Some of the best Dayton 'gems' to show your holiday guests this weekend

When friends and family come to Dayton for the holiday season, we like to take them out and show them what this great city has to offer.

But here are some places that may not be top of mind:

But, wonderful as many of our attractions are, it can be tough to keep the local tour fresh. So we compiled a list of some our favorite newer gems to take folks during the holidays.


They are the mainstays that make the food you crave when you are away or that your friends or family members just have got to try when they visit.

Over the years, these eateries have have helped define what it means to live here.

These restaurants have been serving the community quality grub for decades. We hope they continue to make Dayton a great place to eat for decades to come.

El Meson, The Paragon Supper Club, Jay’s Seafood, The Golden Lamb, The Winds, Franco’s, Mamma DiSalvo’s, The Pine Club and The Oakwood Club are just a few.

>> Classic Dayton restaurants you have to try and love


These places haven’t been around for long, but they are definitely places worth checking out and showing off.

The Van Buren Room

The new cocktail bar in Dayton that just opened will WOW and impress friends with your Dayton-savvy tour guide talent. Van Buren Room is next to the Belle of Dayton distillery operations and designed to pay homage to the original Belle of Dayton bottle discovered in a pile of broken glass near a Prohibition-era speakeasy that once operated in downtown Dayton. It makes use of many vintage items, including a horse trolley rail that dates back to 1910. The Van Buren Room is located at 122 Van Buren St. in the Oregon District.

Explore>>PREVIOUS COVERAGE: 1900s-themed cocktail bar now open in the Oregon District

Credit: Wheat Penny Oven and Bar

Credit: Wheat Penny Oven and Bar

Brunch at Wheat Penny

This popular downtown restaurant famous for its amazing pizza is now gaining a reputation for its brunch.

To get in on the brunching madness, you’ll have to visit Wheat Penny either Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. or Sundays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Try breakfast sandwiches, Ricotta Cheese Pancakes, Poached Eggs in a Spicy Tomato Sauce served on Cheese Polenta and Sauteed Spinach with Focaccia Toast.

>> Brunch at Wheat Penny has arrives and it was worth the wait

D20: A Bar with Characters

If you’re looking for a unique experience, this may be your place.

Game-themed artisan cocktails and craft beer. Classic family board games.

From fantasy dice and card games to the classic family board games, the bar has more than 300 to choose from. The owners hope that, by excluding televisions and video games, it will encourage customers to communicate with one another more.

>> Kettering bar has 300 board games, craft beer and cocktails and no TVs

Zombie Dogz

Where else can you get the Calling In Dead or the Juan Of The Dead dogs? They've been flying out the doors since Zombie Dogz, the beloved food truck, added a brick-and-mortar location (1200 Brown St.) last year. Your friends will be talking about these dawgs until their next visit.

“We are passionate about funky, sour, farmhouse-inspired beers, and not a lot of other people do that,” Joyce told

Best of Dayton first-place eats, drinks

Looking for the best of the best? These places were voted the Best of Dayton in 2017 by the people.

Best Asian and Best Sushi: Ozu852

Best Breakfast: Blueberry Cafe

Best Brunch: Dublin Pub

Best Burger: Slyder's Tavern

Best Cocktails: Century Bar

Best Coffeehouse: Ghostlight Coffee

Best Craft Beer Selection: Ollie's Place

Best Deli: Canal Street Arcade & Deli

Best Diner: George's Family Restaurant

Best Donuts: Bill's Donut Shop

Best Fine Dining: Watermark

Best Indian Food: Amar India

Best Italian Food: Mamma DiSalvo's

Best Late-night Grub: Tank's Bar & Grill

Best Local Brewery: Warped Wing Brewing Company

Best Margarita: Elsa's

Best Mediterranean/Greek Dining: Olive Mediterranean Grill

Best Mexican Food: El Toro Mexican Bar & Grill

Best Pizza: Old Scratch Pizza

Best Place to Take an Out-of-Towner and Best Steak: The Pine Club

Best Seafood: Jay's Seafood

Best Taco: Taqueria Mixteca

Best Vegan Dining: Lucky's Taproom & Eatery

Best Wine Selection: Wine Gallery

Best Wings: Bunkers Sports Bar & Grill

>> BEST OF DAYTON 2017 WINNERS: Food & Dining

Where to grab a beer

Dayton’s newest brewery, Branch & Bone

The Dayton area’s newest craft brewery, Branch& Bone Artisan Ales is the brainchild of founders John Joyce, Brett Smith and Kevin Kriegel, long-time local brewing enthusiasts whose love for Belgian-style brewing methods promises to make Branch & Bone’s brews a bit different than the beers of other Dayton-area craft breweries.

“We are passionate about funky, sour, farmhouse-inspired beers, and not a lot of other people do that,” one of the founders John Joyce told us.

The tap room will hold about 55. The brewery does not have a kitchen, but the nearby Pizza Factory delivers, and other carry-in food is welcomed.

