Austin Landing and Fairfield Commons Mall this year. Known for great guacamole, huge portions and a strange Elvis shrine & Mexico connection, it is a fun, party atmosphere. The Elvis love continues with Menu items called “Green Chile fried chicken” and “The Elvis Presley Memorial Combo” featuring enchiladas. With other entrees named “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom” and Burritos “as big as yo’ face,” how can you not love this place?
CORNER KITCHEN: If your food is made with love from scratch, people will crave more. That is the philosophy of The Corner Kitchen on the corner of Fifth St and Wayne Ave. Great excitement surrounded the opening of this restaurant, and they have delivered with a delicious menu. We look for big stuff in the future from the culinary duo of owners Jack and Natalie Skilliter.
DAYTON BEER COMPANY, DOWNTOWN: This new location could not be more different than the original Dayton Beer Company on Dorothy Lane. The downtown location on Madison Street, is huge. It is a warehouse atmosphere with a Hofbrau house feel. The giant facility features an outdoor patio, brewing area, seating and the enormous bar. The bar showcases a huge selection of 36 beers. The beer menu is listed on wooden planks above the bar. Only Ohio beers are featured, As kegs blow, workers will scramble to climb a ladder and replace a plank with a new beer choice or replacement. This is what a brew house should feel like. Congrats to owner, Peter Hilgeman!
DONA MARGAROTA’S: A Mexican restaurant that opened in Yellow Springs in 2015 has been catching some rave reviews. The owners have transformed a former KFC into a nice little Mexican diner. We here the steak tacos are a must eat ! The place definitely has personality and people with a passion for food behind it.
ELE CAKE BISTRO & WINE BAR: This sleek little bar in Austin Landing also serves small plates from ribs to ravioli. Of course besides a nice wine and beer selection, they have a full line of coffees. But this is Ele, the legendary desserts here are a must to either eat in or take home. A great place to treat yourself after a rough work day, or a perfect place to meet a friend for a drink!
FRONANA: Robert Walker has a hell of a product. A healthy, all natural banana based ice cream like dessert that is healthy and tastes sinful. In 2015, he went from just a bike/cart peddler to a brick and mortar business on West First Street. One of the most inventive guys we have met, his personality and service with a smile has attracted ice cream lovers from all over the Dayton area. Did you know you can find his stuff in Dorothy Lane Market and Dot’s Market, too ?
GREAT STEAK & AMERICA’s TACO SHOP: A split store featuring the old mall food court standard “Great Steak and Potato Company” menu and the edgy chain of “America’s Taco Shop” who features Tacos al Pastor and Carne Asada. Cheesesteaks and Tacos anyone? Sounds like a great Food Adventure stop.
IHOP: After 3 decades, The International House of Pancakes is back and plans to expand locations in Dayton. Get ready for more whipped cream as the Miami Valley is going “Rooty Tooty Fresh n Fruity.” Does anyone remember the IHOP on the corner of 725 and 741 where Waffle House is now ? We do and wonder do they still have the strawberry, blueberry, butter pecan, and boysenberry flavored syrups?
KETTERING GRILL AND CAFE: An extensive menu, and they serve breakfast all day? We just fell in love. From the pasta dishes, to the breakfast, our meals have always been stellar. Located at 3800 Wilmington Pike, we look for some more great food to be served by this spot in 2016.
MACK’S TAVERN: Owner Mackenzie Manley has a passion for serving good food and drink. Mack’s Tavern first burst on the scene before they opened by winning the “Best Bloody Mary in Dayton” competition. Since then she has been tweaking her family recipes and coming up with inventive menu items. From the Boar Bites to the inventive pizzas, or signature Mack n cheese dishes, this menu is perfect for tasty late night food or lunch.
MARILYN GRILL: A new soul food restaurant is in business on 143 N. Main Street, They even feature a Sunday buffet. Ribs, Wings and Pulled Pork are some of their specialties. Mouthwatering photos of Cheesesteaks on their Facebook page warrant a visit by themselves! We have a Food Adventure date reserved in 2016 for these guys!
NELLY’S CHICKEN: A family owned business that really just changed locations from West Carrollton to 79 S. Main St. in Centerville in 2015. They also kicked up their concept a notch. Bolivian spiced, rotisserie chicken is the mainstay of the menu. Authentic Bolivian side dishes add to the exotic menu as does the atmosphere. The Santillan family are friendly and own the eatery. They have incorporated many family members into the business.
NIBBLES: Chef Maria Walusis has a fine dining menu that you must try. Her restaurant is turning heads at 105 S. 2nd Street in Miamisburg. From crab cakes to creme brulee, this gourmet restaurant even hosts private events. Also check out the cocktail selections while you are there.
NIDA THAI CUISINE: Locals say this new Thai spot is beginning to get a cult following. Located at 853 E. Franklin St in Centerville, the restaurant hits the basics of Thai cuisine, soups, curry, stir fry, noodle and pad dishes. We have put this eatery on our hit list of new ones to try, and a Food Adventure is in order.
OLIVE MEDITERRANEAN GRILL: Also known as Falastin Cuisine and Mediterranean Hookah, this family owned restaurant is at 6129 N. Dixie. Owned by a husband and wife team, they hope to bring fresh tastes of exotic cuisine to the area. They have some of the best looking Kufta Beef kabobs we have ever seen. We are looking forward to a Food Adventure visit to this spot, soon!
OLLIE’S PLACE: A wonderful beer store, and a restaurant with an unparalleled beer selection. The restaurant features 60 beers on tap and about 95 bourbons to choose from. That doesnt even count the extensive bottled beer slelction. And food, whoa the food is good. Very unique menu items from bacon tempura asparagus to the cranberry spring rolls. With a store next door of 1800 beers, where do you think we stocked up our beer supplies on New Years for our parties?? Check this place out on 725 in Centerville, and prepare yourself for brew overload.
