With a new year upon us, now is the time to be reflective and grateful.
The start of 2019 will be a renewal and a time to look forward to new dining adventures. But first, let’s look back and reflect on all of the things to be grateful for.
Here is my short list of some of the Dayton foodie blessings of 2018:
MORE WORLD FLAVORS
This is my No. 1 item to give thanks for.
This year saw the expansion of Nanya Café — the region’s only Ethiopian restaurant — to a much larger space at 6129 N. Dixie Dr.
This year, we also welcomed Bar Granada, a fantastic Spanish tapas bar (www.bardayton.com) as well as Calypso Grill and Smokehouse (https://www.calypsogrill.net), a Yellow Springs restaurant serving up authentic Latin-Caribbean cuisine.
Olive Mediterranean Grill (www.olivedayton.com ) moved from the building that Nanya Café moved into, opting for a much larger space on Third Street in downtown Dayton. Taste of the World (www.tasteoftheworldohio.com/index.html), the restaurant developed by Fuyao Glass America at Encrete Lane and Fuyao Avenue outside the auto-glass plant in Moraine, opened at the very end of 2017, but really hit its stride this year.
These are the type of restaurants we would have ordinarily traveled miles to find. I’m only hoping to see much more of this trend in 2019. These new additions have really helped strengthen the dining landscape in Dayton.
“We are so grateful to everyone who has helped us rejoin Dayton’s culinary scene,” Margot Blondet, owner and executive chef of Salar Restaurant and Lounge, said as a part of a press release in late September. “Everyone involved in reopening this labor of love has worked extremely hard to get us cooking again. We’re back with renewed energy and creativity as we provide the city’s residents and visitors a beautiful restaurant to gather with family, friends and colleagues to create new memories.”
The restaurant located at 400 E. Fifth St. in the Oregon District reopened this fall after a devastating fire this time last year. They were a big part of the local restaurant scene, and I am one of many fans thrilled to see them back. Visit http://salarrestaurant.com for more information.
The craft beer market in the Dayton area has exploded within the past three years. In fact, the Dayton region has the most breweries per capita in Ohio. There are 14 craft breweries in the Greater Dayton area, including Middletown and Springfield.
New breweries to the scene in 2018 have made a wonderful first impression. Branch & Bone Artisan Ales (www.branchandboneales.com) offers flavorful creations inspired by European traditions and modern American eccentrics. Xenia’s Devil Wind Brewing (http://devilwindbrewing.com) offers a full slate of European ales and lagers — specifically German — as well as innovative and newer American styles of beers.
The hip, stunning decor at Kettering’s EPIC Coffee Shoppe (www.epiccoffeeshoppe.com) at 22 W. Stroop Road in Castle Hills Shopping Plaza gives you a big city experience in a small town. A variety of stylish seating options are available to relax in while enjoying many items including coffees, sandwiches, salads, pastries, organic teas and ice cream.
It’s exciting to walk into new restaurants and businesses in town that are putting out a happening vibe and spending as much time thinking about the setting as they are the menu.
Cats may not be for everyone, but they are for me — and the same holds true for coffee. So when The Gem City Catfe (www.gemcitycatfe.com) opened combining the two, I was in heaven. Their maple turmeric latte is fantastic and a stellar drink to enjoy while basking in the cat lounge. Pet therapy is a thing, and this is a great place to get it served up with a shot of espresso.
THE SANTA CLARA JUICERY
Once known as a thriving art district, The Santa Clara community has experienced an extreme decline. In partnership with E2 Urban Redevelopment and the Santa Clara Foundation, the Santa Clara Juicery (www.santaclarajuicery.com) opened this year with the vision to be a part of helping revitalize the neighborhood. They offer raw, organic, pressed juices, smoothies, smoothie bowls, vegan snacks, coffee and tea. Whether you’re looking for a cleanse special or a supplement to your diet, they have a choice here for you. Some of the proceeds go toward helping support the neighborhood and local non-profits.
FLYBOY’S SECOND LOCATION
The Flyboy’s Deli (www.flyboysdeli.com) slogan is “Eat like you are in New York City, while never leaving Dayton.” This year, this terrific sandwich shop opened its second location outside of the main mall entrance at The Mall at Fairfield Commons. It’s great to see an independent business expanding in such a major way, and we could always use stronger deli options in town.
ELSA’S CORNER CANTINA
Elsa’s Corner Cantina, which opened this summer in the Sugarcreek Plaza off Wilmington Pike, is the fifth Elsa’s to open and is a much more open, modern version of the beloved Dayton Mexican restaurant. The Bad Juans are on tap and the menu still has all of the favorites you know and love. When it comes to fast and cheap Mexican food, this is a favorite of mine and it’s exciting to see them doing well enough to expand. Visit www.elsas.net/mobi/locations/corner-cantina.html for more information.
Now it’s your turn! If there are items you’re excited about from last year or looking forward to this year, shoot me a message. In the meantime, I wish you a joyous and Happy New Year and look forward to exploring the world of local dining with you in 2019.