4 new restaurants opened in the Dayton area in November just as pandemic was forcing 2 long-time classics to shut down

Four Miami Valley restaurants defied the odds in November by opening their doors and serving their first customers during a month that saw the COVID-19 pandemic spike across Ohio and the nation.

But the coronavirus also played a pivotal role in shutting down two long-standing restaurants that had served Dayton-area diners for a combined 30-plus years.

Here’s a closer look at the Miami Valley’s restaurant and dining news during the tumultuous month of November 2020.


Agave & Rye

Credit: Lisa Powell

Credit: Lisa Powell

The first Dayton-area Agave & Rye restaurant and bar is now open and operating on Troy’s town square.

The fast-growing Cincinnati-area chain’s newest restaurant is located at 2 N. Market St. in the space that formerly housed La Piazza Italian restaurant.

Each Agave & Rye is in essence a tequila bar and a bourbon bar inside a Mexican-inspired restaurant. The Troy location, like its sister restaurants, features a selection of 87 tequilas and 87 bourbons.

The food menu includes 20 specialty double-shell (crunchy corn and soft flour) tacos, including the “Swipe Right Honey,” with lime-grilled chicken, sweet/spicy bacon, aged white cheddar, salsa and sour cream; the “Cat’s Meow White Cheddar,” with grits, Andouille sausage, bourbon shrimp, green onion, jambalaya sauce and crispy bell pepper; the “Crown Jewel,” with butter-poached lobster, shiitake mushrooms, mac ‘n’ cheese, truffle oil and shavings and green onions, and more.

Lefty’s Eats & Espresso

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

A Fairborn restaurant opened a second location in downtown Xenia.

The new Lefty’s Eats & Espresso moved into the space occupied by Courthouse Coffee, which had operated at 29 E. Main St. since July 2018.

Lefty’s in Xenia serves breakfast and lunch Monday through Saturday, opening at 6:30 a.m. and closing at 2 p.m. six days a week

Fu Mon Lau



A locally owned and independent Asian restaurant that serves a broad Cantonese menu and several seafood-themed signature dishes has opened in the South Towne Centre in Miami Twp.

Fu Mon Lau restaurant opened at 2008 Miamisburg-Centerville Road in space that previously housed a Qdoba restaurant.

The menu focuses on authentic Cantonese cuisine and other popular Chinese dishes. Signature dishes include Sampon lobster, Steamed Oysters with Black Bean Sauce, Grouper Fish Fillet w/Tofu served in a Clay Pot, Beef Brisket with Wonton Egg Noodle Soup, and a Fish-Crab Meat Soup.

Warehouse 4 Café and Bake Shop



Vandalia-based Warehouse 4 Cafe and Bake Shop celebrated the opening of its second location, in Kettering, by introducing a new menu at both of its coffee shops.

The new Kettering location opened Nov. 4 in space that previously housed a Union Savings Bank branch at 3131 Wilmington Pike.

The menu offers “new sandwiches, breakfast items, salads and more,” the owners of Warehouse 4 said on the café's Facebook page.

Breakfast options include biscuit sandwiches with eggs, cheese and sausage, bacon or ham, and Chipotle Bacon served on a ciabatta roll with bacon, egg, tomato, white cheddar, chipotle and arugula. Lunch options include apple-pecan, Cobb, garden or Italian salads, and sandwiches such as a Mushroom Melt, Chipotle Turkey, Ham & Swiss and a Veggie Wrap.


Little Fish Brewing Company

Downtown Dayton will soon be home to a second location of Athens, Ohio-based Little Fish Brewing Company.

The brewery announced it has signed a letter of intent with Windsor Companies to develop a craft brewery and tap room in Webster Station in downtown Dayton. Construction is projected to begin in spring of 2021.

The future Little Fish location will be dedicated to the production of wood- and barrel-aged sour beers. Patrons will be able to enjoy these, as well as other Little Fish beers brewed at the Athens location at the Dayton taproom and beer garden, according to a release.

Whit’s Frozen Custard



Plans are in the works to turn a long-vacant site near Centerville’s Historic District into the first Dayton-area franchise of an Ohio-based business specializing in desserts.

Northmont High School and University of Dayton grad Jeffrey Neace is looking to open a Whit’s Frozen Custard on Ohio 48, a concept city officials say should work well with long-range plans for the area.

Neace said he wants to transform the vacant Marathon service station at 199 N. Main St. into a community gathering spot with a large outdoor area and vintage atmosphere.


La Rosa’s

LaRosa’s announced Nov. 2, that the pizza restaurant it operated since 2006 in Englewood had shut down permanently, leaving only one LaRosa’s pizzeria still operating in the Dayton area for the Cincinnati-based chain.

LaRosa’s officials said in a release that “challenges from the closure of the (restaurant’s) dining room due to COVID-19 and the imminent expiration of its lease made operating the Englewood pizzeria no longer feasible.”

The closure of the Englewood location at 7712 Hoke Road marks the fourth local LaRosa’s to close permanently in the last four years, reducing the chain’s presence in the Dayton market from five locations in 2016 to one.

Golden Corral

The Golden Corral restaurant in Beavercreek shut down permanently in mid-November, about four months after it had reopened for business following a statewide shutdown of dine-in service due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“We have closed our restaurant due to the business impact of COVID-19,” a sign on the door of the restaurant at 2490 Commons Blvd. near the Mall at Fairfield Commons informed customers. “We appreciate the support of the community and the guests who have dined with us at this location.”

The Raleigh, North Carolina-based Golden Corral was founded in 1973 and operated nearly 500 restaurants nationwide prior to the coronavirus pandemic.