Local restaurant highlights for August: Smoked meats, ‘epic tacos’ and more

New restaurants continue to open their doors in the Dayton area.

Dayton-based Warped Wing Brewing Company has added a second location in Springboro, Warped Wing Barrel Room & Smokery. The 20,000-square-foot facility will specialize in smoked meats and have a taproom, restaurant, a biergarten-style patio, a small-scale brewery and more.

Several more new restaurants are in the works.

Salt Blocks Biscuit Company, a bakery-restaurant that will serve a breakfast and brunch menu as well as some evening fare, opens soon in downtown Dayton’s Fire Block District. In the same downtown block, a new full-service restaurant, Jollity, plans to open next year. Not far away, on Wayne Avenue in Dayton’s Oregon District, a vegan restaurant called Cafe 1610 is poised to open Labor Day weekend.

There is good news for diners to the north of Dayton, too. Agave & Rye, a new restaurant known for “epic” tacos and an extensive bourbon and tequila list, is coming to Troy in the fall.

Here’s a taste of some of the Miami Valley’s restaurant-and-food-related news for August 2020.


Warped Wing Barrel Room & Smokery



After more than six years operating their craft brewery in downtown Dayton, Warped Wing Brewing Co. co-founders Nick Bowman and John Haggerty are ready to put their experience to work in their ambitious new second location in Springboro.

The 20,000-square-foot facility at the crossroads of Springboro at State Routes 73 and 741 will house a taproom, a restaurant, a biergarten-style outdoor patio with a fire pit, a large space for barrel-aging beers, a test-pilot brewery, a distribution hub and event space.

Also as its name implies, the restaurant portion of the new Warped Wing will have a major focus on smoked meats. The “Starters and Snacks” menu includes Smoked Pulled Pork Nachos, Smoked BBQ Brisket Quesadilla and Smoked Salmon Spread served with sliced cucumber and toasted baguette. The “Trotty Bratty” features the restaurant’s signature smoked bratwurst and is served on a pretzel bun with spicy brown mustard and a choice of toppings. Sandwich choices include Smoked Turkey, Smoked Pork, Smoked Brisket, Smoked Bologna and a “PBLT Sandwich” with smoked pork belly topped with lettuce, tomato and Sriracha mayo on Texas Toast.

The drinks menu will not focus exclusively on beer. Hard cider, wine and a limited spirits menu with specialty cocktails and house-made craft sodas also will be offered.

ExploreA sneak peek at Warped Wing Springboro’s food menu, beers and taproom

Massaman Thai Cuisine

Massaman Thai Cuisine — from the family that helped introduce Thai dishes to many Daytonians and that operated the former Siam Pad Thai restaurant in Kettering — has opened “softly” to the public in Dayton’s Patterson Park neighborhood.

The restaurant, located at 467 Patterson Road just west of Shroyer Road, is open for lunch and dinner seven days a week.

Massaman Thai Cuisine’s menu is extensive. It includes soups, salads, curry dishes, stir-fry entrees, fried rice and Thai noodle dishes such as Pad Thai and Drunken Noodles.

ExploreNew Thai restaurant with a rich history in the Miami Valley’s dining scene opens ‘softly’ in Dayton

Hook & Reel Cajun Seafood & Bar

The Hook & Reel Cajun Seafood & Bar that has been under renovation and build-out for several months at the Dayton Mall opened Aug. 18.

The restaurant is located at 2564 Miamisburg-Centerville Road in the former Sears Tire & Auto Center that is part of the mall property in Miami Twp. Hook & Reel shares the renovated building with a relocated Outback Steakhouse restaurant.

The restaurant’s menu focuses on a build-your-own seafood theme, with choices such as clams, crawfish, mussels, shrimp, scallops, lobster and multiple types of crab, with choices of sauce and heat levels. Fried seafood baskets such as shrimp, oysters, catfish and flounder are available. Appetizers include hush puppies, Crab Bites, fried calamari, steamed oysters and coconut shrimp.

