Salt Block Biscuit Company delivers deliciousness with sandwiches, desserts and tasty sides

Salt Block Biscuit Company sells sandwiches and baked goods. It's located at 115 E. Third St. in downtown Dayton. CONTRIBUTED/ALEXIS LARSEN
Caption
Salt Block Biscuit Company sells sandwiches and baked goods. It's located at 115 E. Third St. in downtown Dayton. CONTRIBUTED/ALEXIS LARSEN

Credit: Alexis Larsen

For some lucky people their work is more than just a job, it’s a calling.

When this happens in the restaurant industry, you can almost always taste it in the food coming out of the kitchen.

Justin Mohler has always loved to bake. In fact, he can’t remember a time when he didn’t. His love was so strong he was drawn to a two-year culinary program in high school followed by three years of pastry arts at Sullivan University in Louisville, Ky. Since that time, he has worked two decades as a pastry chef in Dayton, putting his flavorful stamp on restaurants like Blue Moon, Christopher’s and Olive, an Urban Dive.

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A little over four months ago, he took a leap and opened the doors to his own business — Salt Block Biscuit Company, located at 115 E. Third St. in downtown Dayton.

“The opportunity of running a small business has always been my goal. Having worked in the food industry in Dayton for more than 20 years helped me establish and achieve this dream. On September 22, 2020 I was able to open my doors to the public for something I feel the downtown area had been missing. A place where people can gather and share their stories of food and family. (That’s) part of why I made the atmosphere feel as if you are in a family or friend’s kitchen. This is a place of home to me and I want others to feel the same,” said Mohler. “A few years ago I had taken a trip to Italy and fell in love with the small bodegas and cafes. They occupied the shop with a small staff, shelves full of local wares and fresh food. We tried to give that same experience by offering unique bodega items and fresh baked goods daily and having a menu for the person looking to have a full meal.”

Justin Mohler is the owner of Salt Block Biscuit Company at 115 East Third St. in the Fireblock District.
Caption
Justin Mohler is the owner of Salt Block Biscuit Company at 115 East Third St. in the Fireblock District.

Credit: JIM NOELKER

Credit: JIM NOELKER

The entry of the restaurant is merchandised and appointed with a trained eye. The selection of spreads, jelly, honey, teas, cookies, cakes, seasonal desserts and a wide selection of tinned seafood for sale makes it a great stop to grab lunch and a tasty present for yourself or someone else.

There are even clever packages like “Comfy & Cozy” ($42) that feature six mini biscuits of your choice (the mother minis, everything biscuit, or cheddar thyme mini biscuits), paired with a 13-ounce jar of Bonne Maman preserves (cherry, fig or peach) accompanied by 50 sleeves of The Tea of Republic. Perfect for a slow morning or an afternoon wind-down, it is embellished with assorted pieces of chocolates and chocolate truffles. The “Sailor’s Delight” ($45) features six mini biscuits of your choice paired with three tinned seafood items of your choice. This too is embellished with assorted pieces of chocolates and chocolate truffles.

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But this is all a really nice bonus to the biscuit sandwiches that await. The menu is short, sweet and to the point with just six sandwiches. It may be small, but the end product is certainly mighty.

Each sandwich is served on two open faced sandwich halves, the buttery rich nicely salted biscuits providing a thick substantial base for the generous ingredients piled on top. Each sandwich is easy to split and share, especially with the addition of a side or a dessert.

Graham Hunter, from Dayton, eats at the newly opened, Salt Block Biscuit Company on Third Street in the Fire Block District Tuesday September 22,2020.
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Graham Hunter, from Dayton, eats at the newly opened, Salt Block Biscuit Company on Third Street in the Fire Block District Tuesday September 22,2020.

Credit: JIM NOELKER

Credit: JIM NOELKER

The most popular are the Early Bright ($8) featuring an everything biscuit, bacon, hard-boiled egg, cheddar cheese and tomato and the Farmboy ($10) featuring housemade and pattied breakfast sausage, hard-boiled egg, tomato, herb aioli and greens.

The Sow ($10) is a biscuit topped with pimento cheese, bread and butter pickles and pimento cheese, while the Green Thumb ($10) falls on the other side of the topping spectrum with the biscuit topped with pickled egg, roasted zucchini, tomato, herb aioli and greens.

