October restaurant news: 11 coming soon, 6 opened, 1 closed, others making changes

The Miami Valley is seeing yet another month of whirlwind restaurant news across the Dayton area.

In our October Restaurant Roundup, we remember the legacy of Josef Reif, the former l’Auberge owner who helped transform the Dayton dining scene, in addition to offering reports of 11 restaurants coming soon, six new restaurants and several others making changes.

If you know of a new restaurant coming to the Dayton area, email natalie.jones@coxinc.com with details.

Do you love local food news?

Our new Dayton Food & Dining newsletter is your look inside the local dining scene — where to go for dinner, what’s new and exciting, and where to try the tastiest bites in town. Food writer Natalie Jones gets the scoop. It will launch Nov. 2.


Ariake Grille & Sushi Bar to open second location in Bellbrook

Ariake Grille & Sushi Bar is opening a second location in the former space of Zemore’s Wine Cellar and Bistro in Bellbrook.

Maria Kim, the owner of Ariake Grille & Sushi Bar, told Dayton.com with assistance from her daughter, Gabriela, that after the success of her first restaurant, it only made since to open a second location.

Credit: Natalie Jones

Credit: Natalie Jones

The Bellbrook location will have a full bar and additional appetizers and specials, Maria explained. She also said she is planning to offer a ladies night where there will be signature drinks or sushi rolls.

Ariake Grille & Sushi Bar, located at 4457 W. Franklin Street, is holding a soft opening 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 31. The restaurant’s regular hours will begin Nov. 1: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, noon to 9 p.m. Saturday and noon to 8 p.m. Sunday.

The restaurant is also located at 59 Fiesta Lane in Miamisburg.

Wahlburgers restaurant coming to Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway

Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway is getting a new dining option known for its famous burgers and housemade shakes.

“We are constantly searching for ways to expand our offerings for our guests,” said Jennifer Woffindale, director of marketing at Hollywood Gaming. “This summer our sister property in Columbus, OH opened a Wahlburgers. Because of the positive feedback from that location we want to bring that venue to Dayton.”

Credit: Submitted Photo

Credit: Submitted Photo

This will be the first Wahlburgers in the Dayton area. In addition to Columbus, Wahlburgers has two other Ohio locations in Cincinnati and Cleveland.

“It is too early in the process to have an expected date, but we are hopeful to open the dining outlet toward the end of Q4,” Woffindale said.

Jersey Mike’s Subs to open next month in Kettering

Jersey Mike’s Subs is opening a new location in November at 2831 Wilmington Pike in Kettering.

Franchise owner Ted Tolliver confirmed the restaurant is expected to open Nov. 2 with a fundraiser for Kettering High School’s Band Boosters. Customers with a special fundraising coupon can make a minimum $2 donation to the boosters in exchange for a sub.

Credit: Natalie Jones

Credit: Natalie Jones

The 1,400-square-foot space in Kettering is expected to be similar to the other Dayton-area Jersey Mike’s locations. Tolliver said construction is wrapping up and they are working on filling crew member and shift leader positions.

Other Jersey Mike’s restaurant locations scheduled to open soon include 1406 West Main Street in Troy, 1330 Main Street in Hamilton and 8179-F2 Princeton Glendale Road in West Chester, according to the restaurant’s website.

City Barbeque to open Kettering location next month

City Barbeque is getting closer to opening its new restaurant in Kettering at the former Rapid Fired Pizza location at 2001 E. Dorothy Lane.

“We cannot wait to serve and create happiness in another Dayton Neighborhood,” said Kelsey Schottmiller, City Barbeque’s regional marketing manager for Indianapolis, Dayton, Cincinnati, Louisville and Lexington.

The opening date is Nov. 14, Schottmiller confirmed.

The 3,460-square-foot building next to Delco Park will feature a drive-thru, outdoor patio and an indoor dining area with an expected capacity of 60 to 70 people, Schottmiller said.

Taco John’s is coming to Wilmington Pike in Kettering

A restaurant new to the Dayton-area market with aims on Ohio expansion is planned for a vacant lot next to the Meijer store in Kettering.

