Dayton gift ideas: What to give friends who love food and brew

Gift cards and other ideas for holiday presents

If you ask any restaurant worker or owner what you should consider buying your food-loving family members or friends this holiday season they will likely say the same thing: gift certificates.

Our locally owned businesses and restaurants are the heart and soul of our town and if you are able, now is the time to show them the love by spending some of your hard-earned dollars.

Food is something that unites us, and this year as our local restaurants and hospitality workers continue to weather the COVID-19 storm, finding ways to support them during the holiday season is critical. A gift card is easy to mail and is sure to be appreciated not only by the person on the receiving end, but also by the restaurant and the staff that it will benefit.

For those looking for something a little more creative, here are some other tasty ideas to get those creative gift-giving juices flowing.

Follow a theme

Create an ode to the flavors of the Miami Valley with a gift basket bearing some of the foods we are best known for. Pine Club “House” dressing and stewed tomatoes, Esther Price chocolates, Jump’s Gourmet peanuts, Smales pretzels, Mikesell’s potato chips, Boston Stoker Highlander Grogg, Mama DiSalvo’s marinara sauce, DLM Killer Brownies and top it off with a gift card to Marion’s, because if you’re going to stick with that classic Dayton theme you need some square-cut pizza slices in your life.

Feature local spirit(s)

Because honestly, many of us could use a drink right now. Grab one bottle or can or a bunch. Head to a local brewery like Eudora, Toxic, Branch and Bone, Warped Wing or Yellow Springs to pick up something fresh for the beer drinker in your life. For liquids packing a bigger punch consider buying a bottle or two from Belle of Dayton or Buckeye Vodka. Local beers and bottles of Bad Juans are available at most local grocery stores, which makes shopping and gift buying a two-for-one proposition.

Credit: Lisa Powell

Credit: Lisa Powell

Sweeten the pot

Just because there may be fewer seats at the holiday table this year, there’s still room in the pantry and fridge. A gift of hot donuts dropped off on the porch or baked goods from Ashley’s Bakery or DLM will be greatly appreciated. I sourced ideas with a Facebook post a few weeks ago and readers raved about the desserts being made at Jenny G’s Cupcakes and Treats, Boosalis Baking & Cafe, Simply Sweet Baking Company, Communitea, Sunrise Bakehouse and St. Anne the Tart. Try and get creative if you go this route — some scones from Communitea paired with some tasty holiday teas (Cranberry Hibiscus Spice, Home for the Holidays, Tea of Good Tidings, Chocolate Hazelnut) from The Golden Leaf Tea & Herb Company in Tipp City, for example, are relatively simple to pull together but so thoughtful and well thought out that they will have an even deeper impact on the recipient.

Foodie cards

If you want to go the gift card route and you can’t decide on one restaurant, there’s a deck of foodie cards for local restaurants that supports breast cancer. Visit for a deck of more than 50 cards. This deck deals out more than $10 off at over 50 local restaurants with more than $500 in savings, so it’s the gift that really keeps on giving.

Be safe

On my Facebook post, Sasha Blaine wrote, “Masks and sanitizer. Because if we don’t help protect our restaurant workers, they can’t do their jobs.”

True story. Please be careful and mask up.

What are you buying the foodie in your life this holiday season? E-mail me at and I will work to include it in future coverage.

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 exciting outdoor spaces, 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.

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