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But it’s the remaining two sandwiches that hold the true magic of the menu for me. The Le Cochon ($13) is a biscuit slathered in butter and Dijon mustard with a bed of chopped sweet and salty sangria olives topped with a sliced hard-boiled egg and shredded smoked pork shoulder. It’s a lovely, satisfying combination that zings with the mustard and surprises with the olives.

The superstar of the menu is the Caster and Whaler ($13). The generous pieces of smoky trout filet that crown the top of this sandwich play off the buttery biscuit beneath accented by sweet beets and fresh egg. It’s like a Southern infused Scandinavian flavor dream.

Salt Block Biscuit Company Caster and Whaler biscuit sandwich topped with smoked trout, hard-boiled egg, pickled beets and onion, herb aioli and parsley. CONTRIBUTED/ALEXIS LARSEN
Caption
Salt Block Biscuit Company Caster and Whaler biscuit sandwich topped with smoked trout, hard-boiled egg, pickled beets and onion, herb aioli and parsley. CONTRIBUTED/ALEXIS LARSEN

Credit: Alexis Larsen

Credit: Alexis Larsen

Be sure to add a side of potato salad ($5) — a family recipe that has been handed down through the generations courtesy of Mohler’s Grandma Pat — that has just the right ratio of soft creamy potato to chunky vegetable crunch and delicious bright flavor, thanks to the onion and celery that accent and uphold the potato in a classic way. The fantastic, bright coleslaw ($5) is another great option, with lots of great vegetable crunch and fresh dill with a wash of sweet cream that doesn’t drown or overwhelm.

The food is certainly Southern inspired, but the plating and environment has a European hint. It’s a bright, beautiful combination with execution under Mohler’s watchful eye and capable skill that will wow you.

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“(This is) a new and fresh way of having a meal. From the open-faced biscuit sandwiches to the tinned seafood planks give you a different view on how a biscuit can be presented. We will offer traditional items from time to time, such as biscuits and gravy or fried eggs. I just want to give my patrons an experience they are not used to. Picnic style foods for the on-the-go patron,” said Mohler.

The baked goods are every bit as good. Rosemary chocolate chip cookies, butterscotch salty cashew cookies, cherry pecan cobbler, a wonderful grapefruit zucchini cake with cream cheese frosting, buttermilk chocolate cake ... it is clear from the execution of these that Mohler is a master of baking overall.

On my first Salt Block visit I had the blueberry lemon bar and it was one of the best desserts I have had in a very long time. It had a crispy top that crunched with carmelized sugar and a light filling of lemon and fresh blueberry that was flirty and fun but not overpowering.

A restaurant and bakery called Salt Block Biscuit Company is poised to open in downtown Dayton's Fire Blocks District. SUBMITTED
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A restaurant and bakery called Salt Block Biscuit Company is poised to open in downtown Dayton's Fire Blocks District. SUBMITTED

“We are more than just the one-stop shop, offering European-style items that can be paired with our bakery items. A dine-in cafe offers both a full meal or bakery items that pair well with coffee or tea. Also providing gift options for birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays events. Bulk bakery items can be purchased for office meetings or other affairs. Small events can also be planned for the at-home cocktail party, showers or even renting out Salt Block Biscuit Company for these special events,” said Mohler.

Future plans include possibly adding a night service that offers small plates, tinned seafood plank boards, and more elegant desserts. Mohler also hopes to obtain a liquor license to offer beer and wine. He would also like to create a full-fledged bodega with local dairy, local eggs and produce. As the weather warms, Mohler hopes to add outdoor sidewalk seating.

Whatever the future holds for Salt Block Biscuit Company, it’s clear that this is a calling for Mohler. You can see it, and more importantly, you can taste 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 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 alexis.e.larsen@hotmail.com with the information and we will work to include it in future coverage.


HOW TO GO

What: Salt Block Biscuit Company in downtown Dayton’s Fire Blocks District

Where: 115 E. Third St., Dayton

Hours: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday with sandwiches only served until 2 p.m., closed Sundays and Mondays.

More information: 937-938-9070 or visit its Facebook page