It’s nothing less than a much beloved and cherished institution of northern Warren county; the restaurant of “Mom” Hilda Ratliff sat at the six-way convergence of state routes 122, 123 and 741 for decades, until a road project shut its doors. With great excitement from the local community, Mom’s reopened at its present location just off Interstate 75 earlier this year. Locals swear by this quaint south Dayton diner for its made-in-house breakfasts and its platters of lunchtime favorites. Mom’s Restaurant has a lot of character in a tiny package.
The breakfast is amazing. All of the dishes are made in the restaurant, and it’s very apparent from the flavor. The chopped sirloin is great; it’s well cooked and lightly seasoned, makes for a great breakfast meat. The sausage is good, though it’s a pretty simple griddle variety. The eggs are well cooked, a little bit of salt and pepper makes them great. My personal favorite here was the biscuits and gravy. These biscuits are a from-scratch recipe, so they’re not only huge but they’re extra thick. The gravy is heavy on the sausage, it’s a match made in heaven. Really, if you can get them together, go for it.
The menu is based primarily on breakfast food, but there are a number of other lunch and dinner specialties to note. The variety of country-kitchen favorites are plenty, from an over-sized shrimp platter to old fashioned soups and chili to keep you warm, to the very popular dessert dish, Mom’s homemade pie. It’s all the kind of stuff you’d expect from a restaurant called “Mom’s.” There’s even a menu of simple stuff, like salads in a number of styles. On that note, the coffee is great, and it’s the right kind of drink to start the morning off right.
The atmosphere of the place is spectacular, it’s a small restaurant, make no mistake, but in spite of the recent uprooting of the business it’s got about the most lived-in feel you could ever enjoy. A real homely place. You’re probably wondering about the hundreds of mugs at the top of the place. I heard the story from the mouth of “Mom” Ratliff herself; as of this posting there are close to 1,000 of them, and they started out as a tradition where local police left their mugs at Mom’s old establishment. If you fall in love with the place, you can leave your mug there, too.
Mom’s Restaurant is the kind of place you’ll probably never hear about until you’ve lived in Dayton for awhile, or know someone who grew up nearby. But it’s the kind of country kitchen you’ll never forget. Replete with memories, filled with regulars, warmed with love.
- This is one of the few businesses in the city that is cash only. There’s an ATM in the gas station next door, but you really ought to know about that.
- The breakfast food is amazing. All of it.
- Sample the dessert pies if you can.