Taco John’s plans to open next year on Wilmington Pike, according to Meritage Hospitality Group, a franchisee for the Wyoming-based restaurant business.

“It’s a busy location,” Ana Pelhank, project manager for Meritage, said about the site.



Taco John’s is proposed at 4045 Wilmington on land fronting the road, according to Kettering plans. The site is across the street from a Lee’s Famous Recipe Chicken, and in between a Popeye’s and a Burger King, both of which opened in 2019. McDonald’s and Wendy’s also have restaurants in that row.

Construction is targeted for spring with the goal of opening around August 2023, Pelhank said.

New restaurant with card shop, memorabilia to open at Austin Landing

A casual, family-friendly restaurant with sport cards and memorabilia is set to open at Austin Landing.

“To our knowledge, this is the only restaurant that will have a full-fledged card shop and memorabilia store within it,” said Chris Carter, co-owner of Park Grille & Bar.

The restaurant, located at 10259 Penny Lane, will house Kaboom Bros Cards upstairs in the mezzanine-like space. Carter said guests will be able to buy and trade a variety of sports cards from baseball and football to wrestling and F1 Racing.

Credit: Natalie Jones

Credit: Natalie Jones

Park Grille & Bar will serve salads, wraps, gourmet burgers, personal pizzas, oven-baked wings, chicken tenders and much more in addition to its beer and cocktail menu. One item on the menu that hits close to home for Carter are PapPap’s Donut Holes. He said his wife’s father passed away last year and loved donut holes and would take his children to get donut holes. He added the item in his honor.

The 6,000-square-foot restaurant will be set up similar to Old Scratch Pizza where you order at the counter before you sit, Carter explained. Each table will have a QR code where guests can order more food or drinks. Carter said the QR code will also allow guests to buy sports cards if they don’t want to head upstairs.

Cincinnati-based Taste of Belgium applies for liquor license at The Greene

A Cincinnati-based restaurant known for its waffles has applied for a liquor license at The Greene Town Center in Beavercreek.

According to the Ohio Division of Liquor Control, Taste of Belgium at The Greene LLC DBA Taste of Belgium applied for a D-5J permit on Oct. 4 for 10 Greene Boulevard.

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

The 3,871-square-foot space near The Greene’s main entrance previously housed Fuzzy’s Taco Shop. The Mexican restaurant closed in January 2021.

Taste of Belgium offers Belgian-inspired food including waffles and chicken, mussels, crepes, frites and more, according to the restaurant’s website. It also offers beer and cocktails.

El Toro bringing new concept to Miamisburg

El Toro is creating a first of its kind, fast-casual restaurant featuring El Toro’s Mexican cuisine.

Enrique Alvarez, El Toro’s district manager, confirmed El Toro Express is coming to Miamisburg on North Springboro Pike in a space that was previously a Burger King.

“It’s a new project that we have going on,” Alvarez said. “We are waiting on materials for the doors, windows.”

Credit: Natalie Jones

Credit: Natalie Jones

Customers will be able to create their own burritos, tacos and nachos. Alvarez explained this concept will be similar to Chipotle but with El Toro’s food and cuisine. He also noted they will have some additional, unique items in this space including margaritas to-go.

He explained this new restaurant concept is building off of the idea of to-go cocktails, launched during the coronavirus pandemic. The restaurant will also have a drive-thru.

Chipotle to expand to Riverside

A national restaurant chain popular in the Dayton area has plans for a new site in Riverside.

Land at 4215 Linden Ave., just east of Woodman Drive, has been sold, and a Chipotle Mexican Grill is proposed there, records show. Riverside’s planning commission has approved a site plan for the restaurant.

The site of a former car wash has a 1,152-square-foot, two-story building, and plans call for a 425-square-foot, one-story addition in the rear of the building and a 625-square-foot, two-story garage in the rear of the lot, according to the city.

The 617-acre lot was bought Sept. 15 by CAT Riverside, LLC from Buabbas Habib for $675,000, Montgomery County property records show.

Biggby Coffee coming to Brandt Pike near Cloud Park

A Biggby Coffee location is set to open early next year on Brandt Pike, just south of Huber Heights.

