Since it opened its doors on Wayne Ave., the number 11 has played an important role in the story and identity of Jimmie’s Ladder 11.
The 1892 building that the restaurant resides in used to be Firehouse #11. The renovated restaurant appropriately opened on 11/11/11. Now, 11 years later it will be celebrating its iconic anniversary next week.
For 11 years this popular spot has been serving up consistent, satisfying food that has remained steady in quality and execution despite so many disruptors in the restaurant industry and the world at large. It’s easy to take for granted how a special locally owned restaurant like this is able to do that day to day, week to week, month to month and year to year.
“I’m proud we made it through Covid and very uncertain times. As a family owned business you only have yourselves to rely on. We attribute our survival to a fantastic support team, consistently providing a quality dining experience and wonderful community support,” said Sue Brandell who owns and operates it with her husband Jimmie Brandell. “Increased overhead costs have been challenging for us, like everyone. We strive to provide the same level of excellent food and service as we have for the past 11 years.”
The restaurant has long maintained its dining hours and continues to remain open seven days a week, which is definitely not the norm in the restaurant industry nationally or locally.
They are probably most well known for their amazing paisano pasta chips ($13 for a full order, $10 for a half order) which are like a version of Italian nachos with deep fried lasagna noodles topped with provolone and mozzarella cheeses, onions, peppers, Italian sausage, and sun dried tomatoes, then baked and topped with an asiago cream sauce. Decadent, delicious and worth the calorie expenditure.
The expansive menu is packed with dishes — close to 100 in total — that are not to be missed. In addition to familiar favorites they also offer up daily specials that can be found on the restaurant’s social media account as well as seasonal cocktail and food features.
“This year we are donating a portion of each meal served to the Disabled Veterans of America on our anniversary, which is Veteran’s Day,” said Nick Brandell, Jimmie and Sue’s son and General Manager of the restaurant.
Nick’s brother Jason is a trained chef who runs the kitchen and develops seasonal menus. It’s definitely a family business filled with passion, love and pride.
Here are 11 reasons to get to Jimmie’s Ladder 11 when you have the opportunity:
1) Owner Jimmie Brandell. Lets just say he’s a legend in the Dayton restaurant industry. He started in the restaurant business at age 16 working his way up to manager of the Upper Krust Restaurant under his mentor, Jack Rouda. Rouda was founder of Upper Krust Restaurants, well-known for their overstuffed deli sandwiches. In 2004 Brandell opened Jimmie’s Cornerstone Bar & Grille at 1001 Brown Street in Dayton. It was a spot known for great bar food and late night entertainment. He moved his business across the street creating Jimmie’s Ladder 11 on Nov. 11, 2011. Jack’s Special on the menu is a sandwich in honor of Rouda featuring oven roasted beef, tomato, coleslaw and Russian dressing on a toasted hoagie roll ($12)
2) Family owned and operated. The next generation is now helping take the baton with Brandell’s sons now working in the kitchen and behind the bar.
3) The menu. Jimmie’s Ladder 11 has something for everyone. It’s menu features five full pages packed with fantastic options for every kind of eater. They aim to please and they do with a menu that is fun to explore.
4) The shareables. There are great appetizers that are perfect for sharing with friends. Start with the aforementioned paisano pasta chips or Creole cheesecake ($14), a savory blend of Andouille sausage, smoked Gouda, cream cheese, onions and red peppers served with warm pita chips and go from there.
5) New fall features. They include an orchard salad made of mixed greens topped with sliced apples, bleu cheese, red onions and dried cranberries ($8 for a small and $13 for large), French onion soup ($7), potato and cheddar pierogies topped with carmelized onions and applewood smoked bacon ($12) a turkey and ham harvest melt ($12) topped with cheddar cheese and stewed apples served on toasted wheat bread and a butternut squash ravioli entree served with a side salad and garlic bread ($16, add chicken or sausage, $3).
6) The hours. Jimmie’s is open seven days a week — 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m.-10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
7) Handsome, historic structure. Jimmie’s Ladder 11 was named in honor of the former fire station it is housed in and the firefighters serving Dayton. The building was home to Engine House #11 which was completed in 1892 and served as one of the last horse drawn companies in Dayton.
8) Big with plenty of indoors seating. The two-story structure featuring 6,000 square feet of space seats around 85 people.
9) Great drinks. From draft beer to wine to specialty seasonal cocktails, it’s a great place to relax and grab a refreshment. The restaurant features two stainless steel draft systems— one fashioned after the Silsby horse drawn steam engine and a second created from an early 1900′s fire hydrant. For their 11th anniversary, they will be featuring beer from Branch and Bone Brewery, Warped Wing Brewery and New Belgium Brewery.
10) Classic dishes. Examples include Momma Lucy’s meatballs ($13), Ladder 11 lasagna ($20), and Ladder 11 sandwich ($14), which is grilled corned beef, grilled pastrami, cole slaw, and russian dressing served on rye or hoagie bread.
11) Diverse selection of great sandwiches and salads. This is a fantastic place for a casual lunch or dinner. My favorite salad is the Dr. Saidel’s Salad ($11 large, $8 small) with a bed of mixed greens topped with feta cheese, Greek olives, tomato, onions, cucumber and parsley served with a garlic dressing and the Ladder 11 sandwich ($14) is not to be missed.
But really, it’s all good and that’s the number one reason out of all of them that Jimmie’s Ladder 11 is worthy of a visit.
Dayton Eats looks at the regional food stories and restaurant news that make mouths water brought to you by contributing writer Alexis Larsen. Share info about your menu updates, special dinners and events, new chefs, interesting new dishes and culinary adventures. Do you know of 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 email@example.com with the information and we will work to include it in future coverage.
How to go
What: Jimmie’s Ladder 11
Where: 936 Brown St., Dayton
More information: www.jladder11.com or 937-424-1784
Jimmie’s Greenhouse, an 1877 house located at 24 Park Drive behind the restaurant opened in 2016. It rents for minimum $300 for three hours with a minimum food budget of $25 per person plus tax and gratuity with 20 guests minimum. The space can accommodate 30-50 guests depending on the season. The fees include staff, a bartender and cleaning. Hosts can build a custom appetizer or dinner menu. The house features catering by Jimmie’s Ladder 11, a custom bar, covered patio, indoor and outdoor seating, a pool table that converts to a banquet table, living room with a game table, a full kitchen and Wi-Fi. The restaurant is booking for holiday parties and events. The upstairs floor of Jimmie’s seats up to 80, To check availability, reserve or tour, email JimmiesGreenhouse@gmail.com or call 937-424-1784
About the Author