New Tex-Mex restaurant, apartments open downtown

Local Cantina has opened in the Centerfield Flats at Water Street. The chain’s Dayton restaurant is the first location outside of central Ohio. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF
Local Cantina has opened in the Centerfield Flats at Water Street. The chain’s Dayton restaurant is the first location outside of central Ohio. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

Water Street's newest dining and living options are now open — and the apartments are filling up, while the restaurant is full of tasty Tex-Mex eats.

Tenants started moving into the Centerfield Flats apartments the weekend after Thanksgiving, and at last count, nearly 40 percent of the 112 units have been leased, the developer said.

“It’s off to a really good start,” said Jason Woodard, principal of Woodard Development, one of the lead developers of Water Street.

Local Cantina opened its downtown Dayton location in a ground floor space of the Centerfield Flats building, located along East First Street, next to Fifth Third Field. This is the first restaurant the Tex-Mex chain has opened outside of the greater Columbus area.

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All the Centerfield Flats apartments have been completed, inspected and are ready for occupancy, Woodard said.

Leasing has been steady, especially for this time of year, which tends to more quiet when it comes to apartment rental activity, he said. About 80 percent of all moves take place between April and September, according to some estimates.

Centerfield Flats, at 204 Sears St., is at the eastern end of the ballpark where the Dayton Dragons play, and Woodard expects the apartments to be nearly full by the time the first pitch is thrown in the upcoming season. The Dayton Dragons' first game is April 9.

“You see a lot of activity in the spring time frame,” Woodard said.

Many of the Centerfield Flats apartments overlook the ballpark, providing clear views of the baseball diamond and games. Units on the upper floors of the five-story building have balconies and great views of the ballpark and downtown skyline or other sections of the city, Woodard said.

“If you have one facing east, you can see forever,” he said.

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The Centerfield Flats are completed and almost 40 percent of the apartments are leased. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF
The Centerfield Flats are completed and almost 40 percent of the apartments are leased. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

Local Cantina opened the 4,500-square-foot restaurant in a “soft opening” mode last week, said Leanna McKenney Heath, spokeswoman for the Columbus-based chain.

Plans call for serving lunch on weekdays starting sometime after the first of the year. The new eatery is across the street from Brixx Ice Company. Local Cantina operates nine restaurants in the greater Columbus area, but the Dayton location is the chain’s first outside central Ohio.

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The restaurant serves several varieties and combinations of tacos, and also offers appetizers, fajitas, burritos, quesadillas, nachos, salads, and a self-serve chips-and-salsa station. The taco options include Roasted Carnitas, Grilled Fish, BBQ Beef Brisket, Tinga Chicken, Baja Shrimp, Tempura Shrimp and Nashville Hot Chicken.

The new restaurant has a full liquor license and an extensive selection of craft beers and spirits. A brunch menu is served from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends. Catering is available.

“Dayton has undergone a recent transformation with booming development,” George Tanchevski, owner of Local Cantina, said in a release earlier this year, when plans for the new restaurant were revealed. “Crawford Hoying (developer at Water Street District and Centerfield Flats) has been a trusted partner of ours for several years, and being so close to the locally loved Dragons stadium inspired us to choose this location.”