Classic Dayton restaurants you have to try and love

You've got to know and love your classics. 

We aren't talking books. 

We are always telling you about the lastest restaurants to hit town. 

That said we, like you, cannot get enough of the restaurants that have had us coming back time after time for years and years. 

You know… Dayton classics. 

>> MORE: 12 best restaurants in Dayton

They are the mainstays that make the food you crave when you are away or that your friends or family members just have got to try when they visit. 

Over the years, these eateries have have helped define what it means to live here. 

The recent closure of The Barnsider, a Dayton institution for 41-years, has made us pause to to appreciate these treasures even more. 

These restaurants have been serving the community quality grub for decades. We hope they continue to make Dayton a great place to eat for decades to come. 


Here are a few of the best sit-down restaurants in the community.


Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

Location: 2350 S. Dayton-Lakeview Road, New Carlisle

Established: 1965

Why: Family comes to mind when one thinks about the Mel-O-Dee. The restaurant has been family-owned and operated for four generations and the food puts the "home" in home cooking. Dive  head first into the bread loafs, coleslaw and broaster chops, chicken and fish.

More info or 937-849-1378

>>RELATED: 3 traditional bakeries to visit in Dayton


Location: 797 Miamisburg Centerville Road, Washington Township

Eastablished: 1978

Why: When you think supper club, you think The Paragon. They do things the way they should be done at this old-school and still very cool spot with great wine, cocktails seafood, chops and steaks.

More info: or  (937) 433-1234


Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

Established: 1978

Why: Herman and Gloria Castro's famed restaurant has flourished from a pizza joint to destination that brings the taste of Central America, South America and the Caribbean to Dayton diners. The ever-evolving business even has food trucks.

More info: or 937- 859-8229

>>RELATED: This Century bartender shares her ideal last meal


Location:  225 E 6th St, Dayton

Established: 1976 

Why: Amy Haverstick is continuing the tradition her father, Jay Haverstick, started 40 years ago, but the restaurant's history goes beyond even that thanks to its awe-inspiring bar.

J Jay's carved Honduras Mahogany bar originated with Ritty's Pony House, which was established by cash register inventor James "Jake" Ritty and operated between 1882 and 1967. 

More info: or 937-222-2892

>>RELATED: 40 things we love about Jay's Seafood


Location: 705 Arlington Road, Brookville

Established: 1976

Why: This is the place for home cooking away from home that tastes just like home. Order from the menu or eat, eat and eat comfort food from Rob's hot bar buffet.

More info: or 937-833-3310


Location: 27 S. Broadway, Lebanon

Established: 1803 

Why: You can't mention classic restaurants in these parts without saying the words "golden" and  "lamb." 

The restaurant Jonas Seaman founded in 1803 as a stage coach inn, is now Ohio's longest continuously running business.

The Golden Lamb  has hosted a dozen United States presidents between John Quincy Adams and George W. Bush and a list of well-known people that includes Neil Armstrong,  Annie Oakley, Charles Dickens, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Alex Haley, James Whitcomb Riley, Louis Bromfield and Samuel Clemens.

More importantly, the locals love it.  

More info:  or 513- 932-5065 


Location: 250 Chief Woods Lane in Moraine

Established: 1961

Why:  Talk about a ship that still sails.  The nautical-themed restaurant has proved time and time again that it has both sea and land legs. 

Many predicted that Treasure Island would sink due to its location when the Moraine GM plant closed five years ago, but the whimsical restaurant still draws loyal diners. There is often a wait for tables on the weekend. 

More info: or 937- 299-6161


Location: 1926 Brown Street near the University of Dayton Established: 1947

Why: There is good reason The Food Network declared this nearly 70-year-old steakhouse  the second best streakhouse in the U.S. for its epic 20-ounce, bone-in ribeye. 

It is the bomb. 

Take celebrity chef Geoffrey Zakarian's word for it. 

"Once you've been to the Pine Club, it is tough to go anywhere else,"  he said of the Pine Club.

Thanks, but we've known that for years. 

