Spring is here!
You might not be able to get out on the town, but you can still treat yourself to a delicious new meal.
The Dayton dining scene is always full of surprises, with comings and goings.
But these are some of the newest restaurants on the block with some staying power.
>> Restaurant highlights for February: New Italian restaurant opens and a bakery, tap house and hot chicken on the horizon
Based on the results of this year’s Best of Dayton people’s choice contest as well as our own recent culinary adventures, we’ve put together a list of 10 new restaurants, opened within the last year, that are worth trying.
Happy eating, Dayton!
🏆THE PEOPLE’S CHOICE WINNERS
Top three winners for Best of Dayton Best New Restaurant
WINNER: Best of Dayton 2019-20 Best New Restaurant
Dayton got its first taste of Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant when it opened last August at Cornerstone of Centerville.
Judging by the results of this year’s Best of Dayton contest, Dayton can’t get enough. Cooper’s Hawk was voted both Best New Restaurant and Best Winery.
Its menu is broad and varied.
We stopped by Cooper’s Hawk just as it opened and were impressed by its delicious entrees.
Pan-Roasted Barramundi ($25.99), a member of the sea-bass family, is served with sautéed green beans and grape tomatoes with ginger rice and Thai Lemongrass sauce that contains a touch of curry. The fish is sautéed flesh-side down in a pan until a slight caramelized crust forms, then flipped into a bit of melted butter and finished in a hot oven. A Shrimp & Scallop Risotto ($27.99) is rich and satisfying, served with sweet corn, asparagus, peas and Parmesan, then anointed with a bit of white truffle oil. The Gnocchi Carbonara is another winner, served with slices of chicken, sage, peas and pancetta, held together by a creamy Parmesan garlic-cream sauce. Beef lovers can look to the Churrasco Grilled Steak ($28.99), cooked to order and well-seasoned, or the Ginger-Soy-Glazed, Center-Cut New York Strip ($33.99).
We can’t forget the wine since the restaurant chain puts “Winery” before “Restaurant” in its name.
Cooper’s Hawk offers nearly 50 private-label wines and a long, Napa Valley-style tasting bar. Guests can order samples of the wines, either individually or in flights. The tasting room also offers bottled wine for retail purchase.
Cooper’s Hawk is a perfect destination for a date night, night out with friends or a special occasion. It is upscale, yet cozy and welcoming and moderately priced. Entrees range from roughly $20-35 and wine bottles vary, with plenty of options under $25.
2ND PLACE: Best of Dayton 2019-20 Best New Restaurant
Some of Dayton’s greatest food trucks have gone on to success as brick-and-mortar restaurants.
This is the case for Flyby BBQ located at the Mall at Fairfield Commons, which just celebrated its first anniversary in February.
Flyby is a fast-casual barbecue restaurant with an ordering system similar to Chipotle’s. It serves signature barbecue sandwiches, bowls and platters featuring hickory-smoked meats, a variety of toppings, and regional American barbecue sauces. The restaurant also features homemade comfort-food-style side dishes, banana pudding, craft beer and sodas.
Flyby BBQ founder David Butcher was named the Top Student Entrepreneur in Central Ohio and top 25 in the United States by Entrepreneurs Organization in both 2016 and 2017. He launched the business in 2016 with pop-up events and catering, then brought on his cousin, Mark Butcher, to launch the food truck venture in 2017.
This destination is perfect for a quick bite before shopping and is perfect for all ages, including families.
BLACK ROCK BAR & GRILL
3RD PLACE: Best of Dayton 2019-20 Best New Restaurant
Diners looking for a culinary experience are turning to Black Rock Bar & Grill, located at the Mall at Fairfield Commons.
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.
Beyond the Best of Dayton winners, here are a few of the best new restaurants we have recently discovered that we think you should discover, too.
Club Oceano Seafood & Bar, a locally owned seafood restaurant, opened in a highly visible restaurant space at The Greene Town Center. The fine dining destination seats 280 and fills the 8,000-square-foot space that previously housed McCormick & Schmick’s seafood restaurant, which shut down in September 2017.