>> Downtown’s newest brewery is unlike any other in Dayton

Credit: Jim Witmer

Credit: Jim Witmer

Dayton beer crawl

Dayton's craft beer industry has continued to surge its way into the hearts and minds of yeast and hop lovers the world over. In the city alone you could hit Dayton’s favorites like Toxic Brew Co., Fifth Street Brewpub, Carillon Brewing Co., Warped Wing Brewing Company and Dayton Beer Company before making your way to the surrounding communities.

>> Dayton’s craft beer walking trail is growing

Dive into a dive bar

Looking for somewhere low-key to kick back and grab a beer with the family?

The family that drinks together stays together, right?

Try places like Kramers (famous for its pizza), Clancy’s (famous for its beer selection and screens), Tank’s Bar & Grill (famous for its all-day breakfast and late-night eats), the Double Deuce (famous for its pizza) or Kings Table (famous for craft beer and pool tables).

>> These classic Dayton bars are perfect places to drink up with the relatives

Best places to visit




One of Dayton’s fabulous MetroParks amenities got a whole new look this year and finally reopened after closing for renovations for more than 600 days. The Cox Arboretum MetroPark is lovely as it is, but the 65-foot-tall tree tower puts visitors above the tree line and gives a grand view of the Dayton-area. The tower was closed back in September 2016, meaning this is definitely a great, new spot for Dayton newbies. Cox Arboretum is located at 6733 N Springboro Pike, Dayton.

Explore>>PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Dayton’s iconic tree tower is open once again: 3 things to know

Credit: Sarah Franks

Credit: Sarah Franks


Oh yeah, something else new about the Gem City since your guests’ last visit— we have our very own museum that’s a part of thee National Parks Service. Back in August, it was unveiled that Carillon Historical Park is now home to the Wright Brothers Aviation Center. The John W. Berry Sr. Wright Brothers National Museum at Carillon Historical Park is open to the public. Formerly named the Wright Brothers Aviation Center, the exhibit includes the 1905 Wright Flyer III: the only airplane designated a National Historic Landmark, the first practical flying machine, and what the Wright brothers considered their most important aircraft.

The museum is located at Carillon Historical Park at 1000 Carillon Blvd, Dayton.

Explore>>PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Dayton now home to Wright Brothers National Museum


The new and highly-anticipated Memphis Belle exhibit at the National Museum of the United States Air Force opened earlier this year, and now it is one of the most unique at the museum.

The exhibit includes the aircraft suspended above the floor of the museum. This allows visitors full access to walk under the big bomber and see into the ball turret and bomb bay.

>> 5 reasons the new Memphis Belle exhibit is one of the most impressive at the Air Force Museum

>> 7 badass planes at the Air Force Museum


This is more than just a venue. It's practically an artery for Dayton's creative community. Whether it's live music, art shows, food truck rallies, craft sales or something else entirely, the "Old Yellow Cab Building" at 700 E 4th St. has managed to be most things to most people for not a lot of money, if any at all. You can see a schedule of upcoming events on their website. Yellow Cab is closed on Thanksgiving, however, there are shows happening on Friday and Saturday for your guests staying a few extra days.

Explore>>Where to get free Thanksgiving dinner in Dayton

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Credit: Tom Gilliam


While by now you’ve surely made the trip out to

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and had a mega(bit) of great time, maybe you’re looking for a more intimate gaming experience for your next outing.

Here are Dayton’s gaming bars and arcades, including Bar 145, Canal Street Arcade and Deli, DK Effect and more.

>> 6 bar and gaming arcades to visit in Dayton

A few memorable destinations


Another relative newcomer to the Dayton area, Madame Delluc (2510 Far Hills Ave., Oakwood) is definitely a great place to take guests during the holidays. The company produces its chocolates using original recipes developed by founder Marie Delluc in the 1920s, and sells a chocolate bar considered among the best in the world. The store was opened by Francoise Walusis and her husband John Walusis of Washington Twp., and her brother-in-law Brian Walusis of Miami Twp. Francoise is a Belgian native. One fan tells us, "The staff is incredible and the chocolate is to die for."

>>RELATED: Oakwood chocolate shop to open second location


Credit: Lisa Powell

Credit: Lisa Powell

Okay. So they're not all that "new", but they are places visitors love once they've been there. Dorothy Lane Market (three locations) has long been known by Dayton locals as the place to go for gourmet foods. Whether it's their massive deli and meat department, ready-to-eat comfort food meals or mammoth beer and wine selection, out-of-towners have began making it a required stop while in town. But above all, if you don't buy them a DLM Killer Brownie to take home, are they really even your friend?

Explore>>RELATED: New KILLER flavor of Dorothy Lane’s famous Killer Brownie hits store shelves

For the more adventurous, Jungle Jim's International Market (5440 Dixie Hwy, Fairfield) is just 45 minutes down the road. The store is essentially a theme park for foodies, complete with outrageous displays and a gajillion (roughly) varieties of every kind of food item you can think of. More than 80,000 shoppers make their way in and out this fun house of food each week.

The samples. Oh, the samples!

And last but certainly not least is the 2nd Street Market, which opened in 2001 and is a one-stop spot for locally produced goods from free-range brown eggs, organic produce, freshly baked goods and more.

>> 3 things to know about the 2nd Street Market

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