Hungry for something new? 15 crave-worthy restaurants that opened in 2018

Here’s a great problem to have — so many new restaurants opened this year it’s hard to decide where to eat.

No matter what you’re hankering for, there are plenty of new options out there to satisfy your cravings.

These are just SOME of the new restaurants that opened in 2018:

The Florentine

The new owners of a historic Dayton-area restaurant that traces its roots back more than two centuries reopened the eatery in February.

Clay Alsip and Beth Vanden Berg, the local husband-and-wife team that purchased the Florentine in January, opened the 7,000-square-foot restaurant in the former inn at 21 W. Market St. in Germantown following some minor kitchen renovations and a top-to-bottom cleaning.

Now, they’ve reintroduced the restaurant more broadly to the community and to diners seeking a slice of Ohio history with their meals.

Double Deuce Tavern & Family Pizzeria 

The Double Deuce Tavern & Family Pizzeria also opened its doors in February.

The business relocated from north Dayton to Huber Heights, where it renovated the former site of C’s Pizza at 5186 Brandt Pike (State Route 201).

Williams and co-owner Ralph Mueller first opened Double Deuce in 2009 at 17 Brandt St. in Dayton. In 2017, Williams noticed the then-vacant former C’s Pizza spot, which had been the Myung Sung Asian restaurant prior to that.

Troll Pub at the Wheelhouse

Credit: Photo: Amy Walbridge,

Credit: Photo: Amy Walbridge,

In March, the Troll Pub at the Wheelhouse, a popular Louisville, Ky., spot, opened its second location on St. Patrick’s Day in Dayton’s Oregon District.

The 6,500-square-foot restaurant and bar seats as many as 250, serves an extensive selection of craft beers and bourbons along with a food menu described by General Manager Ben Barker as “pub grub, but made from scratch.”

The Famous Restaurant

“The Famous Restaurant” — from the owners of Doubleday’s Grill and Tavern — opened for business in south Centerville in April.

The new restaurant in the former Paddy’s Irish Grill at 953 S. Main St. in Centerville is an homage of sorts to the earlier generations of restaurant operators in the family of Jon, Steve and Stephanie Thomas, who own the Doubleday’s pubs in Centerville and Springboro.

The menu has a throwback comfort-food feel. Slow-cooked pot roast pops up in various locations on the menu, from a topping on the “Pot Roast Burger” to the new restaurant’s take on a Hot Shot called the Pot Shot, to a topping on French Fries or Tater Tots (“almost Poutine”).

Fuzzy’s Taco Shop

Fuzzy’s Taco Shop opened in April in Beavercreek. It’s in a relatively new building that faces Indian Ripple Road at The Greene’s main entrance.

Founded in 2003, Fort Worth, Texas-based Fuzzy’s Taco Shop serves authentic Mexican dishes such as Baja-style tacos, white queso and jumbo burritos in addition to frozen margaritas and beer.

The chain operates more than 120 locations across the country, including one in Toledo and one on North High Street in Columbus’ Arena District.

Rivertown Chili 



A new and independently owned chili restaurant called Rivertown Chili and Breakfast opened over the summer in Miamisburg at 105 S. Second St.,

Brian Walusis and his father, John, have been participating in chili cook-offs around the region for more than 30 years. “The recipes that we are using are craft chili recipes that have received awards in competitions as well as various iconic chili recipes made famous throughout different regions of the country,” Brian Walusis said.

Hunger Paynes Beer and Wine Garden

Credit: hunger Paynes

Credit: hunger Paynes

Andrew Payne, the owner of Hunger Paynes food truck, launched the Hunger Paynes Beer and Wine Garden in June in the lower level of the Dayton Mall near Macy’s.

The restaurant is serving up a menu featuring Dayton beer, apple cranberry chicken wraps and a killer meat and cheese board with truffle goat cheese.

It will serve about two or three varieties of Hunger Paynes’ signature croquettes daily and have a dozen Dayton-area beers on tap daily as a tribute to local breweries.

Olive Mediterranean Grill 

Credit: Photo: Ed Dixon

Credit: Photo: Ed Dixon

Olive Mediterranean Grill opened its doors in July at its new location, 44 W. Third St.

The restaurant, a favorite among Best of Dayton voters, opened about three years ago at 6129 N. Dixie Drive in Harrison Twp., Montgomery County.

