Adventurous eaters have more opportunities to explore new restaurants than ever before.
In less than half a year, the Dayton-area has seen 10 new restaurants open that are respectively the first-of-their-kind.
These new eateries range from locally-owned concepts to restaurant chains establishing their presence in Dayton for the first time, with both fast-casual and sit-down options.
And it doesn’t stop there. There are more restaurants opening soon that will dip their proverbial toes into the Dayton market for the first time, including Hook & Reel Cajun Seafood & Bar and the Chicken Salad Chick a little further south.
But before you start adding even more places to your list of places to try, start with these restaurants that have already opened.
🍖 Flyby BBQ
The independent and locally owned Flyby BBQ restaurant opened at the Mall at Fairfield Commons. The new restaurant, which got its start as a food truck, is located between Fusian and Bravo Cucina Italiana near the mall’s front entrance.
Flyby is a fast-casual barbecue restaurant with an ordering system similar to Chipotle. It serves signature barbecue sandwiches, bowls and platters featuring hickory-smoked meats, a variety of toppings, and regional American barbecue sauces. A vegan option of pulled barbecue jackfruit will be available. The restaurant also features homemade comfort-food-style side dishes, banana pudding, craft beer and sodas, according to its founder, David Butcher.
🥩 The Bison and The Boar
The Bison and The Boar, a new steakhouse concept, celebrated its grand opening on Feb. 22.
The restaurant occupies the space formerly occupied by Reflections at 3377 U.S. Route 35 East in West Alexandria. The menu includes seafood, fish, pork and Ohio-raised beef, bison and boar.
Bison and boar are in the restaurant’s name, and there are certainly boar and bison options like the wild boar and the bison burgers for $14 and $15.
But beef reigns supreme at the restaurant located about halfway between Dayton and Richmond, Ind.
🍜 Kung Fu Noodle
A new Asian restaurant that specializes in dishes from Northern China recently opened at 2801 S. Dixie Drive in Kettering with a menu of fresh, hand-pulled noodles.
Kung Fu Noodle opened “softly” in mid-January and had a “formal opening” on March 14.
It’s a relatively small restaurant, seating only 22, but regardless has been quickly growing a steady following of fans.
The restaurant’s specialties include steamed cold noodles, Kung Fu mung bean noodle, various vermicelli noodle bowls, a fantastic chicken broth wonton soup and, the restaurant’s signature Dan Dan noodles. These kicky noodles mixed with fine ground pork, pickled long string beans, sesame paste and spicy garlic sauce are totally wonderful and addictive.
☕ St. Anne the Tart
St. Anne the Tart bakery and coffee shop, 1500 E. Fifth St. in the St. Anne’s Hill neighborhood east of downtown Dayton, opened March 1.
The new bakery serves a variety of baked goods from sweet pastries to lunch-worthy savory tarts, and offers an array of coffee beverages, tea, granola and yogurt.
The shop serves a healthy dose of community service alongside its offerings, as its founder set up a non-profit organization that channels a portion of the bakery’s revenues, particularly the St. Anne’s Hill historic district where it resides.
🥞 Wright Cafe
The new Wright Café in Vandalia has had “very good success since opening” in late March and is gearing up to expand its menu with seasonal offerings in the coming weeks, its owner says.
The new restaurant at 3324 Benchwood Road was built and equipped as an IHOP restaurant but never opened as an IHOP.
“We are a grass-roots type of concept with an outstanding menu where a family or group can get a very reasonable bang for their buck,” its founder Michael Dixson told this news outlet. “We are open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and have quick items on the menu if one is pressed for time.”
🌮 Hector’s Taco Shop
The first Dayton-area Hector’s Taco Shop — but not the last, its founder says — opened April 10 in Fairborn.
The region’s newest Mexican restaurant is located at 1864 Colonel Glenn Highway, in space that most recently housed the Wright Wing sports pub.
Founder Hector Gonzales also is involved in the Dayton area’s Victor’s Taco Shop locations, and the restaurants share a similar menu. But Gonzales has added several menu items distinctive to his namesake restaurant, including a variety of tortas, or Mexican sandwiches, as well as sizzling fajitas, breakfast plates, a veggie quesadilla and other items.
🦐 Neighborhood Fish and More
The Dayton area has a new seafood restaurant and market.
Neighborhood Fish & More opened April 8 at 6556 N. Union Road in the Meadowbrook Crossing retail center in Clayton.
The 4,000-square-foot restaurant has a dining room and also offers seafood to go, either cooked or fresh for cooking at home, said Neighborhood Fish & More’s founder, Leon Morris.
The opening-day seafood menu included four varieties of fish: catfish, cod, swai and red snapper.
Sides include collard greens, mac & cheese, baked beans, cole slaw and potato salad. Rotating dinner specials will include chicken wings, barbecue ribs, spaghetti and beef links, while weekend dinner specials will include gumbo and smothered pork steak. Desserts include sweet-potato pie and banana pudding.
