Photo: Picasa
Photo: Picasa

Mouthwatering, go-to comfort food dishes in Dayton to get you through the winter

There are certain foods that just go so well with bad Ohio weather, whether it's frigid snow or dreary rain. Hearty soups, mac n’ cheese, sandwiches that heat up your belly. There’s a reason we call them comfort foods. 

And when it’s gross outside and it’s time to decide what to eat, it might be hard to motivate you to get out and about; maybe you’ll opt for the old packet of ramen just so you don’t have to make a grocery run. But if you do brave the weather, these delicious meals will be waiting for you as a reward.

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🍴Coco’s Bistro’s Italian Grilled Cheese and Tomato Bisque

Photo: Coco's Bistro

Grilled cheese and tomato soup. Really, is there any better food pairing than the gooey, heavenly cheese squeezing out between slices of crunchy and buttery toast, basically designed for dipping into creamy tomato soup? Cocos’ Italian Grilled Cheese sandwich ($12) kicks it up a notch on panko-breaded sourdough for extra crunchiness and a four-cheese blend that pairs oh-so-well with their creamy tomato bisque ($4 by itself).

250 Warren St., (937) 228-2626 |

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🍴The Dublin Pub’s Cheese Fries

Photo: Lisa Powell

Our former iteration Active Dayton named these the No. 1 fries in Dayton, and for good reason: The white wine sauce really amps up the melted cheese and bacon-covered potato fries, and just a few bites in, you already know you’re headed for a heavenly food coma. The cheese fries ($8.99) are on the Dub Pub’s starter menu, but if you don’t share (and trust us, you won’t want to), they can be a meal unto itself.

300 Wayne Ave., (937) 224-7822 |

🍴The Trolley Stop’s Pulled Pork Sandwich

Photo: Picasa

You can always tell when pulled pork is freshly made, and oh boy, is the Trolley Stop’s pulled pork sandwich ($9) melt-in-your-mouth fresh, never frozen. Pair it with house-made apple slaw, chipotle mayo, and pickles on a pretzel bun, and that, friends, is a sandwich that will treat you right through the darkest winter days.

530 E. Fifth St., (937) 401-1101 |

🍴Voltzy’s Root Beer Stand’s Voltzy Burger


Voltzy’s may not serve his burgers out of a trailer anymore, and his menu may have grown, but whether you’ve been a customer for 20 years or you just discovered the tiny house on Springboro Pike, you know the Voltzy burger’s ($2.45 for a double cheeseburger) rich combo of burger, ham, raw onions, and cheese is king. Bonus points in the winter for the special sauce, which includes enough horseradish to ward off any imminent cold.

4668 Springboro Pike, (937) 299-1440 | Facebook

🍴Hickory Bar-B-Q’s Hungarian Cabbage Rolls

Photo: Hickory Bar B Q

As far as warm, hearty, winter meals go, cabbage rolls and other Eastern European fare do an excellent job of heating you up from the inside, filling your belly with delish meat and veggies rolled up in silky cabbage leaves. Hickory Bar-B-Q has been serving up some of the best around town for years for only $13.25.

1082 Brown St., (937) 228-5252 |

🍴Lily’s Bistro’s Bone-In Pork Chop

One of our favorite winter comfort foods is Lily's Bistro's bone-in pork chop.

Bone-in smoked pork chop: check. House-made apple “mostarda”: check. Red cabbage and creamy mashed potatoes: check. Between this dish ($23) and their Sunday night family-style fried chicken dinners, Lily’s has the comfort food checklist on lock. Lily’s updates their menu regularly, so we recommend calling ahead to make sure they are serving pork chops. 

329 E. 5th St., Dayton | 937-723-7637 | Website

🍴The Oakwood Club’s French Onion Soup

Photo: The Oakwood Club

Where to even start with the divine nature of French Onion Soup, and its necessity in the cold months? Only the Gauls could envision something as simple as dropping a load of tear-inducing onions into beef broth, crumbling some stale bread on top and loading the whole thing up with cheese, having such a perfectly savory end result. The Oakwood Club has been serving their Baked French Onion Soup Au Gratin ($5.25/cup; $6.50/bowl) for over 50 years, and will have you sipping and slurping your way to happiness, decorum be damned.

2414 Far Hills Ave., Oakwood, (937) 293-6973 |

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🍴Jimmy’s Italian Kitchen’s Baked Ziti

Many delicious plates at Jimmy's Italian Kitchen. Photo source: Jimmy's Italian Kitchen

Meat. Cheese. Noodles. Baked together. What could be more comforting? Not only is the dinner-size baked ziti portion a steal for $8.99, but your lunch for the rest of the season should be set for $6.99 (plus fresh baked garlic rolls!).

3002 Woodman Drive, (937) 293-9133 |

🍴Blind Bob’s Bar’s Pickle Soup

If you’ve had Bob’s pickle soup before, you already know. If you haven’t, let us just say as former pickle haters, this soup will convert you. You will order a cup ($2.50) and then wish you got a bowl ($4). Without the tang of the pickles, this would still be a hearty and delicious potato soup. But let’s not be boring here. You can still add a little pizzazz to your winter meals.

430 E. Fifth St., (937) 938-6405 |

Need more? Comfort yourself with:

-Couch Potatoes from Tank’s Bar and Grill 

-15-layer lasagna from Spaghetti Warehouse 

-Herb Roasted Half Chicken from Carillon Brewing Co. 

-Turtle Soup from Amber Rose 

-Country Fried Steak from Corner Kitchen 

-Mac n’ cheese from Peach’s Grill or Crossroads BBQ 

-Cheeseburger from Benjamin’s the Burger Master 

-Pho from Linh’s Bistro 

-Meatball grinder sandwich with homemade meatballs from DiSalvo’s Deli