ExploreNew Cajun-style seafood restaurant now open at the Dayton Mall


The Miami Valley’s newest Chick-fil-A restaurant on the campus of Cedarville University held a grand opening Aug. 15 in conjunction with the return of students to campus.

Adding a Chick-fil-A restaurant to campus was part of the university’s 10-year campus master plan, Cedarville officials said when they first announced the partnership two years ago, in August 2018.

The new restaurant is located at the edge of Cedar Lake next to Centennial Library. Window seating will offer scenic views of the lake and the north side of campus, university officials said.

ExploreChick-fil-A to host grand opening Saturday of its newest Miami Valley restaurant

Myracles Bar and Grill



Three restaurant workers who were laid off from their jobs at local Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar locations teamed up to open their own place, which they named “Myracles Bar and Grill,” in Dayton.

“We’ve been working on this since April,” Jessica Johnson said of the venture she and her former Applebee’s colleagues, Danielle Bush and Brandon Jones, launched at 1060 Patterson Road in the Breitenstrater Square Shopping Center. The space previously housed Paradise Key Cafe South and was once a Cold Beer & Cheeseburgers location.

A signature “Myracle Burger” features house-ground brisket, bacon, Havarti cheese and onion rings, topped with “Myracle sauce.”

The new restaurant also serves a distinctive variety of egg rolls, in choices both savory and sweet, including cheesesteak, crab rangoon, peach cobbler and strawberry cheesecake.

ExploreIT’S A ‘MYRACLE:’ 3 laid-off Applebee’s employees open their own restaurant

Fantasma Taco

Credit: Abby Hofrichter/Hofrichter Creative

Credit: Abby Hofrichter/Hofrichter Creative

Ghostlight Coffee has launched a sister shop, “Fantasma Taco,” at its Ghostlight Midtown shop at 800 S. Patterson Blvd.

“You know, at Ghostlight, we decided we needed a side hustle,” founder Shane Anderson said Friday, Aug. 21, on his Facebook page. “Therefore: It’s Taco Time!”

Fantasma Tacos are available Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., for carryout and delivery. “Eventually, we will expand hours to 11:30 p.m. for all you late-night taco lovers,” Anderson said.

The taco options are billed as street-inspired, and they include pollo, carne, carnitas and veganos. There will also be three “mod tacos” available.

ExploreGhostlight Coffee launches ‘Fantasma Taco’ at its South Patterson Boulevard shop

Coming Soon

Salt Block Biscuit Company

A bakery-restaurant that will serve a breakfast and brunch menu as well as some evening fare on Friday and Saturday nights is poised to open in downtown Dayton.

Salt Blocks Biscuit Company, at 115 E. Third St. in Dayton’s Fire Blocks District, is the brainchild of Justin Mohler, a pastry chef who has worked at Dayton-area restaurants such as the former Blue Moon, Christopher’s Restaurant, and the former Olive, An Urban Dive.

Salt Block will offer a large variety of bakery items, including biscuits in four or five different varieties, served with house-made butters, infused honey, and other spreads, Mohler said. They will also be served in a variety of sandwiches, or “Sammies” on the menu, and will be served with a side dish, house greens or cobbler.

The bakery case will showcase seasonal cobblers, signature cookies, tea biscuits, cake by the wedge or whole, cornbreads and other daily specials, Mohler said.

ExploreNew restaurant and bakery poised to open in downtown Dayton


Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

Three local entrepreneurs who have experience working at some of Dayton’s most high-profile restaurants will team up to open a new full-service restaurant in downtown Dayton early next year.

The restaurant will be called “Jollity” — a word that signifies a lively, cheerful activity or celebration — and it is coming to 127 E. Third St. in Dayton’s Fire Blocks District, according to Zackary Weiner, chef and co-founder of the new venture. Brendon Miller, who will serve as executive chef, and Nathan Heil, who will be front-of-the-house manager, are also co-founders of Jollity.

Jollity’s menu will be split into two sections: Jollity Staples and Today’s Celebrations. Each section will feature eight to 10 menu items varying in size and price.