More or 937-228-7463

>>RELATED: Dayton’s Pine Club named one of nation’s best steakhouses


Location:  8800 Meeker Road, Butler Twp.

Established: 1943

If you are ready to eat, I mean really eat, the Buckhorn is  your spot. Located along the Stillwater River, this eatery is known for its ribs, chicken and steaks as much as its antler chandeliers and other hunting decor. 

More info: or (937) 890-3261.


Established on Brown Street: 1962

Why: The Dayton classic is best known for its cabbage rolls and barbecue chicken and ribs. But with its crispy thick cut bacon and toasted white bread, the BLT on the lunch menu ($3.95) deserves a little love, too.

Info: or 937-228-5252

Meat watching. I can do it all day.

Posted by Amelia Robinson on Wednesday, April 27, 2016


Credit: Mamma DiSalvo’s

Credit: Mamma DiSalvo’s

Location:  1375 E. Stroop Road, Kettering

Established: 1979

Why: The family-owned institution satisfies with classic eggplant parmigiano, spaghetti alla carbanara, calamari, toasted ravioli and linguini vongole.

The restaurant started off small with recipes from Italy's Abruzzi Molise Region. The secret is out, and it is one of Dayton's most beloved eateries. Ask nearly anyone.

More  or 937-299-5831


Location: 215 Xenia Ave., Yellow Springs

Established: 1977 

Why: This Yellow Spring treasure started as The Four Winds and was collectively owned and operated that made it own yogurt. 

It is a tad bit more upscale these days, but still relaxing and inventive. 

The Winds was serving seasonal food long before it became trendy.

Some of the area's best chefs and restaurant owners cut their teeth at The Winds. 

More info: www.windscafe or 937-767-1144


Location:  824 E. Fifth St. in  Dayton's Oregon District

Established: 1976

Why: Founded by  Franco Germano, the restaurant serves traditional favorites and mixes it up. 

Take Franco's "World Famoso" Spaghetti for instance. 

Franco, a native of Duronia, Italy created the dish using garlic, scrambed eggs, special sausage and oil. 

It is as unique as the restaurant itself.

More info: or  (937) 222-0204


Craving pizza for lunch, but don’t want a large? We’ve got you covered! Our 7-inch personal pizzas are perfect for quenching your craving. #Giovannis #PizzaIsLife

Posted by Giovanni's Fairborn on Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Location: 215 W. Main St., Fairborn

Established: 1953 

Why: This eatery delights the masses with its pizza, meatballs and monthly specials like Stuffed Vidalia Onion

Far from stuffy, Giovannis is the heart of downtown Fairborn. 

More info:  or (937) 878-1611


Four locations:

Kettering — 3718 Willmington Pike (937)294-4724

Trotwood — 1983 Shiloh Springs Road (937)854-8033

Springboro — 784 N. Main St. (937)748-8866

Centerville — 6290 Far Hills Ave. (937)434-2622

Established: 1987

Why: China Cottage elevates the local food scene with American-style and traditional Chinese dishes. Either way, the  menu is an adventure for the palate. 

More info:


Credit: Jim Ingram

Credit: Jim Ingram

Location: 1400 Valley Street,  Dayton 

Established: 1990

Why: Amber Rose takes diners on a voyage to Germany, Lithuania , Poland, Hungary, Russia  and Italy with its food. 

The cabbage rolls are some of the best in town, but don't forget the f schnitzel -- jager schnitzel ( breaded and sautéed veal cutlets) and hunter schnitzel ( a sautéed pretzel-crusted pork loin) and turtle soup. 

More info: or 937-228-2511


Perfect anytime...and a top contender of Best of Burgers

Posted by The Oakwood Club on Thursday, April 7, 2016

Established: 1962

Location: 2414 Far Hills Ave., Oakwood

Why: The  Oakwood Club might be best known for its steak, but that is far from the only thing this still hip restaurant does right. The Oakwood Club's burgers are out-of-this-world and only a fool would say "no" to The Oakwood Club's potato crusted chilean sea bass or Maryland Crab Cakes.

More info: 937-293-6973 or

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