Local restaurant highlights for May: A new spot for seafood and a southern bistro are on their way, while beloved favorites close

Local restaurants slowly began to open their dining rooms in May after the coronavirus pandemic and a statewide order shut them tight.

But despite the uncertain future, several Dayton-area restaurants opened in recent weeks, and there is a batch of new eateries on the horizon.

After more than a year of build-out, the second Dayton-area La Michoacana Mexican Market & Restaurant opened in Huber Heights, and Bourbon Chicken Restaurant opened in Dayton. In Sidney, an upscale Italian-themed restaurant opened, and in Harrison Twp., a restaurant that had been destroyed by fire 18 months earlier reopened.

>> Craving steak? Here's when our local steakhouse restaurants are reopening

And there’s a lot to look forward to, as Hook & Reel Cajun Seafood & Bar is gearing up to open at the Dayton Mall, and Hannah’s Southern Bistro works to serve its first customers in Piqua.

There was also disappointing news in May. Season’s Bistro in Springfield shut down after a dozen years in business, and the Zombie Dogz bricks-and-mortar store on Brown Street near the University of Dayton closed its doors.


Bourbon Chicken Restaurant

Credit: FILE

Credit: FILE

The owner of Mr. Bourbon Restaurant in Trotwood opened his second local eatery on May 21 about seven miles away in Dayton, with a different menu and other key differences from his first venture.

Bourbon Chicken Restaurant is located at 100 N. James H. McGee Blvd. in Dayton, and its menu will differ from the Trotwood restaurant that opened last fall at 5212 Salem Ave. in Trotwood. The new Dayton restaurant will focus more on burgers, chicken wings and potatoes prepared several ways, according to the owner of both restaurants, Ali Arkan of Beavercreek.

The new restaurant will seat about 35 to 40 with social distancing guidelines in place, Arkan said. It also has a bar and will serve alcoholic beverages, Arkan said.

La Michoacana Mexican Market & Restaurant 

The La Michoacana Mexican Market & Restaurant that has been under construction for more than a year at 6220 Chambersburg Road in the Huber Plaza reopened Sunday, May 31.

The 20,000-square-foot grocery store and eatery is open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.

La Michoacana, which also operates several Columbus-area stores, offers fresh fruits and vegetables, an extensive selection of meats, Latin-American groceries, money transfers, bill payments, authentic Mexican dishes and fresh bread.

Tavolo Modern Italian

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

Tavolo Modern Italian restaurant opens today, May 29 in downtown Sidney, but if you don't already have a reservation, you may want to look to the future.

The founders of the restaurant located at 101 S. Ohio Ave. near the Shelby County Courthouse say when they first started taking reservations a week ago, hungry diners attempted to make 727 reservations within a four-hour window, causing the site to crash.

The restaurant will begin accepting walk-ins starting on June 2, but reservations are strongly recommended, the founders said earlier this week on the Tavolo Modern Italian Facebook page. "Our waiting area is limited so some parties may be asked to wait outside in order for us to adhere to COVID-19 social distancing guidelines," they said.

>> READ MORE: Opening day TODAY for Tavolo Modern Italian restaurant, but it's already off to a strong start

Lee’s Famous Recipe 

Credit: Mark Fisher

Credit: Mark Fisher

Despite rebuilding challenges caused by last year’s Memorial Day tornadoes and this year’s coronavirus pandemic, a local Lee’s Famous Recipe restaurant has risen from the ashes of the devastating fire that destroyed it a year and a half ago.

“It’s all worth it in the end,” Ken Riddle, the restaurant’s franchise co-owner, said of the long-awaited reopening on May 28 at 4140 N. Main St. in Harrison Twp.

The restaurant had gone up in flames caused by a fryer fire on Dec. 22, 2018.

Coming Soon

Hook & Reel Cajun Seafood & Bar 

Credit: Mark Fisher

Credit: Mark Fisher

Workers are putting the finishing touches on a new Cajun-style seafood restaurant, which is scheduled to open sometime this month in the former Sears Tire & Auto Center at the Dayton Mall, according to a manager working at the restaurant last week.

Hook & Reel Cajun Seafood & Bar will be located at 2564 Miamisburg-Centerville Road in Miami Twp., where it will share the renovated building with the relocated Outback Steakhouse.