A spokesperson for Biggby Coffee confirmed Thursday that a new franchise of the coffeehouse, which is based in Lansing, Michigan, is projected to open in February 2023. According to the Biggby Coffee website, the store will be located at 4628 Brandt Pike next to Godfather’s Pizza, near Thomas A. Cloud Park.

All Biggby Coffee stores are individually owned and operated. The new location is currently in the build phase, the company confirmed.

Koji Burger working towards brick-and-mortar

After a successful pop-up last weekend, Koji Burger is returning in November with several lunch pop-ups at Jollity as the owners work towards opening a brick-and-mortar next year.

“We are still reeling from the show of support and love we received during our first pop up event on October 23,” said Kara Yankus, assistant general manager at Jollity. “Chef Brendon Miller has truly perfected the art of the cheeseburger and we can’t wait to share that with Dayton.”

Credit: Submitted Photo

Credit: Submitted Photo

Koji Burger is a special project for Miller, who is also the co-owner of Jollity. The concept was tested and developed during the Miami Valley Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Week.

The pop-ups will be held Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. or until sold out. Dates include November 11, 12, 18, 19 and 26.


Fast-casual Indian restaurant opens in Dayton

The Twist Indian Grill, a fast-casual Indian restaurant offering customers a chance to create their own bowls and burritos, had its grand opening Oct. 20 at 2627 S. Smithville Road in Dayton.

“You see a lot of Indian restaurants in Dayton,” Maulin Patel, owner of The Twist Indian Grill previously said. “This is not the typical Indian restaurant.”

Credit: Submitted Photo

Credit: Submitted Photo

Patel, who also owns Bubbakoo’s Burritos in Centerville, said this concept, which emphasizes Indian cuisine, is similar to Bubbakoo’s Burritos, Chipotle and Hot Head Burritos.

Customers at The Twist Indian Grill will be able to create their own entrée with different types of Indian rice, curry and meats.

New sports bar serving ‘anything but chicken’ now open in Springfield

The Bullpen Sports Bar, a new restaurant in downtown Springfield serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, is now open. A grand opening was held Oct. 22.

Sandy Hamilton, who owns the restaurant with her husband, Mark, said they began their soft opening Oct. 10 and are now open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

The Bullpen Sports Bar serves “anything but chicken,” Hamilton said.

She explained other sports bars in the area focus on chicken and chicken wings, so they wanted to be different.

The Bullpen’s breakfast menu features items such as biscuits and gravy, cinnamon rolls, raspberry donut cheesecake and a spicy sausage sandwich. Lunch and dinner offerings include burgers, pulled pork, brisket, tacos, specialty sandwiches and more. One item of note is their specialty burger topped with coleslaw, dried onions, pulled pork, BBQ and bacon.

Mac and cheese flights available at brewery south of Dayton

Grainworks Brewing Company in West Chester has teamed up with a popular food truck to bring their award-winning Mac and Cheese to brewery customers daily.

“MamaBear’s has consistently been one of our customers’ favorite food trucks,” said Paul Blakely, manager of Grainworks taproom. “So we’re thrilled to be able to have their great food available in the taproom every day.”

Credit: James Czar/Grainworks Brewing Company

Credit: James Czar/Grainworks Brewing Company

MamaBear’s Mac is located inside Grainworks taproom’s in-house kitchen. The kitchen was part of the brewery’s recent expansion, according to a press release from Grainworks.

MamaBear’s Grainworks location will serve classic favorites like their award-winning Mac and Cheese. The Mac and Cheese will be available in a “flight” with four varieties including Vermont Cheddar Mac, Loaded Backed Potato Mac, Smokey Bear Mac and Buffalo Chicken Mac. They have also added new items to their menu including a Vermont Farm Burger, The Italian, Vermont Grilled Cheese and Grainworks Nachos, the press release said.

New soul food restaurant offers comfort food ‘cooked from scratch’

Ms. Betty’s Kitchen LLC, a new restaurant specializing in soul and comfort food, is now open in Moraine.

“This restaurant is going back to the day where food was cooked from scratch,” said Steven Champion, owner of Ms. Betty’s Kitchen LLC. “We cut and slice our sweet potatoes. We cut our cabbage. We do our greens. We do everything from scratch.”

