Dayton recipes: Remembering Kitty’s Restaurant

Credit: Dayton Daily News Archives

Credit: Dayton Daily News Archives

Kitty’s, a restaurant dubbed in our archives as one that “brought upscale American cuisine to downtown Dayton,” is no longer in existence but several recipes from the owner live on.

The restaurant was located in the Citizens Federal Centre at Second and North Main Streets.

The late Ann Heller, whose career spanned three decades at the Dayton Daily News writing about food and restaurants, included Kitty’s in a story on “Dayton’s 10 Best Restaurant” in a 1990 issue.

“This smart new downtown restaurant fills up when theatrical events liven the downtown area and maintains a steady pace the rest of the time. The menu reflects the philosophy of proprietor Kitty Sachs. It's in tune with the times and changes frequently enough to pique interest; special events with special menus also add inducement.

Dinner entrees are simple, mostly grilled seafood and meat; pasta, salads and desserts are the stars and make this place ideal for grazing.

The salads are the most imaginative in town, the greens often exotic. Other consistent winners include pasta with wild mushrooms and Parmesan cheese, or with smoked trout when it's offered. Rosemary rolls, baked by Yellow Springs Bakery, are addictive. Save space for dessert. The menu changes monthly, but the crackling, glazed, sensually soft ginger creme brulee is always available.

Or finish off with cappuccino - the real thing here. No booze in it, no whipped cream, just a wonderful head of frothed milk. Ask if they've got any homemade biscotti for dipping."

- Ann Heller wrote in a 1990 issue of the Dayton Daily News

Kitty’s was founded in the late 1980s by Kitty and Dan Sachs. In 1997 they turned over operations to Bill Thomas, who had been the general manager of the restaurant for six years.

According to our archives, the turnover was linked to the owners’ dissatisfaction with a declining customer base downtown, particularly during the summer when the theatre season subsided.

In Sept. 1997 Thomas, assistedby his wife and son, took over operations and renamed the restaurant Thomato’s.

In my search for Dayton recipes, I found three recipes submitted to the Dayton Daily News from Kitty and two others in Tastefully Oakwood, a collection of recipes by The Oakwood Dolphins Swim Team.

Here are the recipes I found:

Cranberry Chutney


  • 1 thin-skinned orange, seeds removed, cut into eighths
  • 1 pound fresh cranberries
  • 1/2 cup currants (usually found with raisins in the grocery store)
  • 2 cups firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups raspberry vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

Directions: Process the orange in a food processor fitted with a steel blade, until coarsely chopped. Combine the chopped orange with all the remaining ingredients except walnuts in a heavy saucepan. Simmer, uncovered, until the cranberries have popped open, 10 to 12 minutes. Skim any foam from the top, remove from heat and stir in the walnuts.

Conserve must be refrigerated and will remain fresh for up to a month. Makes six half pints.

Pita Crisps


  • Pita bread
  • Olive oil
  • Parmesan cheese

Directions: Split pita bread and cut into triangles. Brush with olive oil, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake or broil until cheese melts. This can be made earlier in the day and stored, when cool, in plastic bags.

Mediterranean Pasta

Dressing Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 3/4 cup champagne or white wine vinegar
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano, minced (or 1 teaspoon dried)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Salad Ingredients:

  • 1 pound pasta shells or bowties
  • 2 pounds fresh spinach, trimmed of stems and shredded
  • 3 ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 bunch scallions, finely chopped
  • 8 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 European cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup pine nuts, toasted

Directions: Combine dressing ingredients and blend well. Cook pasta in boiling water until just tender. Drain. Toss with half the dressing. Set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, combine remaining ingredients and add reserved dressing. Gently toss in cooled pasta. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate. Serve at room temperature. Toss again before serving. Makes eight to 12 servings.

Italian Sausage Vegetable Soup


  • 2 lbs. Italian sausage
  • 2 med. onions, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 4 sm. zucchini (about 1 lb.), diced
  • 2 green bell peppers, seeds and membranes removed, diced
  • 1 c. dry white wine
  • 10 c. chicken broth (80 oz.), preferably low salt
  • 2 (28 oz.) cans crushed tomatoes in tomato puree
  • 2 tsp. dried basil, crumbled
  • 1 tsp. oregano, crumbled
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 c. uncooked orzo (rice shaped pasta)
  • 1 1/4 c. (5 oz.) freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Directions: Remove casings from the sausage and discard. Brown the sausage in a heavy Dutch oven or large saucepan, mashing it with the back of a spoon until the meat is no longer pink and has rendered most of its fat. Spoon out most of the fat from the cooked sausage and discard. Add the onions and garlic and cook, stirring until soft, but not browned. Add carrots, zucchini, peppers, wine, chicken broth, tomatoes, basil and oregano and bring to a boil. When the soup is boiling, add the orzo and cook for 20 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve in heavy soup bowls. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over each serving. Like most hearty soups, this tastes best if it’s cooled, refrigerated overnight, then reheated to serve. It may also be frozen. Makes 12 to 16 servings.

French Quarter Ice Cream Torte


  • 35 to 40 chocolate wafers, crushed
  • 1 qt. dark chocolate ice cream, slightly softened
  • 1 qt. coffee ice cream, slightly softened
  • 1/2 lb. Almond Roca or Heath bars, coarsely chopped
  • Coffee Fudge Sauce (see below)

Directions: Oil an 8-inch or 9-inch springform pan. Spread half of the cookie crumbs on the bottom of the pan. Spread the softened chocolate ice cream on top of the cookie crumbs. Drizzle with fudge sauce. Top with remaining crumbs. Spread the coffee ice cream over the crumbs, drizzle with more fudge sauce and top with the chopped candy. Place in freezer for at least three hours, or until firm. To serve: Cut into wedges and serve with additional fudge sauce. Torte will keep for up to one month in the freezer if it is well wrapped. Makes 12 servings.

Coffee Fudge Sauce


8 oz. semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped

1 c. heavy cream

1/2 tsp. instant coffee granules

1 T. dark rum, cognac or brandy (optional)

Directions: Melt the chocolate with the cream and coffee in a small, heavy saucepan over low heat, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat and stir in the optional liquor. Serve warm or at room temperature. Store in the refrigerator.

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