New fine dining restaurant expected to open this month in Centerville

Manna, a new fine dining restaurant in Centerville’s historic Uptown neighborhood, is in the final stretch as it prepares for an end of April opening.

Executive chef and owner Margot Blondet, a Centerville resident of 18 years, said she had been looking to open something close to her home for a long time. She said she started with the idea of opening a bar and now has a two-story upscale restaurant with two bars.

Credit: Natalie Jones

Credit: Natalie Jones

She said one of the hardest parts of opening a restaurant is choosing a name with meaning. Blondet explained she looked through the Latin dictionary and thought Manna was a pretty name.

Manna means “food from the gods to feed the soul,” she said. According to the Bible, when the Israelites were making their way through the desert, God sent them manna when they needed food.

Brandi Perrine, general manager of Salar, Blondet’s first restaurant in Dayton’s Oregon District, said the name comes from Blondet’s desire to take care of people.

“That’s what Margot is always striving for,” Perrine said. “She always calls her guest her friends and her family. She welcomes everyone into her restaurants. She just wants to create an atmosphere of being able to take care of people.”

Regarding the atmosphere, when guests walk through the main entrance they will be met by the main bar. The vibe is dark, moody and a little Victorian with a touch of modern.

“When you step into the bar it’s going to be very dark and then you cross into the light,” Perrine said.

The restaurant combines two 120+ year old buildings where the second space has more of a light and airy feel, especially upstairs.

Perrine explained Blondet’s décor was inspired by her travels. Guests will see many chandeliers, antique paintings and artwork throughout the space. Much of the décor is from Europe, Peru and vintage markets.

“My son moved to Europe a few years ago and I go very often,” Blondet said. “I wanted to bring a little piece of Europe to Dayton.”

The new restaurant will offer a taste of Europe and South America. Blondet explained that unlike Salar, which focuses on Peruvian cuisine with international dishes, Manna will focus on European cuisine with French foods and touch of Peruvian.

“It’s going to be much heavier on the European side,” Perrine noted. “A lot of French techniques. A lot of French cooking, but obviously with a little Peru in there because Margot is Peruvian. Anyone that loves Salar is going to end up loving Manna.”

Credit: Natalie Jones

Credit: Natalie Jones

Manna will serve lunch and dinner, Perrine said. She explained guests can expect a menu that changes three to four times a year with the seasons.

When Blondet was creating the food and drink menu, Perrine said she worked closely with the sous chef and beverage director at Salar.

“She has worked really closely with her staff on this project,” Perrine said. “Margot always thinks of it as a collaborative process. She wants us all to be proud of what we’re putting out and I think that she has created a team that is really proud of what we’re doing it.”

This past week, world-renowned mixologist Brian Van Flandern has been training Manna staff ahead of the opening. He has taught them Michelin fine dining standards that he says are not employed anywhere from Centerville to Chicago — making the restaurant a destination.

“Everybody who comes into the restaurant is going to feel that they are special,” Van Flandern said.

He also taught employees spirit education and flavor profiling/mixology.

Credit: Natalie Jones

Credit: Natalie Jones

Perrine said she is looking forward to seeing two years of hard work come together.

“I’m excited for everything,” Perrine said. “I’m excited for the food. I’m excited for the cocktails. I’m excited for everyone to finally be able to see the space and experience all of the things we’ve been working on.”

The kitchen at Manna will be open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The bar will stay open until 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and midnight Friday and Saturday. Perrine said they are planning to do an opening party as a ticketed event. More details to be announced.

For more information about Manna, located at 61 W. Franklin St., visit or the restaurant’s Facebook or Instagram pages.

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