Credit: Submitted Photo

Credit: Submitted Photo

Ms. Betty’s Kitchen LLC features “old school cooking,” Champion said. The restaurant is open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday with a rotating menu. Entrees include BBQ ribs, baked chicken, meatloaf, chicken spaghetti, oxtail, fish and much more. Sides vary from cabbage, collard greens and macaroni and cheese to candied yams and pinto beans.

The atmosphere of the restaurant is expected to make customers feel like they are home, Champion said. The restaurant has couches and games, including Checkers, where customers can enjoy each other’s company while waiting for their food.

The Catering House by Christopher’s now open

Christopher’s Restaurant and Catering has opened the doors to their new location on Linden Avenue in Dayton.

“As many of you already know, we recently purchased the old Pizza Hut building at 4211 Linden Avenue, on the corner of Linden and Woodman and not too far away from our previous location,” Christopher’s Restaurant and Catering said in a recent Facebook post. “Our team has been working hard to make the space feel like our own - new kitchen that was approved by the health department, an updated dining room, and a fresh new look on the outside (still a work in progress).”

Credit: Natalie Jones

Credit: Natalie Jones

Dave Krites, who owns the The Catering House by Christopher’s with his wife, Erika, said in the post that the new space is the perfect spot for their catering kitchen and to host private parties, but they know it can be more than that.

“We will begin Christopher’s Restaurant-style service there with pared down menus of your Christopher’s favorites and some new creations from the chef,” the post said.

New sit down restaurant with wood-fired cuisine opening in Warren County

Catch-A-Fire Pizza has opened its third greater Cincinnati location and owners Jeff and Melissa Ledford said the new restaurant “is coming along fine.” An official grand opening is slated for Nov. 5.

“It’s exciting to bring it full circle back to my hometown,” Jeff Ledford said. “We’re really excited to open.”

Jen Howell, marketing director, said the new restaurant is in a 7,000-square-foot space and will feature wood-fired cuisine such as artisan pizzas, vegetables, sandwiches and salads. She said another feature are the large indoor/outdoor garage doors to the large patio along North Broadway as well as a room for private gatherings. In addition, Catch-A-Fire Pizza is also located in the city’s extended Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area (DORA).

“We built this space to bring people together to enjoy craft food and beer,” Ledford said. “There’s nothing like this in Lebanon. We’ll have a little something for everyone.”


Angie’s Firehouse Tavern reopens kitchen

A neighborhood restaurant dating back to 1938 has reopened its kitchen after closing it in mid-August.

“My intent was never really to close permanently,” said Patrick Reed, owner of Angie’s Firehouse Tavern. “It was to figure out what we were doing wrong and make some changes.”

Credit: Natalie Jones

Credit: Natalie Jones

Reed said with the help of his daughters and some restructuring of their staff and menu items, he is excited to welcome guests once again.

“Customers can expect a menu very similar to what they remember and coupons will soon be available in Reach magazine,” Reed said.


Airline Dairy Creme has new set of owners

Airline Dairy Creme, a four-generation family-owned restaurant and ice cream shop, has been bought by Allen and Sarah Lay, who also own Kona Ice of Troy.

“We’re a new local family carrying on the tradition,” Allen said in a press release. “We frequent there a lot. We love the community feel, the old diner’s feel to the place.”

Credit: Submitted Photo

Credit: Submitted Photo

The couple purchased the 58-year-old business after the former owner, Nancy Suther, decided to retire.

The Lays said they plan to keep the restaurant’s branding and staffing the same but have plans to install an online portal for customers to place orders, the release said.

Suther and her brother, Mike Krimm, will work side by side with the Lays until Nov. 4 to provide a seamless transition, the release said.

Belmont Billiards has new set of operators

Belmont Billiards, an iconic bar on Watervliet Avenue in Dayton with nearly 100 years of history, has a new set of operators committed to honoring and building upon its legacy.

Jacqui Creepingbear and Isaac DeLamatre, a couple with extensive experience working in area bars and restaurants, are ready to rebrand and relaunch Belmont Billiards. They envision the venue as a welcoming and inclusive bar with a regional billiards environment, late night food service and skillfully crafted classic and original cocktails.

