5 S. Market St., Troy
http://thecarolineonthesquare.com or 937-552-7676
With a view of the Troy square this is a great spot to grab a seat and watch the sunset. The Caroline does a good job with the menu. If it were me I’d make a meal of some of the appetizers and enjoy the weather with a flavor bonanza. Maybe just light seafood with the ahi tuna ($13) and crab cakes ($13) or maybe something a little heavier ... the Bourbon mushrooms ($9) and a margherita flatbread ($9). For an entree or appetizer I am sure to have a Too Gouda salad ($6) with Granny Smith apples, pecans, smoked Gouda cheese and dried cranberries tossed with a creamy balsamic dressing. ($6).
Chuy’s Austin Landing
10445 Innovation Drive, Miamisburg
https://www.chuys.com/locations/ohio/dayton or 937-247-5450
Hit up the Chuy’s patio for happy hour Monday through Friday from 4-7 p.m. for a $5.75 “House Rita” and some chips and guacamole ($7.59) or queso ($8.19. Be sure to add seasoned ground beef, guacamole and pico de gallo for $1). This patio is bright, colorful and fun and a great happy hour option.
Coco's Bistro on Warren Street.
Credit: JIM NOELKER
Credit: JIM NOELKER
250 Warren St., Dayton
228coco.com or 937-228-2626
It’s close to the Oregon District, it’s close to downtown, but it’s not either and it’s one of my favorite patio spots. They are still serving the fall/winter menu, so a menu change should be just around the corner. I love Coco’s and it’s hard to choose just one thing, but if I walked through the door right now and made a B-line for the patio I’d order an Elderflower Gimlet ($11) and the salmon frites ($27) with fresh, bright chimichurri that has all the zip to match the great patio weather.
19 E. Main St., Tipp City
coldwater-cafe.com or 937-667-0007
I love the quiche at Coldwater Cafe — it’s fresh, light, fluffy and lovely. Pair that with a seat on the patio, a glass of sparkling wine or champagne, some Tipp City shopping, and you have created an equation for mid-afternoon perfection. It doesn’t take much. For dinner I don’t want to sound like a broken record, but I would once again make a meal from appetizers. They are smaller portions, light and bring a little more magic to dining al fresco. The fried green tomatoes ($12.95), preserved lemon hummus ($13.95), crispy brussel sprouts ($11.95) mussels in a sambuca cream sauce ($14.95) and lobster crab cakes ($8.95 for one or $15.95 for 2) are all flavorful, strong choices that won’t disappoint. I also really love their Alaskan halibut ($34.95) on a warm night. You can’t go wrong with this restaurant, patio or menu.
Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant
5220 Cornerstone N. Blvd., Centerville
chwinery.com or 937-900-9463
Go with the seasonal recommendations — order up the Asian pork Belly tostadas ($12.99) to start. Follow it up with the Burrata ravioli with braised short rib ragu ($25.99) with the April wine of the month Below the Belt ($9) and finish strong with a ginger spiced carrot cake ($8.99). Cooper’s Hawk knows what its doing — this is a strong, flavorful menu that is well executed regardless of the location you find yourself at.
Double 18 Lounge
1818 Brown St., Dayton
https://timothys-bar-grill.myshopify.com/pages/double-18-lounge-menu or 937-222-7666
The food at Double 18 is really basic bar fare, but I love this upstairs patio and sometimes you need to go with the basics — two classic sliders ($9) with tater tots ($1) and a beer. This spot is located on top of Timothy’s Bar — the University of Dayton watering hole that has been serving up drinks since 1965. It’s a refreshing surprise when you walk up and find yourself in an unexpected space with a welcoming patio that awaits. It’s a bar and doesn’t pretend to be anything else, but it’s an elevated experience and a terrific patio that make it worth seeking out.
903 E. Dixie Dr., West Carrollton
elmeson.net or 937-859-8229
No self respecting Dayton patio list would be created without El Meson on it. This is one of my favorite restaurants in town. They are a true original with an interesting, authentic, delicious menu and a space that is unlike any other. The attention to detail and customer service never ever disappoints. On every level this restaurant executes and it shows. With Cinco de Mayo coming up this is a spot to celebrate before, after or during and the patios — both indoor and outdoor — are home runs every time. There’s nothing better than getting together with friends and ordering up a bunch of tapas from their extensive menu and feasting on all of the different Latin flavors.
elé Cake Co Bistro & Wine Bar
3680 Rigby Rd., Miamisburg
elecakeco.com or 937-384-2253
This patio and I are going to be reacquainted soon and I for one cannot wait. Whether it’s brunch with some breakfast enchiladas ($13), a bacon and fig jam sandwich ($10), loaded shrimp and grits bowl ($13), smoked salmon benedict ($12), breakfast sliders ($11) or my favorite, the hakuna frittata ($10) made with corn, cherry tomatoes, roasted garlic, brussel sprouts, leeks, herbs and goat cheese or the regular menu which is every bit as incredible, this is a patio that’s great with food and flavor that won’t quit. This is one of my favorite restaurants in town and I don’t extol it’s virtues nearly enough. If you haven’t been before, make a plan. You won’t be disappointed.
If you’re hungry now, please know so am I. Getting my follow up list together for next week — what do you think should be on it? Let me know!
Dayton Eats looks at the regional food stories and restaurant news that make mouths water. Share info about your menu updates, special dinners and events, new chefs, interesting new dishes and culinary adventures. Do you know of exciting outdoor spaces, new exciting format changes, specials, happy hours, restaurant updates or any other tasty news you think is worth a closer look at? E-mail Alexis Larsen at firstname.lastname@example.org with the information and we will work to include it in future coverage.
Turn to us every Sunday in Life & Arts for the latest menu updates, special dinners and events, new chefs, interesting new dishes, and culinary adventures brought to you by contributing writer Alexis Larsen. Bon appetite!