The menu is impressive. For dinner, you can’t go wrong with fresh fish. The Fresh Cut Chilean Sea Bass ($34) is served with a miso sauce, Italian black rice and seasonal vegetables, quickly sauteed. Florida Grouper ($34) is pan-seared, then topped with a ribbon of tomato-black bean (mostly tomato) sauce and served with cilantro rice and seasonal vegetables.
If you’re going for lunch, opt for the fish and chips. You won’t be disappointed. Flaky, moist fish is fried perfectly with a crispy, not-too-heavy, not-too-light batter. Served with wedge fries and cole slaw, the dish costs $13 at lunch.
Ooey-gooey, cheesy, deep-dish goodness isn’t just for Chicago anymore.
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 last February.
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.
The stuffed deep-dish pies that are the chain’s signature dish. Those pies require a 10-step process to create even before cooking, including a second layer of dough above the “toppings” that is then adorned with sauce. When ordering at the restaurant, the menu cautions a deep-dish pizza could take 45 minutes or so to prepare.
It’s worth the wait.
>> PHOTOS: Peek inside Giordano’s pizza restaurant
KUNG FU NOODLE
2801 S. Dixie Drive #3, Kettering | 937-938-9027 | Facebook
Blink, and you could miss this hidden gem. The very modest west Kettering restaurant only seats 22 guests, but don't let its interior fool you. The small but mighty eatery will blow you away with unique and flavorful dishes that you won't find anywhere else in Dayton.
True to its namesake, their fresh, hand-pulled noodles make each dish they're featured in a delight. The aromatic Lanzhou beef noodle soup is a classic that’s noodles harken back to China’s Tang Dynasty more than 2,000 years ago. Other standouts on the menu include the braised beef noodle soup, steamed cold noodles and the Dan Dan noodles. If you’re feeling less adventurous, you can’t go wrong with their stir fries or fried rice dishes.
THE BISON AND THE BOAR
This one’s a little off the beaten path, but definitely worth the drive if you’re looking for a foodie adventure.
The Bison and The Boar, a new steakhouse concept, celebrated its grand opening last February.
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. The restaurant recently launched a new comfort food menu with lower priced options including chili and a brunch.
2820 Colonel Glenn Highway, Fairborn | 937-318-8006 | Facebook
This is not the budget ramen you lived on in college. Near Wright State University, discover gourmet ramen with Hoshi Ramen. The menu includes multiple styles of ramen, made in authentic Japanese style. Some of the restaurant’s other ramen dishes are based on vegetable broth or chicken broth. Bao Bun (sandwich-style dish with a steamed bun), Chahan (A Japanese fried-rice dish) and Donburi (vegetables and a protein served over steamed rice) dishes are also available.
STONEY’S MUNCHIE BAR
1929 E. Fifth St., Dayton | (937) 416-8562 | Facebook
The restaurant and its menu are peppered with jokes related to marijuana culture. But the menu is no joke.
As the name implies, Stoney’s is there to provide a cure for a case of the munchies.
Stoney’s serves made-from-scratch all-day breakfast and lunch, plus grilled sandwiches and build-your-own options.
Menu highlights include thick and tasty shakes, a twist on biscuits and gravy that features airy hush-puppy like treats filled with cheddar cheese and deep fried and chicken and cornbread waffles.
THE CHICKEN SPOT
3261 W. Siebenthaler Ave., Dayton | (937) 813-1618 | Facebook
There is nothing ugly about this Medusa.
One of the signature sandwiches at one of Dayton’s new sandwich shops, The Medusa features a breaded boneless chicken breast topped with macaroni and cheese, collard greens and pickled onions served on a buttered toasted bun.
This sandwich should be on every Dayton foodie’s bucket list.
The Chicken Spot is Chef Anthony Head's new restaurant that opened at the end of July in the Northwest Shopping Plaza. It's a carry-out spot with six pews that you can sit on while you wait on your order to come up. This is a spot that's easy to miss.
The menu is limited to a selection of four chicken sandwiches ranging in price from $8-11 and a vegan, plant-based chicken-sandwich alternative for $8.
These sandwiches are truly crave-worthy.