DAYTON EATS: Looking back at the year in food

Credit: Alexis Larsen

Credit: Alexis Larsen

It’s been a big year for food and dining locally.

We saw geographic hot spots emerge, hot trends appear, openings, expansions and evolutions.

It wasn’t all sunshine and colorful rainbow dishes — there were notable closings as well.

Still, there was plenty to celebrate in looking back on 2023. With every week bustling with news there was never a dull moment.

Here’s my list of what rose to the top for me this year in dining locally.

Credit: Alexis Larsen

Credit: Alexis Larsen

Centerville’s dining scene heats up

Chef Margot Blondet, executive chef and owner of Salar in the Oregon District, opened her second restaurant, Manna, in Centerville’s historic Uptown neighborhood. The name for the beautifully appointed two-story fine-dining restaurant with two bars means “food from the gods to feed the soul.” As with Salar this is an infusion of cultures, with Manna focused on European cuisine with elegant decor and appointments to match. The entrees are as delicious as the visual feast that greets you at the door. Just down the street from Manna, Agave & Rye Tequila and Bourbon Hall’s opened a new Centerville location over the summer joining locations in nearby Troy and Liberty Center. Its trademark epic tacos and epic decor are a treat for the eyes and the taste buds with a menu packed with flavor and interesting dishes and combinations. It has a great bar program and the vibe is big, bold eclectic fun. And in the same area Meridian opened its doors in the former home of Sweeney’s Seafood Bar & Grill. Offering a rotating menu of small plates, cocktails, wine and even a brunch. It’s a beautifully appointed destination worth seeking out. Keeping the trend of new Centerville destinations going, The Brunch Pub is expected to open in early 2024 at 101 W. Franklin St., so there will be more to be excited for in the New Year.

Agave & Rye, Centerville: 11 N. Main St., Centerville;

Manna: 61 W. Franklin St., Centerville; or (937) 972-1215

Meridian: 28 W. Franklin St., Centerville; or 937-723-6687

Credit: Submitted Photo

Credit: Submitted Photo

Troy continues to add notable restaurants

Troy, Ohio has a number of notable dining destinations including Basil’s On Market, Agave & Rye, The Caroline, Smiths’ Boathouse, Moeller Brew Barn and in 2023 they saw more wonderful additions. Speakeasy Ramen, a Springfield eatery that has been described as providing the best ramen in the state, brought a new concept to Troy with the opening of Speakeasy Miso. Offering sake, beer, wine, cocktails, izakaya-style snacks and delicious ramen, udon and sushi it has been a welcome addition to the terrific flavors waiting to greet you in Troy. This year also saw the much awaited opening of Crafted & Cured. The popular Wayne Avenue craft beer bar in Dayton closed in mid-2020 and it wasn’t until February of 2023 that it sprang back to life in a beautiful 1929 building that was once the The First Troy National Bank. Featuring 60 taps of craft beer, ciders, sours, and meads served alongside charcuterie boards and bar bites as well as a selection of wine and bubbly, this is a destination worth seeking out both for the original architecture and repurposed spaces as well as the wonderful flavors that await. Old Scratch Pizza will be joining the fun in early 2024 opening its fourth location in the former Troy Fire Department station located at 19 East Race Street. The Mayflower by A.M. Scott Distillery, a live entertainment venue, craft cocktail bar and retail store is also expected to open in 2024. For updates on the Mayflower visit

Crafted & Cured: 8 S Market St, Troy;

Speakeasy Miso: 101 W. Main St., Troy; (937) 703-1103

Credit: Submitted Photo

Credit: Submitted Photo

First rooftop bar comes to Dayton

Dayton is begging for more rooftops to be activated to take full advantage of skylines, sunsets and views. The Foundry, a new seventh floor rooftop restaurant and bar in the new AC Hotel in downtown Dayton, has bragging rights that it was the first on the scene. The relaxed gastropub, which opened over the summer, has a menu of wood oven cooked dishes and seasonal cuisine. Offering fantastic views of the Day Air Ballpark and a full bar program, it’s a perfect place to catch views of Dayton Dragons games over the summer. The decor features exposed ceilings, copper finishes, custom millwork, and stained concrete floors softened by modern furnishings. The outdoor area features seating around firepits and glass railings. The bar in the first floor is now open and features a nice wine list, solid cocktails and some apps with European inspired flair.

