Reasons why you should try these two new fast-casual concepts

Local restaurant news, changes, announcements and openings continue to flow at a steady pace.

The menu of restaurant options for hungry diners continues to take shape and grow with an overarching trend of new fast-casual concepts being introduced to the market.

Although this makes me appreciate the fine dining options out there even more, there’s definitely a major market in town for these types of dining concepts.

Here’s a look at two new options I’ve tried out that are worth adding to your mental restaurant Rolodex for consideration.


1822 Brown St., Dayton

(937) 938-7384

Why am I excited about this Mexican street-style taco chain that just opened up near Milano’s on Brown Street within walking distance of UD? It’s affordable. It has breakfast tacos all day long. It’s open late. It offers $5 margaritas, a selection of beer and a bar. It’s a win-win-win-win.

The tacos, which come in more than a dozen options and average around $2.50 each, include a roasted pork taco served with cotija cheese and pickled red onions; a slow-roasted brisket taco served with queso fresco, onion and cilantro; a baja shrimp taco served with creamy baja sauce, red cabbage and cilantro and a BBQ brisket taco. For vegetarians and vegans they offer a rajas taco stuffed with grilled poblanos, mushrooms, onions and red peppers and topped with queso fresco and cilantro and a chipotle black-bean taco topped with pico de gallo, cotija cheese, cilantro and toasted pumpkin seeds.

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The breakfast tacos are pretty straightforward — a protein like bacon, brisket, jalapeno sausage, chorizo, black beans — you get the idea — served with egg and cheese in a corn tortilla. Bacon or potato can be added.

This place is solid, fresh and especially welcome when it's late at night and the pickings are slim … especially when there's a margarita involved. Olé!

Credit: Mark Fisher

Credit: Mark Fisher


3464 Pentagon Blvd., Beavercreek

(937) 956-6060

Pho (pronounced fuh) is a super healthy Vietnamese broth based soup made with a pile of rice noodles, fresh cilantro and basil, bean sprouts and some sort of protein (chicken, beef, seafood). It is often accessorized with fresh lime or hot chili oil, depending on the flavor and heat you prefer in the soup.

This Vietnamese staple is delicious — and it’s trending, based on a fascinating report Google released on last year’s food search-term traffic. The report called pho a “seasonal riser” which they defined as a seasonal dish that is likely to come back even stronger in 2017.

Pho is served up hot just like the search traffic across the globe seeking it out, and with renewed interest, and not many spots in town to get good Vietnamese, it’s nice to have another establishment serving it up.

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Wat da Pho, which just opened at the end of January, has Vietnamese subs, stir-fried lo mein, rice dishes, a veggie menu and deserts, but the pho is where it’s at. “Pho-Up” for $8.75 and try the soup with sliced steak and meatballs. The chicken ($7.50) and shrimp ($9.75) are also good, affordable options.

Order it up with a bubble tea smoothie ($4.50) flavored with your choice of strawberry, mango, peach, passion fruit, taro or matcha green tea and you will be a happy camper. The Vietnamese at Linh’s Bistro and Little Saigon are still tops in my book, but this is another very nice, locally owned option if you are trying to mix it up and try something new.

That said, Wat da Pho is very early into its restaurant journey, so I’m looking forward with great interest for what the future may hold for it.

Dayton Eats looks at the regional food stories and restaurant news that make mouths water. Share info about your menu updates, special dinners and events, new chefs, interesting new dishes and culinary adventures. Do you know of new exciting format changes, specials, happy hours, restaurant updates or any other tasty news you think is worth a closer look at? E-mail Alexis Larsen at with the information and we will work to include it in future coverage.


Turn to us every Sunday in Life & Arts for the latest menu updates, special dinners and events, new chefs, interesting new dishes, and culinary adventures brought to you by contributing writer Alexis Larsen. Bon appetite!

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