6 iconic Dayton restaurants of yesteryear in spotlight this week for special dinner

The dining room of the King Cole restaurant  in Dayton, circa 1974.
Caption
The dining room of the King Cole restaurant in Dayton, circa 1974.

Credit: Dayton Daily News archives

Credit: Dayton Daily News archives

An event this weekend will celebrate Dayton’s dining past, Dayton’s dining present and Dayton’s dining future.

ICONS: A Tribute to Dayton’s Dining Heritage will present a dish fondly remembered and enjoyed at from different beloved, classic Dayton-area restaurants that are no longer open. Maria Walusis, chef and owner of Watermark, has been working to secure original recipes and instructions in order to present these plates as faithfully as possible.

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The Dayton restaurants being honored for this year’s event include: The Peerless Mill, The Barnsider, King Cole, L’Auberge, Peasant Stock and Neil’s Heritage House. The final course will be created by Watermark.

>> PREVIOUS COVERAGE: The throwback menus for ICONS dinner and how to get your tickets.

Walusis believes this will be the best special event they have done to date inspiring nostalgia, conversation, and excitement throughout the Dayton dining community with guests from some of the honored restaurants in attendance.

“As any psychologist will tell you, sense memories are some of the strongest memories we have, and that applies especially to the taste and aroma of our favorite foods. Witness the success of TV shows such as The Best Thing I Ever Ate, now in its eighth season. Nostalgia always creates appeal, and when you couple Dayton’s colorful and prestigious dining history with those indelible food memories, you have a winning combination,” said Walusis, who said she expects the dinner to sell out. “If it is as successful as we hope, we fully intend to make it an annual event, so that we can continue to celebrate and honor those ‘shoulders of giants’ on which we stand, and who helped form the unique and wonderful tapestry of Dayton dining.”

Walusis weighed in on why she believes each of these restaurants is an icon and why she chose to faithfully recreate them for this special dinner.

>> Classic Dayton restaurants that we miss

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The Peerless Mill, the historic restaurant in downtown Miamisburg. CHRIS STEWART/DAYTON DAILY NEWS ARCHIVES

Credit: Chris Stewart

The Peerless Mill, the historic restaurant in downtown Miamisburg. CHRIS STEWART/DAYTON DAILY NEWS ARCHIVES
Caption
The Peerless Mill, the historic restaurant in downtown Miamisburg. CHRIS STEWART/DAYTON DAILY NEWS ARCHIVES

Credit: Chris Stewart

Credit: Chris Stewart

The Peerless Mill

“First, its history goes back nearly two hundred years, and it was a local favorite as a restaurant for almost 80 years. In addition, since we love being a part of the vibrant and growing scene in downtown Miamisburg, it seemed a natural to include them in our first group.”

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The Barnsider restaurant. CONTRIBUTED

The Barnsider restaurant. CONTRIBUTED
Caption
The Barnsider restaurant. CONTRIBUTED

The Barnsider

“Great restaurants have been located all over the greater Dayton area, and on the north end. The Barnsider was a staple for decades. Many of us, myself included, still remember dates there for high school dances or prom, and it was a common destination for large groups celebrating special occasions. Every time we serve our own recipe French Onion soup at Watermark, guests are bound to reminisce about the soup at The Barnsider.”

Caption
King Cole restaurant in Dayton, circa 1969

Credit: Dayton Daily News archives

King Cole restaurant in Dayton, circa 1969
Caption
King Cole restaurant in Dayton, circa 1969

Credit: Dayton Daily News archives

Credit: Dayton Daily News archives

King Cole

Once located in the Kettering Tower in downtown Dayton, King Cole was known for steaks, seafood and stately paintings on the walls.

“Where do I start? If you were dining out in the ’50s, ’60s, or ’70s, King Cole was the place for fine dining. From its Comisar Family roots (owners of the famed Maisonette), to the colorful and memorable lighted sign that graced both the Second Street location as well as the newer Kettering Tower lobby digs, everyone knew King Cole. My father-in-law still raves about their escargot!”

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L'Auberge. CONTRIBUTED

L'Auberge. CONTRIBUTED
Caption
L'Auberge. CONTRIBUTED

L’Auberge

Once the most highly credentialed restaurant in all of Dayton, l’Auberge on Far Hills Drive near the Town & Country Shopping Center in Kettering was founded in 1979 by Josef Reif and the late Dieter Krug. For 19 years, it held a four-star rating from the Mobil Travel Guide.

“One of the most beloved and missed institutions of the Dayton dining scene over the last 40 years. It was also the location for my first ‘stage’ as I began training to be a chef, and will forever hold a special place in my heart. Founder Josef Reif created magic with his own hands, as he often presented and finished dishes tableside for wide-eyed diners. A parade of top chefs including Dominique Fortin helmed the kitchen over the years, most of whom went on to run their own celebrated restaurants. The prestigious Mobil Travel guide conferred its Four-Star status by saying: ‘it is luxurious, creatively decorated, superbly maintained.’”

Peasant Stock

Once a fixture in the Town & Country shopping mall in Kettering, Peasant Stock was the place to go and was famous for its Peasant Salad, a chopped salad featuring green peas, hardboiled eggs, cheddar cheese and fried bacon crisps. It was served on chilled pewter plates.

“Along with L’Auberge, perhaps no other restaurant dominated the Dayton dining scene in the late-’90s more than Peasant Stock. Known for its fairly rustic platings and flavorful preparations of everything from soups to salads to entrees, Peasant Stock was a perennial favorite. It is often mentioned on lists of most missed restaurants, and was one of our first selections.”

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Neil's Heritage House. CONTRIBUTED

Neil's Heritage House. CONTRIBUTED
Caption
Neil's Heritage House. CONTRIBUTED

Neil’s Heritage House

Located at the corner of South Patterson Boulevard and West Schantz Avenue, Neil’s Heritage House was a popular supper club for about 50 years, and a highly sought-after venue for wedding receptions, reunions and other private parties.

“That familiar building — with the name on the side — right on the corner of Patterson Boulevard and Schantz Avenue is imprinted on the memories of anyone who traveled the area. And with it, memories of business lunches, dinner dates, and well-prepared food. A fixture of the supper club scene in the sixties, Neil’s was especially a favorite for large groups and parties.”

>> Classic Dayton restaurants you have to love and try

WANT TO GO? 

What: ICONS dinner at Watermark

When: 5 p.m. Oct. 28

Where: 20 S. 1st St., Miamisburg

Cost: $125 per person. Reservations are required and can be made by calling 937-802-0891 or purchasing online here. 

More information: Website

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