This Olive should not be confused with Olive: an Urban Dive, which closed in 2015 in the current downtown Dayton home of Arepas & Co Colombian Comfort Food.

Elsa’s Corner Cantina 

Credit: Mark Fisher

Credit: Mark Fisher

The co-owner of Elsa’s Mexican Restaurant has a message for prospective customers of his new cantina-style restaurant in the Sugarcreek Plaza off Wilmington Pike that opened July 5.

“This doesn’t look like your parents’ Elsa’s,” Jason Hemmert said. “And we didn’t want it to be your parents’ Elsa’s.”

The space at 6204 Wilmington Pike in the Sugarcreek Plaza previously housed Caramella’s Italian Kitchen, and, before that, Murphy’s Irish Pub and Barleycorn’s. But it has been renovated extensively.

The kitchen started off with a fairly straightforward Elsa’s menu, but down the road, will produce specials that, if they prove successful, will find their way onto Elsa’s menus elsewhere, Hemmert said.

Ranchero’s Cocina Mexicana 

A new Mexican restaurant, Rancheros Cocina Mexicana, opened in August at Cross Pointe Centre in Centerville.

The Rancheros Cocina Mexicana menu includes fajitas, chimichangas, enchiladas, burritos and other Mexican specialties, including the Jalisco Special: Sauteed shrimp, chicken or steak in red sauce served with zucchini, mushrooms, tomatoes, onions and rice, topped with cheese.

The new restaurant has an extensive tequila selection, nine beer taps and also serves wine.

Mila’s Suburban Café 

Credit: Mark Fisher

Credit: Mark Fisher

Dayton natives Michael and LaTasha Perry opened a small restaurant and live-music venue called Mila’s Suburban Cafe at 606 Taywood Road in the Northmont Plaza in August.

Mila’s — a mashup of the couple’s first names — operates as a lunch spot Wednesday and Thursday, and as a lunch and dinner destination Friday through Sunday, and also hosts live music on the weekends.

The cafe’s motto is, “Eat, drink and be social.” The cafe serves four craft beers on tap,  as well as canned and bottled beers, and offers wines by the glass or bottle. The food menu includes items such as a Suburban Burger topped with Avocado Mayo, Bacon and Red Onion, and a Chipotle Wrap that has bacon, turkey, tomatoes, romaine lettuce and a chipotle pepper/cream cheese blend, Michael Perry said. Vegan options include Spinach Pita Pocket and Zucchini Fritter with Lime Aioli.

Sporty’s Tap House and Grill 

The region’s newest sports-themed restaurant, Sporty’s Taphouse & Grill, and its 60 beer taps made their debut in September.

The Sports pub is located at 5202 N. Main St. in Harrison Twp., in the space that formerly housed iconic restaurant The Barnsider, and later, Liquid Sports Club.

Raising Cane’s 

Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers, the Louisiana-based restaurant company, opened in October across from The Greene in Beavercreek. The restaurant at 4384 Indian Ripple Road was Raising Cane’s 400th restaurant system-wide, and 28th in Ohio.

“I’ve lived in the area for 16 years and can’t tell you how excited we are in Beavercreek to have a Raising Cane’s to call our own,” said General Manager Martina Stiles.

Hours of operation at Beavercreek’s Raising Cane’s are Sunday through Thursday from 10:30 a.m. to 11 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to midnight.

Bar Granada 

Credit: Mark Fisher

Credit: Mark Fisher

“Bar Granada” in downtown Dayton opened over the long Thanksgiving Day weekend.

Bar Granada is part Spanish deli, and part European Cafe, according to co-founder Paul Pelnar. It fills the space that formerly housed the Wine Gallery.

Croquetas, hot and cold tapas and charcuterie selections are among the menu items. As for drinks, the focus is on beers and wines, and will soon expand to include cocktails.

Frutta Bowls 

A health-focused restaurant concept known for its fruit- and veggie-based bowls and smoothies opened its first Dayton-area location in mid-December. The restaurant at 3609 Rigby Road, in the Austin Landing development in southern Montgomery County, is the chain’s second in Ohio.

Frutta Bowls offers bowls with a base of acai, pitaya or kale. The chain also offers oatmeal bowls and smoothies, as well as protein balls, kombucha tea, and grab-and-go items.