Legendary singer raves about Oregon District restaurant

A legendary singer — seriously, she is a biggie — loves, loves, loves an Oregon District restaurant and its owner.

Mavis Staples, a solo artist who got her start as part of the Staple Singers with her dad  and siblings, gave numerous shout-outs to Wheat Penny Oven and Bar, 515 Wayne Ave.,  and its owner Elizabeth Wiley during her  rocking performance Tuesday at the Fraze.

The soul and rock singer  and her band opened for Bob Dylan.

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Staples' most recent album, Livin' on a High Note, includes songs written by Neko Case, Bon Iver's Justin Vernon, Nick Cave and  Ben Harper.

Also a gospel singer, she is best know for the Staple Singers hits "Respect Yourself," "I'll Take You There," "If You're Ready (Come Go with Me)," and "Let's Do It Again."

She met Wiley in March at the Duke Diet and Fitness Center in , Durham, N.C.  The women became friend and Staples was invited to stop by Wheat Penny when she came to Dayton. Wiley promised healthy food.

While at Wheat Penny, Stapes and her group order grilled shrimp and vegetables  on polenta,  pepperoni gumbo, eggplant fries, green beans  and pizza. 

Amy Rollins, the editor of Dayton Daily News' Wheels, attended the show and said Staples raved about Wiley and the meal she had the night before at the restaurant, saying it reminded her of her family's home cooking.

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Braised celery with grilled Italian sausage and polenta ($16.95) from Wheat Penny Oven and Bar in Dayton. (Photo by Alexis Larsen, Contributing Writer)

The restaurant's epic eggplant fries clearly made an impression.

And why wouldn't  they?  Just look at em.

Staples posted about her dining experience on her Facebook and Instagram pages. Wiley surpised Staples with a flash mob with singers from the World House Choir. 

"She clearly loved their food as do we all," Rollins said.

Rollins said the singer mentioned Wiley or her restaurant at least 10 times. Seated near the stage, Wiley stood up and was acknowledged.

Way to go, chef.

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Miami Valley Restaurant Association's Amy Zahora with Chef Wiley of Meadowlark, Chef Liz of Wheat Penny, and Chef Dave of Meadowlark and Wheat Penny (Source: Amy Zahora)