With the very sad news last week that Franco Germano, the owner of Franco's Ristorante Italiano in the Oregon District, had passed away, there's no better time to head to his restaurant. Savor the dishes that helped him build a successful restaurant that has been in business in Dayton since 1976. I will be heading there to feast on Franco's "World Famoso" Spaghetti with sausage and mushrooms ($16.95) with a "Sambuca con mosca"floatedand. Franco was larger than life and his famous spaghetti — a heavenly mix of egg, romano cheese, fresh roasted garlic and olive oil with the addition of mushrooms and Franco's special sausage — is a plate of pure joy. It's a recipe that has been served up to hungry customers in Dayton for more than 41 years.
>> Tributes pour in to Franco Germano, late founder of Franco’s Ristorante Italiano
2) DISTRICT PROVISIONS
521 Wayne Ave., Dayton
513-464-6925 or https://districtprovisionsdayton.com/stores
District provisions is a turn-of-the-century style neighborhood market and eatery in the Oregon District. Located in the Dietz Block building next to Crafted & Cured, this is a collection of eateries that feels very European. Glasz Bleu Oven opened in late 2017 specializing in dishes made over flames licking up from a wood-burning oven.
>> PHOTOS: Sneak peek inside the beautiful District Provisions in Dayton's Oregon District
Recently Jack Lukey’s Oyster Saloon & Caviar and Local Hero Butchery & Fare have joined the mix. Many menu items are written up daily based on what’s in season and what’s fresh. It’s such a treat to see what they are serving up, and dining here is the kind of joyful experience that foodies live for. They are open Thursday through Sunday starting at 11 a.m. for “all your brunchish needs.” It’s closed Monday through Wednesday and open from 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sundays.
>> Two new shops now open at District Provisions in Dayton's Oregon District
3) TROLL PUB AT THE WHEELHOUSE
216 Wayne Ave., Dayton
937-723-7709 or www.trollpub.com
When the Troll Pub Under The Bridge in Louisville, Ky. decided to open a second location they looked far and wide. Thankfully they decided to head to Dayton. The expansive 6,500-square-foot restaurant features 28 TVs, it is the largest sports bar downtown with plenty of space to stretch out, get comfortable and watch a game.
>> PHOTOS: Take a look inside Troll Pub, downtown Dayton's newest restaurant and bar
The casual menu features a large selection of sandwiches, salads, burgers and a bevy of appetizers with price points that won’t break the bank. The bar menu is every bit as robust with craft beer and cocktails.
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4) FIFTH STREET BREWPUB
1600 E. Fifth St., Dayton
937-443-0919 or www.fifthstreetbrewpub.com
Fifth Street Brewpub is in the middle of a reinvention. They are cooking up a new logo, a new website and unveiled a new menu in February. With a warm bar and a great setting in St. Anne’s Hill Historic District, this is a sweet little spot place to grab a pint of craft beer and some food.
>> Fifth Street Brewpub has a stellar new menu -- try the 'Pork Lord' or the salmon tacos
I am partial to the fish tacos featuring smoked salmon belly folded into three corn tortillas topped with an IPA jalapeño slaw and cilantro lime sauce ($10) but there are also plenty of salads, burgers and sandwich options to tempt those who are not looking for a fish dish. This is a great spot to soak in a historic setting filled with community co-op spirit.
>> Press coffee bar named 'Best in Ohio' by Food & Wine magazine
5) PRESS COFFEE BAR
257 Wayne Ave., Dayton
937-286-4585 or www.pressdayton.com
They have some snacks here to chew on, but you need to go to Press Coffee Bar for the coffee. And don't take it from me. Take it from food magazine Food & Wine, who listed it as the "Best Coffee in Ohio" in a recent article that published last week. If that's not high praise I don't know what is.