PARK CITY CLUB: Chef Dana Downes of Roost has a great reputation, and big things are expected out of her new restaurant near Fraze Pavillion. The menu is affordable gourmet cuisine and even features a Sunday brunch. We will be visiting Dana and her staff soon and cant wait to try some of the creations like the “Carribean Fried Chicken Thighs.” See you at their 580 Lincoln Park location!
PERSIS INDIAN GRILL: This is a chain restaurant with its first Ohio location at 9486 Springboro Pike. We have not had a chance to try the food yet, but the atmosphere looks very nice. Their specialty is a “Dum Biryani” style entree with your choice of meat. It is over rice and sounds like the main spices are lemon and tumeric. This is a perfect place for a Food Adventure!
RAPID FIRED PIZZA: Locally owned concept of a quick “build your own pie” with various ingredients. Think of it as a “top your own” thin crust which is then cooked by a wood fired oven. Fresh, quick and delicious are the hallmarks of this parlor. Based on the crowds, it seems to be a pretty popular new spot. Signature salads are another popular draw here.
SG 75 BISTRO: Formerly “Sooo Good Cafe,” they went for plan “B” this time. We mean “B” as in Burgers, Bacon, Brews and Bourbon. That is their menu mantra, which includes some killer signature sandwiches that feature a fried chicken breast or portbella mushroom. We have heard great things about this place and will report back after an extensive foodie investigation.
SONG’S SUSHI: A Korean and Japanese restaurant, well known for their sushi. With one of the more elaborate Korean menus in town, this place will give any foodie a fun chance to explore their tastes. Lots of good online buzz about this place on Airway Rd.
SPENT GRAIN GRILL: Food at Warped Wing Brewery?? YES ! Andrew Trick from Lucky’s is partnering to bring food made from scratch to thirsty and hungry patrons. The name spent grain, refers to the leftover malt after the brewing process, and they will be using it to make flour. The buns, soft pretzels, tortilla, pizza dough and more is made with the in house flour. But we think there wont be much leftovers here as the menu looks delicious. We will be having a Food Adventure with the owners soon!
TWIST CUPCAKERY: A Confectioner that opened downtown specializing in cupcakes, wedding and birthday cakes. Their motto seems to be “baking is our passion.” By the looks of their prodcuts, they are some talented, passionate baking artists. We need to try these guys out ! They are located in the heart of downtown at 25 S. St. Clair St.
THE SPICY OLIVE: This amazing shop features dozens of infused flavor olive oils, and balsamic vinegars. If you like to cook, this place is a dream world, and will make your life so much easier. The fresh oils and flavors will kick anyone’s home meals up a notch. Out of Cincinnati, this is the 3rd shop opened by owner Melanie Cedargren.
THE SUSHI CLUB: All-you-can-eat sushi? YES! Made to order? YES! The first of its kind in the Dayton area, this concept has evolved and now includes all-you-can-eat hibachi, appetizers and even desserts as part of their “endless menu.” So now you don’t have to be a sushi eater to enjoy the place. If you love sushi, this is your Disneyland, on Alex Rd in West Carrollton. If you are a beginner, it is a perfect opportunity to explore, sample and experiment with various options.
WINAN’S CHOCOLATES, CENTERVILLE: A nice coffee and chocolate shop has opened near the corner of Far Hills and Whipp Rd. It has all of the favorites you have come to love from Winan’s. Yes, “Wetzels” have finally come to Washington Township. For some of you it brings your cravings much more closer to home.
WRIGHT WING, KETTERING: This is an expansion of the Fairborn restaurant and is located on Wilmington Pike in the old Buckin Donkey Grille. This is a manly menu with wings, subs and pizzas. We hope them continued success in 2016.
ZOUP!: A soup and salad joint that was part of the big reconstruction on Miamisburg Centerville Rd where Whole Foods was erected. This chain restaurant features salads, but the main draw is soups. From Lobster Bisque to Chicken and Dumpling Soup, this pace has the gourmet soups, to comfort soups, to everything in between. A great place to visit when you are on the go.
WHAT RESTAURANTS THAT CLOSED THEIR DOORS in 2015?
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 couldnt 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.
BUCKIN’ DONKEY GRILL: We cried when this place on Wilmington Pike closed. From the Frosted Flake French Toast to thew Pierogi Burger, to the incredible pies and desserts, this place was special. Owner Sean still caters and sells pies, and says you never know if you might see the Donkey again at another location. We hope to see it happen!
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 cant 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.
OINK-a-DOODLE-MOO: The Kettering location was closed in 2015, yet a couple area spots are still open. Owners had previously indicated re-opening in another location. Stay tuned in 2016 for future developments. Affordable BBQ will always be missed, we hope they re-open soon.
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.
PASHA GRILL II: Opened 2 weeks before it closed. We hardly knew ya! The owner realized shortly after opening that he would be unable to run 2 restaurants at once.
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.
PONDEROSA STEAKHOUSE: For decades this steakhouse chain has had a hold in the Miami Valley. At one time the CEO lived in the Dayton area. Not even that could help the steakhouse recover as it fizzled year after year. We will miss the tin plates, ribeyes and chopped steaks. We will miss the dinner rolls and fighting for tongs at the crowded salad bar. So long partner, as you ride off into the sunset.
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 couldnt 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 fro 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?
There you have it, the food year in review for 2015. Did we miss any? Which ones are you excited to see? Which ones closed that you are heartbroken about? Please comment below and give the Dayton area some feedback !
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