The restaurant’s menu, printed copies of which are available on-site, show a build-your-own seafood theme, with choices such as clams, crawfish, mussels, shrimp, scallops, lobster and multiple types of crab, with choices of sauce and heat levels. Fried seafood baskets such as shrimp, oysters, catfish and flounder are available. Appetizers include hush puppies, Crab Bites, fried calamari, steamed oysters and coconut shrimp.

 >>READ MORE: New seafood restaurant gearing up to open at the Dayton Mall, and here’s a look at its menu

Catfish Fish and Chicken 

Credit: Lisa Powell

Credit: Lisa Powell

A locally owned restaurant is gearing up to open on Old Troy Pike near Fishburg Road in Huber Heights, in space that previously housed a Pizza Hut restaurant that shut its doors last fall, according to Huber Heights officials and the new restaurant’s founder.

Emad Tuama of West Carrollton has worked at other restaurants, but Catfish Fish and Chicken at 6020 Old Troy Pike will be his first solo venture.

The restaurant will have a seating capacity of about 30 and will serve a variety of fried fish, chicken and vegetables, including shrimp, catfish, wings, okra, mushrooms and cauliflower, Tuama said.

 >>READ MORE: New restaurant to open in former Pizza Hut in Huber Heights

Hannah’s Southern Bistro 

Tommy McCoy — a 2003 graduate of Piqua High School and founder of McCoy’s Comfort Foods catering company who went on to operate Sneakers Sports Grille, a sports pub in Jacksonville Beach, Florida — is poised to open a new restaurant called Hannah's Southern Bistro in the Miami Valley Centre Mall in Piqua in the coming weeks.

The coronavirus pandemic may prompt McCoy to open Hannah’s Southern Bistro initially as a carryout-only eatery, but the restaurant founder said he expects his new business to be fully up and operating by early July. The new restaurant will employ 12 to 15.

Hannah’s Southern Bistro — named for McCoy’s 17-year-old daughter — will serve a southern-inspired menu that will include pulled pork made from pork belly, fried catfish and cod, “gator bites,” collard greens and cornbread cake muffins.

 >>READ MORE: New local restaurant: Hannah’s Southern Bistro founder is returning to his roots

City Barbeque 



The Columbus-based restaurant chain City Barbeque is planning a new Dayton-area location that would replace one of the region’s Steak ’n Shake restaurants that shut down last year.

According to documents and an artist’s rendering submitted to Butler Twp. officials, the new City Barbeque restaurant is in the works at 6549 Miller Lane, behind the Speedway convenience store at the corner of Miller Lane and Benchwood Road.


Seasons Bistro 

A family-owned restaurant closed its doors for the last time after a dozen years in downtown Springfield.

The brother-sister team of Doug McGregor and Margaret Mattox opened Seasons Bistro, taking a chance on the rebirth of downtown Springfield. The restaurant focused on offering seasonal products from local farmers and closed for the last time May 23.

>>READ MORE: Downtown Springfield restaurant to close pemanently

Zombie Dogz 

A Dayton restaurant that earned a cult-like following for its gourmet hot dogs as a food truck is the latest bricks-and-mortar eatery to close due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“It is just a huge punch in the gut,” David VanArtsdalen said of shutting down Zombie Dogz, his restaurant at 1200 Brown St. “I feel like I let a ton of people down. I feel terrible. This is not what I want to do, but I can’t go on. I can't do it.”

The Zombie Dogz food truck will continue to operate, VanArtsdalen said. The food truck has consistently won first or second place in Dayton.com’s Best of Dayton food truck and “best hot dog” categories.

>>READ MORE: Zombie Dogz restaurant closing permanently

Airway Kitchen 

Credit: Airway Kitchen

Credit: Airway Kitchen

Riverside appears headed to lose its second restaurant within a mile of each other on Airway Road as restaurants struggle to survive during a coronavirus pandemic that forced them to shut down their dining rooms nearly two months ago.

The owners of Airway Kitchen at 4918 Airway Road announced on the restaurant’s Facebook page that they have “decided not to extend our lease agreement that ends end of the month of May” and said they would start selling kitchen equipment and furnishings.

“We would like to thank all of our friends and family and great customers for giving us their blessings the past five years,” the owners said. “We hope this pandemic will be over soon, and maybe we can come back with a new business idea.”

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