The Foundry: 124 Madison St., Dayton on the seventh floor of the AC Hotel; (937) 965-7500 or

Mikesell’s lives on

On Feb. 1 of this year Mikesell’s, the oldest continuously run family-owned potato chip company in the nation, shared some really sad news.

“Dear Friends, To continue to protect the Mikesell’s brand, so it can remain viable in the market and continue to move forward, Mikesell’s is announcing that it intends to transition all Mikesell’s brand and IP rights to another quality snack food manufacturer, as soon as possible. The exact timeline remains uncertain. The Mikesell’s family and team wish to thank the community, consumers and partners for their love and support over the past 112+ years. Our family will long remember the fan love, the friendships and the wins along the way the most.”

Just a few weeks later Conn’s Potato Chip Co. announced that its subsidiary obtained a license to the brand rights for Mikesell’s snack foods, to be made at its Zanesville facilities.

The Mikesell’s announcement was heartbreaking for fans of the chips and other snacks, but it’s heartening to know it will live on.

Restaurant opening after restaurant opening

If you are looking for proof that this year was big for the Dayton dining scene, look no further than this short list of some of the highlights that I put together. By no means is this all encompassing, but this is a list of the openings that I was most excited about and have enjoyed.

Credit: Submitted Photo

Credit: Submitted Photo

• All the Best Delicatessen: 5501 Far Hills Ave., Dayton; 937-999-4204 or

• Bibibop Asian Grill opens two new Dayton-area locations: 1057 Miamisburg-Centerville Rd., Washington Twp. and 7648 Old Troy Pike, Huber Heights;

• Cafe 19 opened its second location: 7 S Miami St., West Milton; 937-719-8032 or

• Cherry Street Bottle Shop and Cocktail Kitchen: 12 N. Cherry St., Troy; 937-543-6393 or

Credit: Natalie Jones

Credit: Natalie Jones

• CULTURE by Chef Dane: 416 E. Fifth St., Dayton; 937-333-2489 or

• Est! Est!! Est!!!: 45 W. 4th St., Dayton; 937-535-4020 or

• Gather by Ghostlight: 37 W 4th St., Dayton; 937-985-2633 or

• Gionino’s Pizzeria opens third Dayton-area location: 4447 W. Franklin St., Bellbrook;

Credit: Alexis Larsen

Credit: Alexis Larsen

• Joui: 117 East Third St., Dayton; 937-813-1186 or

• KungFu BBQ: Area B at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Building 45 where Wright Away Cafe was previously located

• MAZU: 229 Xenia Ave., Yellow Springs; 937-203-8085 or

• McAlister’s Deli opens new location: 990 Miamisburg Centerville Rd., Suite A, Washington Twp.;

• Mixi Noodles: 231 Springboro Pike, Miamisburg; 937-979-1488 or

• Ninja Ramen a new concert by the owners of Ozu 852: 375 W. National Rd., Englewood; 937-540-8333 or

• Pequeños Tapas and Wine Bar: 31 Monument Square, Urbana;

• Playa Bowls opens second location: 734 B North Main St., Springboro;

• Slide Thru: 322 Union Blvd, B, Englewood; 937-583-3542 or

• Taste of Belgium at the Greene: 10 Greene Blvd, Beavercreek; 937-458-6691 or

• Tres Amigos Bourbon & Tequila: 92 Edgebrooke Dr., Springboro; 937-550-4292 or

• Troni Brothers Pizza opened its second restaurant: 417 W. Second St., Xenia; 937-352-6336 or

There were closings as well and I was sad to see many great places go, but it’s encouraging to continue to see new life, recipes and concepts being brought to life locally. Hoping there’s plenty more to come in the New Year!

DAYTON EATS runs Sundays in the Life & Arts section of the Dayton Daily News and features the latest on menu updates, special dinners and events, new chefs, interesting new dishes, and food adventures. Contact Contributing Writer Alexis Larsen at

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