A Cincinnati native is putting her own touches on an exclusive Dayton restaurant’s menu and she’s using the city’s iconic luminaries to do it.
The entrees, sandwiches, salads and starters on The Dayton Club’s new lunch menu are named for a who’s who of the Gem City’s past.
“This took some time and this was really fun,” Stephanie Schifrin Salas, the executive chef of the private club atop the Kettering Tower at 40 N. Main St. in downtown Dayton, told us.
The Dayton Racquet Club announced in November that it would change its name to The Dayton Club.
>> RELATED: Why did the Dayton Racquet Club change its name?
New lunch menu items include:
— Cox Chicken Tenders for the former Ohio governor and WHIO and Dayton Daily News owner James M. Cox
— Rike’s Famous Sloppy Joe for the Rike’s Department Store
— The Barn Gang Burger so named for Charles Kettering, Edward Deeds and other innovators who tinkered as moonlighting engineers in a barn.
— The “Wright” Reuben and Wilbur’s Wild Mushroom Flatbread named for the Wright brothers.
— Triangle Park Trio named for the site of the first game of what is now the NFL.
“There is no place in town that cares this much or ties in history this much,” Salas, a history buff, said.
The Centerville resident said the menu has proven to be a conversation starter.
Family members of those honored on the menu have dined at the restaurant, Salas said, noting that she had a lengthy conversation with a descendant of philanthropist and industrialist Jesse Philips about the Philips Pecan Grape Chicken Salad Croissant so named in his honor.
The club’s dining room and bar are mostly reserved for members and their guests, but it does host frequent public events.
Several of the Dayton history-themed items are also on the bar menu.
BIG CHANGE ON THE BAR AND DINNER MENUS
The Dayton Club’s bar and dinner menus have also been overhauled by Salas, who joined the club’s staff about eight months ago.
The former culinary consultant, executive chef at the University of Cincinnati and cook for the Chicago Bears and Cleveland Indians, said it’s the first major menu change in at least three years.
“It is innovative American with an ethic twist,” Salas said of the menus rolled out about two weeks ago.
Salas, the owner of the Ohio Hunger Force 1 food truck, said it is a departure from the restaurant’s old “meat and potato” menus and a change in philosophy.
The bar menu can be ordered from the dining room and patrons can get meals from the dinner menu in the bar, she said.
“I am the chef that says ‘yes’ is the answer, what is the question,” she said. “We have kind of turned dining on its head.”
She said she took care to find menu items for diners with diverse taste buds and for vegetarians and meat lovers.
The bar menu is broken into small bites, big bites and includes saag paneer dip, burrata stuffed arancini, grilled stuffed calamari, a house ramen bowl, cornmeal fried oysters, the Barn Gang Burger (made with ground brisket, chuck and short rib), a vegan beet and quinoa burger, the Schuster Short-Rib Grilled Cheese and house made crab rangoons, Salas’s personal favorites.
“The bar menu screams, ‘Share me,’” she said.
Items range from $9 to $25.
The dinner menu includes starters, pastas and vegetarian and other featured entrees.
Items include a smoked salmon bibb salad and salmon roe vinaigrette for $11; grilled multi color asparagus for $10; seafood pappardelle scampi for $30; sweet chile duck breast for $32; blackened 14 ounce bone-in pork chop for $26; lemon rosemary spatchcock chicken for $26; “Everything” But the Bagel Salmon for $28 and the 14-ounce cowgirl bone-in ribeye for $44.
“I would put my steak up against the Paragon (Club) or the Pine Club,” she said.