You hear a lot in Dayton about the little dive bars that the locals love. Always near the top of the list is Tank’s Bar and Grill, a spot along Wayne Avenue which isn’t big, isn’t conspicuous and isn’t very aggressive about marketing itself, but people love it still. Word of mouth tends to be the way that you first hear of Tank’s, and it’s often a surprise to people: a dive bar near downtown that makes good breakfast? It almost sounds like an oxymoron. But Tank’s delivers.
Daytonians love Tanks for its atmosphere, a very humble one with interesting people and a good menu. A lot like Dayton, the place is not one to brag about this. Here are some of the good things on the menu:
- Tanks Burger: The half-pound Tanks Burger is a pretty straightforward creation, but the beef is cooked nicely, to order, and with all the veggies that make it great.
- Road kill chili: The Tank’s chili appetizer is fantastic, the chili is a thick, meaty concoction, with a little bit of a warm heat to it, making it rich like a stew. Great with cheese on top, to really blow it out of the water.
- Road Kill Dog: The aforementioned chili served up as a giant coney. It’s huge of course, with an extra large helping of cheese that makes it great.
- City boy: Breakfast is king here at Tank’s, and the City Boy is your main way in. Eggs, a breakfast meat and toast. Everything is just right.
- BLT Sandwich: Served with a mound of crispy bacon, lettuce and mayo. The secret here is in the bread, and you can order whatever you like. Get something salty, like rye.
The bar is more of a local watering hole than anything else, and I’d say with that in mind it’s a pretty good experience. The staff is very friendly, though the food here tends to take a bit longer than average bar fare. Nothing problematic, but you should keep that in mind if you’re on a tight schedule. The price points for Tanks are pretty good, too, so you can expect to get a good meal without paying too much.
The South Park neighborhood, and indeed much of south Dayton, swears by its little dive bars like Tanks. And with good reason. A spot like this is a great place to get a feel for what Dayton is really like: humble, but with a charm that sticks.
- The staff is incredibly friendly and helpful, and I’d say you can rely on them for a good recommendation for good food or beer.
- The spot has a lot of craft beers on tap, many of them local. While other spots have bigger taps, this one has an especially interesting menu that frequently rotates in and out brews that you’ll have trouble finding elsewhere in town.
- I’m a fan of the chili dog, but people have been especially into the breakfast foods here too. You might want to give both a try.