Explore3 local restaurant vets will team up to open a new full-service restaurant in downtown Dayton

Agave & Rye

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

The fast-growing restaurant chain Agave & Rye will enter the Dayton-area market this fall with a new location on Troy Public Square, Chris Britt, Agave & Rye’s corporate regional manager, confirmed to this news outlet.

The new restaurant, which promises “epic” tacos and an extensive bourbon and tequila list, will fill the space at 2 N. Market St. that has been vacant for more than two-and-a-half years. It formerly held La Piazza Italian restaurant, which shut down in February 2018 after a run of more than 25 years.

“We’re not a Mexican restaurant, but we take a Mexican staple, the taco, and we turn it on its head,” Britt said.

ExploreAgave & Rye restaurant and bar coming to Troy’s town square

Gulzar’s Indian Cuisine

Credit: Gulzar's Indian Cuisine

Credit: Gulzar's Indian Cuisine

The owner of an Indian restaurant in Richmond, Ind., is moving ahead with plans to open a second location in downtown Dayton, despite delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

“Things are moving along, but they’re moving along slowly,” A.J. Singh, owner of Gulzar’s Indian Cuisine, told this news outlet Saturday, Aug. 15. “We’re definitely going to be there, I can promise you that.”

Singh has applied to the Ohio Division of Liquor Control for a license to serve alcohol at 217 N. Patterson Blvd., in the ground floor of a CareSource building in downtown Dayton, where he would join a Winans Chocolates + Coffees shop and a Flyboys Deli restaurant if all goes as planned. He opened Gulzar’s Indian Cuisine, named for his grandfather, about five years ago. His father, Paramjeet Singh, opened Taj Mahal Indian Cuisine about 20 years ago in Cincinnati.

Although there is no specific timetable for opening the Dayton restaurant, given the uncertainties surrounding the pandemic, “We are now shooting for October,” Singh said.

ExploreIndian restaurant moving ahead with plans to open in downtown Dayton

Café 1610

A vegan restaurant that will specialize primarily on breakfast, brunch and lunch — plus a “guest-chef” dinner service every Sunday — is poised to open Labor Day weekend in Dayton.

“Cafe 1610,″ located in the District Provisions building at 521 Wayne Ave., is scheduled to serve its first customers at 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 5.

The menu includes Jelly Donut Pancakes; Churro French Toast; a “Grits Bowl,” with barbecue soy curls, braised mixed baby greens and carrot bacon atop creamy grits; “Cactus Tofu Scramble” with nopales and sauteed onions with seasoned tofu, served with roasted potatoes and guacamole; Breakfast Tacos with tofu scramble, “soyrizo” and roasted potatoes topped with shredded vegan cheese in a grilled corn tortilla; and Bionico Fruit Salad, with apple, pear, papaya, bananas, strawberry and cantaloupe swirled with crema topped with granola, coconut and walnuts.

Menu items will be packaged to go, although there is some limited seating inside District Provisions.

ExploreNew vegan restaurant set to open Labor Day weekend in Dayton


Steak ’n’ Shake

Credit: JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images

Credit: JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images

The Steak ’n' Shake location at 1925 W. Dorothy Lane in Moraine has not served any Steakburgers or milkshakes or shoestring fries since May 2019.

A Steak ’n’ Shake spokeswoman confirmed in an email that the Moraine restaurant now “is permanently closed.” Another restaurant that has been closed for several months, in Troy, is gearing up to reopen, the spokeswoman said.

One Dayton-area Steak ’n’ Shake, at 9150 N. Main St. in Englewood, has been listed as “temporarily closed” on the company’s web site for nearly a year and a half, even longer than the Moraine location was. Asked whether more reopenings may be in the works, the company’s spokeswoman responded via email, “We expect a few more to reopen in the state this year, but unfortunately, we don’t have a confirmed list of locations yet.”

ExploreTwo long-dormant local Steak ‘n’ Shakes meet two very different fates

About the Author