1025 Shroyer Rd.
Dayton, OH 45419
A Tex-Mex focused bar near the border of Dayton proper and its upscale Dayton neighborhood of Oakwood, Carmel’s Bar & Grill is a neighborhood bar a little off the beaten path in one of the city’s neighborhoods and it’s a place that seems to bring out a very local crowd. With an expansive patio and a menu that is part pub grub and part southwest specialties. The spot has a lot of menu items that people love, and a lot of reasons that its locals love to come back.
- Corn Cloud Chicken: An interesting trifecta, almost like a Tex-Mex barbecue dish. This dish is pulled barbecued chicken drenched in a heavy sweet and sour sauce and served alongside corn pancakes and a vinegar-based cole slaw. You eat the three together, though it comes with guacamole that I don’t think adds much.
- Fish tacos: An especially popular dish at the bar. These tacos are barramundi, a type of Asian bass fish, served on corn tortillas with a pico de gallo, chipotle tartar and guacamole. My favorite dish here, with the fish a light flavor allowing the pico and the chipotle to dominate the palette.
- Carmel burger: A hand-made burger topped with minced jalapeno pepper salsa and served with fries. The burger is cooked to order and it’s fantastic, with that minced jalapeno offering a definite heat that is memorable.
- Carmel’s queso dip: The queso dip is filled with roasted peppers, onions and spinach, so that it has a noticeable heat. I like the dip for its heat, as those peppers make it fantastic. But the dip is best eaten with the chips, which are otherwise kind of plain.
- Margaritas: These are touted as well known. I would contend they are strong which is a lot of fun. I recommend foregoing salt on the rim, or else the drink ends up very salty.
The restaurant has an atmosphere that is very casual, I would call this place a definite neighborhood dive that is well loved among the people in the area. That said, the consistent experience I have had here has been slow service. Even on off-hours, and when there isn’t a rush, the food here takes longer than average to come out. In the most recent experience, the place had over an hour wait for food on the Friday lunch hour, even with fewer than 20 customers at half a dozen tables. This isn’t always important to people, but if you’re in a rush, avoid.
The food at Carmel’s is great, if you have time to wait for it. The place is going to be a big draw to the locals and it’s worth a trip.
- The fish tacos are fantastic. Probably one of the best dishes on the menu.
- The outdoor patio is one of the best draws on the menu.
- There can be a significant wait here, so I suggest you keep it in mind and avoid coming if you have a tight schedule.