What to try at three of Dayton's amazing new restaurants

9:12 p.m Sunday, Nov. 20, 2016 What To Do

It’s a good time to be heading out to eat in Dayton, Ohio.

The number of restaurant openings and announcements have been happening at a rapid-fire pace recently with several new places that are now open with others on the horizon.

Here’s a look at a few of the new players in the local dining scene that I’ve had the opportunity to visit and enjoy.

Looking for a taste of Italy in a hip, industrial communal dining hall that seems more like you are Austin, Texas than Dayton?

Look no further.

Old Scratch, which opened a little over a month ago, specializes in Napolitan-style pizzas that are delivered piping hot and crisp from special wood fired ovens.

The ovens, which reach temperatures of 800 to 1,000 degrees, cook the pizzas up in two minutes or less, so the wait times for food are extremely short, which is good news when you are in a hurry to get to your next calendar appointment or event.

The kitchen ingredients are fresh, the cocktails and beer are served up nice and cold and there’s seating to accommodate 125 hungry diners. It’s conveniently located and turns an order far quicker than other restaurants making it the perfect destination for those on a deadline.

Old Scratch Pizza hosted a soft opening the weekend prior to their October 18 public opening. Pizza and drinks were available for patrons through the lunch and dinner hours. (TABATHA WHARTON/STAFF) 

The menu features build-your-own pizzas with a red or white base or a variety of creative pizza options like the Angry Beekeeper topped with hand-crushed tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil, spicy soppressata, hot honey and olive oil ($12) or the fried bologna pizza made with olive oil, mortadella, roasted garlic, taleggio, thyme and pistachios ($12).

A delicious whole roasted cauliflower made simply with olive oil and Romesco sauce ($10) is a great option for vegetarians or those eating gluten-free.

The hearty meatballs ($9) are tender and savory, while the salad options — like the house ($9 for the whole, $5 for the half) featuring a base of romaine topped with red onion, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, chickpeas, croutons and creamy Italian dressing — are worth sharing with a pizza to make a meal.

It’s a casual concept that delivers on flavor and is priced right.

This welcome addition to downtown is currently in a soft open phase, but I have had two really promising meals at Table 33 so far that I have very much enjoyed.

The abbreviated menu may be small right now, but everything on there is flavorful and well prepared.

A pumpkin soup ($4 for a cup, $6 for a bowl) made with roasted organic pumpkin, red pepper, coconut milk topped with honey cinnamon coconut cream, cilantro and toasted pumpkin seeds has a refreshing Thai kick to it and was the perfect way to warm up as the weather was cooling off.

The quiche options ($6 for a piece) are savory and filling, the grilled corn chicken salad ($11) was bright and refreshing and the vibrant, kicky fresh-pressed Harry Pearay fruit juice ($6) made with organic anjou pear, cucumber, lime and jalapeño juice are all items I would order again.

Everything, including an impressive line of baked goods, is gluten-free at Table 33. Great for those who need to stay away from it, and for those who don’t, forget I said anything — you won’t know the difference.

Table 33 opens today in downtown Dayton

One part juice bar, one-part coffee bar, one-part bakery, two-parts breakfast and lunch restaurant, the business prides itself on locally sourced ingredients and helping play a part in the downtown Renaissance, opening up in a space that was vacated in August 2015 when Cold Beer and Cheeseburgers abruptly closed.

The vibe and some of the dishes put me in mind of the wonderful Northstar Cafe, that launched in Columbus more than a decade ago. There’s no question that it is very early to judge this independent restaurant, but I am excited to see where the next year takes this forward-thinking refreshing concept.

The next few months will see the restaurant expand as it finds its rhythm and footing, and I can’t wait to re-visit and see what it’s up to.

I’m especially hoping they open for performance nights at the nearby Schuster Performing Arts Center when options are scarce and demand for interesting food and drink is high.

When one door closes, another opens.

Such is the case with the newly opened Zombie Dogz restaurant that moved in to the space previously occupied by Shish Wraps on Brown Street near UD.

It’s a major sea change for the business that was named Ohio Magazine’s 2016 “Best Food Truck in Ohio” and nabbed second place for Mobile Cuisine’s 2016 Hot Dog Vendor of the Year.

The owners say the food truck will be out and about for special events, but for now they will focus on growing business at their newly opened restaurant that has been serving up dogs for a week now.

One piece of good news is the hours — they are open seven days a week and open until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays when you are looking for a late-night bite.

The menu will rotate with several Zombie Dogz mainstays anchoring the menu and seasonal dogs popping up thoughout the month. All featured dogs are $6 each.

Photo by Amelia Robinson
Zombie Dogz on Brown Street in Dayton. 

The current menu gives you a sense of what to expect as far as toppings on beef, veggie or chicken dogs go:

The dogs are huge, but for those who are extra hungry, there are a range of sides to choose from, including:

The restaurant is adding gluten-free buns to the mix, which will be a cause for celebration for some.

For those who can’t get enough gluten, Beavercreek’s Cake Hope & Love will have three special cupcakes for sale.

Zombie Dogz owners have said that going forward they will be looking at adding a weekend brunch and a robust craft beer list.

In the meantime many, including myself, are just happy that we now know where to find Zombie Dogz when a craving hits. The location couldn’t be more perfect. It’s no stretch to predict that this is going to be a huge hit with UD students.

Hours: 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10:30 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Sundays.

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