Patio Hopping Guide: Celebrate spring — and all the seasons — in downtown Dayton

A funny meme making the rounds about Ohio’s 12 seasons found its way to me last week. Here’s what it outlined:

1) Winter

2) Fool’s Spring

3) Second Winter

4) Spring of Deception

5) Third Winter

6) The Pollening

7) Actual Spring

8) Summer

9) Hell’s Front Porch

10) False Fall

11) Second Summer

12) Actual Fall

I’ve never studied meteorology, but I’d say it’s pretty darn accurate. Using this simple tool, we just hit our third winter in between “the pollening.”

It may seem like these patio guides are a little early, but it will be May and “actual spring” before we know it and they will come in handy.

I love destinations that offer a heavy concentration of patio options and just as the Oregon District offers terrific options in a small footprint, so does downtown Dayton.

As with all things, be sure to check websites for hours and details of how businesses are currently serving, but here are some spots I love downtown that offer patio seating with food, drink and city scenes to enjoy this summer and during the season of “hell’s front porch.”

Bar Granada

5 W. Monument Ave., Dayton or (937) 221-8310

Patio: This patio sits right on the side of Main Street before you cross the river. It’s small, sweet and a chill little spot to enjoy a margarita as the sun goes down.

Order up!: This is a two-for-one visit. When you go to Bar Granada you get the drinks and tequila and inside is the kitchen for Latin Arepas — once a food truck that now serves up traditional Venezuelan food that pairs quite nicely with the cocktails or a tequila flight. The Arepas ($10) are a must try. I also love the empanadas, pastelitos, street tacos and the nacho supreme.

Basil’s on Market

312 N. Patterson Blvd., Dayton or (937) 818-4390

Patio: If I was going to pick my favorite patio in downtown Dayton this one would win hands down. Right now the restaurant is temporarily closed, but I am hoping it opens in time for actual spring, summer, hell’s front porch, false fall, second summer and actual fall. With great views of the river and the open sky, this is the kind of patio that adds a flavorful vibe to the dishes and drinks you decide to go with.

Order up!: Not sure how the menu will change once they open back up, but I am hoping they will still have the Blackberry Solstice ($8) gin cocktail that sparkles with blackberry, mint and ginger paired with a J.F. burger ($13.50) topped with Basil’s chili lime slaw, goat cheese, bacon and finished with Basil’s Asian dressing. If you are just looking for an appetizer, the Risotto Tater Tots were always on point. Please open, please open, please open ...

Brixx Ice Company

500 E. First St., Dayton or (937) 222-2257

Patio: This is a no frills patio, but it’s open, large and conveniently located near the Dragons baseball field.

Order up!: A giant soft pretzel ($11.95) to share with homemade Dayton Beer Company beer cheese and a good draft beer. If you can’t watch a live baseball game, might as well pretend that you’re at one.

Canal Street Arcade & Deli

308 E. First St., Dayton or (937) 220-9333

Patio: It’s tiny and doesn’t get much sun depending on the time of day, but it’s functional, and a nice place to get out and enjoy a made-to-order deli sandwiches.

Order up!: The personal size Nann bread pizzas ($8.75) are a treat, but at the height of summer you can’t go wrong with the Summer Jam ($9.50), one of my favorite sandwiches made with turkey, roasted red pepper, red onion, pesto, tomato and Asiago cheese served up hot on toasted focaccia bread.

Carmen’s Deli & Bistro

40 N. Main St., Dayton or (937) 610-9999

Patio: This is a sweet little restaurant with a sweet little patio that’s staffed by the sweetest people with some of the best made-to-order salads, wraps and deli sandwiches.

Order up!: Owner Haitham Imam should teach courses in hospitality. He has the friendliest staff and some of the tastiest dishes — many with a Mediterranean influence — in a convenient location for downtowners. The “Jerusalem Style” falafel is seasoned with ground chickpeas and vegetables that are formed into croquettes and deep-fried to crispy outside and soft interior. The wrap brings these delicious nuggets together with fresh romaine, diced tomatoes, red onion, pickles, cucumbers and tahini sauce.

Local Cantina

503 E. First St., Dayton or (937) 999-4230

Patio: Small with lots of sun but nice umbrellas to block it. On nice days they open their garage doors and it’s nice to get a table near the doors to make the most out of the indoors and outdoors.

Order up!: Crunchweezy tacos ($4.50 each) made with one soft flour and one hard corn shell and filled with queso dip, guacamole, roasted corn salsa with black beans, briskey, lettuce, chipotle cream and queso fresco. This is the thing taco dreams are made of. Pair with a margarita or a beer or a water — it doesn’t matter, you’ve come for this taco.

Lock 27 Brewing Company

329 E. First St., Dayton or (937) 433-2739

Patio: Well, it doesn’t really have a patio per se, but when they open the garage doors it gets a nice patio-like breeze without the direct sun. This would be on my ultimate downtown patio tour because of one dish on the menu that I can’t get enough of.

Order up!: Lock 27′s downtown “gastrotap room” features its own artisan ales and lagers, along with beers from other breweries, plus cocktails and a full menu. Don’t get sidetracked — the smoked wings ($14) are everything you are looking for and all that you need — at least that‘s what I tell myself. Get all drummies with sauce on the side and some creamy Parmesan. I usually like to share dishes, but this is one I keep to myself — it’s not my favorite wing in town, but it’s pretty darn close, definitely my favorite wing downtown.

Mudlick Tap House

135 E. Second St., Dayton or (937) 895-4066

Patio: Mudlick Tap House got innovative at the end of last year adding heated outdoor igloos for patio dining as winter weather set in. There’s no doubt they are already thinking about summer and how to make patio dining special for guests.

Order up!: I always tell myself I’ll order something different and at least half of the times I visit I end up with the chicken AVO ($14). It’s a seriously great sandwich. Grab a craft beer or cocktail and treat yourself with an appetizer and you’ll be in business.

Table 33

130 W. Second St., Dayton or (937) 999-3070

Patio: This is another awesome downtown patio. There’s room to spread out and soak up the sun during the spring, summer and fall (weather cooperating).

Order up!: Why not go for brunch? The Husky breakfast sandwich ($8) made with scrambled egg, a housemade sausage patty, gouda, red onion jam, arugula and dijonnaise is an affordable treat to start the day off with. Pair it with a cup of coffee or a cold brew and you’ll be ready for whatever the day has in store.

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 with the information and we will work to include it in future coverage.

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