Credit: Natalie Jones

Credit: Natalie Jones

“We have been coming here for years and just love the place,” Creepingbear said. “It has 100 years of history as a community gathering space. We have always seen its potential and we are excited to continue the long story that is Belmont Billiards.”

“We just want people to feel welcomed here,” DeLamatre said. “We’re trying to just breath some life back into it.”

Belmont Billiards features a 20-seat bar with nine pool tables. DeLamatre said they specialize in classic cocktails, like the Old Fashioned, Manhattan and Daiquiri, but prepared in a classic way. He explained they make their own syrups and mixes. Belmont Billiards also has a variety of shooters and specialty beer cocktails.


Table 33 moving to Dayton Arcade

A Dayton restaurant located near the Schuster Center is moving its current operation to the Dayton Arcade.

According to a press release from Cross Street Partners, Table 33 is relocating to the first floor of the Arcade’s Kuhns Building, located at the corner of Fourth and Main Streets.

Construction on the 5,250-square-foot space at the Arcade is set to begin soon with an anticipated opening date of spring 2023, the press release said.

“We are excited about filling an important first floor retail space at the high-traffic corner of Fourth and Main Streets,” said David Williams, senior director of development for Cross Street Partners. “Table 33 will be an anchor restaurant, with a great patio overlooking the Levitt Pavilion and its numerous free concerts throughout the spring and summer. We are looking forward to having another great food and beverage option create more first floor vibrancy around the Arcade complex.”

Cassano’s Pizza is moving in Xenia

Cassano’s Pizza is moving its Xenia location from N. Allison Avenue to the former Rapid Fired Pizza location on Progress Drive.

CEO Vic “Chip” Cassano III told Dayton.com Oct. 25 the reason for moving involves better visibility.

Credit: Natalie Jones

Credit: Natalie Jones

“Xenia has been a very great community for us,” Cassano said. “We saw the Rapid Fired Pizza location become open and we were interested in moving to a newer center, higher visibility, and with that location we were able to install a pick-up window. So it made it a lot more convenient for our customers.”

Cassano explained the transition will be seamless. He said they plan to close one evening at the current location and reopen the next day at the new location. The move is planned for December but no later than January, Cassano said.


Restaurant known for street tacos, margaritas closes near Dayton Mall

Rusty Taco, located at 2335 Miamisburg-Centerville Road in Miami Twp. near the Dayton Mall, has closed, according to a sign posted on the door.

“This location has permanently closed,” the sign said. “Thanks for all your support.”

Credit: Natalie Jones

Credit: Natalie Jones

The restaurant moved into the 2,700-square-foot space that was formerly an El Toro Bar and Grill in November 2019. The move came after El Toro relocated to the former TGI Fridays up the street.

Rusty Taco, then known as R Taco, launched its first Dayton-area restaurant in March 2017 on Brown Street near the University of Dayton. A second location followed in November 2018 across from the Mall at Fairfield Commons in Beavercreek.

According to the aforementioned sign, the other Dayton-area locations remain open.


Former l’Auberge owner remembered for helping transform Dayton dining

Josef Reif, who operated l’Auberge as part of a decades-long restaurant career in the Dayton area, succumbed to prostate cancer Oct. 14 according to Hospice of Dayton. The Centerville resident was 78.

Reif and l’Auberge partner Dieter Krug transformed the restaurant after buying the Far Hills Avenue site as The Inn in the late 1970s, according to Dayton Daily News archives. The two had previously worked at the upscale King Cole together in Dayton.

“He was a very fine gentlemen,” said Connie Zavakos, who worked with Reif for 30 years and was an office manager.

Credit: Chris Stewart

Credit: Chris Stewart

“Dieter and Josef changed dining in Dayton with their restaurant,” she added. “And Josef was so well-educated in fine dining and service. There was nothing he didn’t know.”

“Josef also expected excellence from the time you entered the door,” according to Zavakos. “Everything from answering the phones, serving, and how to address his guests. He was a perfectionist at service and expected you to treat the guests as he did.”

l’Auberge opened in 1979 and closed in 2012, Zavakos said, and the building later was demolished to make way for a bank.