Nelly’s Chicken

79 South Main St.
Centerville, OH 45458
websiteNelly's Chicken (Centerville, OH)4 stars

This one house just south of Centerville’s main intersection in suburban Dayton has seen a lot of restaurants come and go in recent years. So a lot of people were excited when Nelly’s Chicken, the much loved Bolivian restaurant open since 2006, announced earlier this year that it would expand into the new space. Known and loved for its charcoal-grilled rotisserie chickens, Nelly’s has built a cult following in south Dayton for its small restaurant feel and unique Latin American cuisine. Now, in a larger space, the spot can finally bring its tasty food to a broader array of people in the city.

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Rotisserie chicken is that food that will probably bring you to this spot the first day you are here but there are a lot of great things on the menu.

  • Rotisserie chicken: you know it’s going to be good, because you can smell the charcoal as you walk in. This chicken is served pretty directly, in quarters or halves, or on sandwiches, but that smokiness permeates the whole, juicy chicken.
  • Silpancho:  this dish is Bolivian specialty, a Fried beef, serve the top white rice and french fries, a fried egg, and garnished with tomatoes and cilantro. The combination is interesting, what makes the dish work really is the egg which serves as kind of a uniting aspect of the ingredients. One bite should ideally have a bit of all of the ingredients.
  • Salpicon: A mixed salad featuring pulled chicken, pico de gallo and black beans. Light but still great!
  • Fried Yuca: The root has a kind of consistency that is akin to a potato. A little bit crisp on the outside, and served with a cholula sauce. Not your typical appetizer. But a good sample of Latin American food.
  • Fried plantains: Thick and lightly fried cuts of plantains, served with a delicious sauce and perfect as an app. The texture of the plantains is perfect, soft and rich.
  • Tres Leches Cake: Cake with a sweet milk and chocolate. Soft cake with an assertively sweet milk on it, and a bit of chocolate to even it out. Fantastic!

Service is pretty good. That said, while the new space is a bit larger than the previous one, it still can be a pretty crowded spot during lunch hour. I would recommend either getting a reservation, or calling ahead. There’s also a bar, where local beer is served.  Food can be ordered for takeout, and I suggest it particularly if you are in a rush, because the crowds can mean that there can be a wait here that might be longer than you were expecting. In spite of the uniqueness But the restaurant offers though, the perks points are pretty good.

All in all, there just are not a lot of  restaurants in the Dayton area that purvey authentic Latin American cuisine. This is one of the rare spots. Try it, and have a go at something that looks unfamiliar on that menu. You will not be disappointed.


  • I recommend getting reservations, or calling ahead, because the spot is still pretty small even in its expanded digs.
  • Food can be ordered for carry out if you were on the go.
  • The chicken will be a big draw, but there is a lot of other stuff to enjoy, too.

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