Dark Horse Tavern is a bar and barbecue joint just off the highway in Miamisburg, south of Dayton, one that can still be easy to miss unless you know where to look for it. While the exterior is simple and the interior a dark, close-in and very classic feeling bar, the food shows the extra effort that really kicks the Dark Horse up a notch with its food. It’s a great option for Midwest-style barbecue and some good music for the Gem City.
The restaurant specializes in barbecue and other bar-type food. Among the great dishes, I liked:
- Pulled pork: It’s served in large pieces with a very crispy bark that holds in some of the smokiness, while the pork itself is fall-apart delicious, tender and moist. There isn’t a smoky character to the meat, but the barbecue does have a distinct texture and flavor that is very rich indeed. I’m a fan, especially with the great barbecue sides like green beans and au gratin potatoes.
- Burgers, especially the BBQ Bacon Burger, which is topped with bacon, cheddar cheese and barbecue sauce. It’s got a slight smoke to it, and the meat is a higher-grade beef that has less grease. Now, we’ve been on this journey through restaurants of America for over four years now, and there are some things I can immediately tell. I know if a burger is a frozen patty or hand-made. The meat comes from GFS, I know the taste, but the burger is still hand-made and there’s a world of a difference in the quality there.
- BBQ Sampler: Lets you try the pulled pork, beef brisket, barbecued ribs and smoked sausage this place offers all at once. A foursome of great smoky meats.
- Blackened tilapia: This sandwich is on the lighter end and still great with that barbecue sauce combo.
- There are three chief kinds of barbecue sauce, a sweet chipotle sauce, one made with minced habanero peppers that is a little spicier, and one made with bourbon which is a tad hotter than that. Great, all three.
I didn’t sit at the bar, but the service in the restaurant portion of the spot was great. Drinks came quick and staff was friendly. Dark Horse is a spot that is popular as a music destination, so you may see some bands or other kinds of entertainment here. In all I have had a pleasant experience here, and would say the barbecue is a good showing for the Dayton scene, which is full of great bars for that food. It’s definitely worth at least one visit.
- The barbecue is good, especially with one of the three sauce options, which are different levels of sweet and spicy.
- You can also expect to see music and some other events happening at Dark Horse.
- There is also a separate party room for large groups seeking private events, which I recommend.