🥙 Pita Pit
Dain Peters, 23, of Englewood opened his first Pita Pit location at 1047 Brown St. near the University of Dayton and Miami Valley Hospital in February.
The business specializes in fresh and healthy pita sandwiches, including Pita Pit’s Dagwood, Gyro, Souvlaki, Philly, Baja Chicken Bacon Ranch, Chicken Pesto, Boom Boom Black Bean (and the vegetarian) vegan hummus sandwiches.
“The last two years, I have been working really hard and saving all my cash for this dream I’ve had to own a Pita Pit since I was 12,” said Peters, the chain’s youngest franchise holder.
The Chicago-based deep-dish pizza specialist Giordano’s opened its first Dayton-area location at 2819 Centre Drive near the Mall at Fairfield Commons and Wright State University’s Nutter Center on Feb. 19.
The 5,000-square-foot, full-service restaurant offers dine-in, carry-out, and delivery for lunch and dinner, as well as catering options.
Giordano’s has been serving its large-scale pies since 1974, when founders and immigrant brothers Efren and Joseph Boglio introduced their mother’s deep-dish pizza recipe to Chicago. A thin-crust pizza is also on the menu.
🥪 Jason’s Deli
The first Dayton-area Jason's Deli opened Thursday April 4. The new restaurant is located at 2819 Centre Drive near I-675 and North Fairfield Road across from the Mall at Fairfield Commons in Beavercreek.
Jason’s Deli’s officials say their menu offers “healthy to indulgent meal choices for all tastes and appetites,” including specialty sandwiches, salads, wraps, paninis, muffalettas, pasta and potato dishes and 12 original-recipe soups. A vegetarian menu and a gluten-sensitive menu also are offered.
🍕 Gionino’s Pizzeria
Dayton’s first Gionino’s Pizzeria has opened in a former tire shop at 1528 E. Third St., near DK Effect. The franchise has about 45 locations between Cleveland and Canton, with a Columbus location as well. The first Dayton shop will primarily be pick-up and delivery, according to the owners. A small dining area seating 14 is available.
“What differentiates us, personally, from other local pizza shops is we do the fried chicken,” owner Tony Clark said. “Where I’m from, pizza and fried chicken go hand and hand. ... Down here that isn’t quite the case. So I think people are going to be really excited about the quality of the fried chicken and the wings also.”
🥒 Stacked Pickle
Ohio’s very first Stacked Pickle has opened its first Dayton-area location at the former Roosters site, 103 N. Springboro Pike, near the Dayton Mall.
Established in 2010, Stacked Pickle is owned and operated by former Indianapolis Colts football player and Super Bowl Champion Gary Brackett. The chain serves American foods like wings, burgers, fried pickles and sandwiches. The restaurant chain has nine Indiana locations, according to its website.
🥩🔥 Black Rock Bar & Grill
The new Black Rock Bar & Grill is officially open after several months of being in the works in front of the Mall at Fairfield Commons in Beavercreek.
The restaurant serves steaks, seafood and other entrees on a 755-degree volcanic rock, allowing diners to cook their meals to their liking. Black Rock also features an assortment of appetizers, sandwiches and desserts, as well as a full-service bar that includes 17 craft beer taps and signature cocktails.
While these two restaurants aren’t technically brand new to the area, they have new locations.
🍗 Agnes All Natural Grill
A locally owned and independent restaurant that may have a familiar ring to it has opened inside the Dayton Mall.
Agnes All Natural Grill, which has operated a food truck in the Dayton area for the last two years, opened an Agnes Express location on Friday, March 15, in the Dayton Mall Food Court, according to Dave Duebber, general manager of the Dayton Mall, and Chef Brooklyn Sims, chef and manager of the restaurant’s Dayton Mall location.
The new restaurant serves Caribbean specialties that include jerk chicken wings, curry chicken, jerk chicken cheesesteak, and brown sugar lemonade, Sims said. All items are prepared fresh to order, the restaurant manager said.
Prior to operating as a food truck the last two years, Agnes All Natural Grill operated a restaurant that launched in 2012 on North Keowee Street in Dayton, then moved downtown and operated briefly in the lower level of the PNC Center at 6 N. Main St. in downtown Dayton. It is owned by Jose Estremera.
🍖 Crossroads BBQ & More
A locally owned and independent barbecue restaurant is now open, bringing new life to the venerable former Cadillac Jack’s Bar & Grill space in the Skyway Plaza in Fairborn.
The barbecue restaurant moved to the nearby site at 1156 Kauffman Ave. from its previous location at 1888 Colonel Glenn Highway.
Crossroads offers not only the traditional barbecue menu of smoked meats such as brisket, ribs, pulled pork and pulled chicken, but also burgers, wings, subs and pizza.
“This is a perfect location for us,” co-founder and co-owner Jason McGee said. “It opens up a whole new opportunity for us to fulfill the vision I’ve had for the restaurant.”