4515 Linden Ave.
Dayton, OH 45432
The east Dayton suburbs hold many surprises, especially in the world of little local restaurant operations. Cedarland Bakery is a great example; offering a specific flavor in Lebanese food amid a larger backdrop of Mediterranean dishes that might be a bit more familiar. Very popular with the immigrant community in the city, the grill enjoys relatively little fanfare from the suburbs because of its low-key presence. Very much a hole in the wall, this place has lots of sweets to take home with you, but you’ll want to try that lunch menu.
The menu is extensive with familiar Mediterranean dishes as well as some others that hail from Lebanon and are otherwise hard to try. Some things I liked:
- Fatayer Jebneh: A Lebanese cheese pastry with a flaky crust on top and a savory cheese mixture beneath. Wonderful as an appetizer, as it’s not too sweet.
- Baklava: Sticky, crispy and oh-so-sweet. That wonderful flavor of honey and nuts definitely makes for a good experience.
- Fattoush: The traditional salad of Lebanon, this dish features herbs, cucumber, tomatoes, and pita topped with the sumac spice to make something of a heavier meal of a salad. Good if you want something lighter, but beware that heavy onion and herb flavor on your breath.
- Shawarma: Lamb meat mixed on a spit then served wrapped in a pita with yogurt and a few other things. This one looks like it’s good to go — but look out! The sauce will drip all over you in an instant.
- Vimto: A fruity soft drink made similarly to the UK brand, this is delicious if you ask for it. Not always available though.
- Baba Ghanoush: The smokey wonderful magic that is this pureed eggplant dish isn’t too much nor too little; it’s always a pleasant thing to try when you’re going for an appetizer. Get extra pita bread if you can.
The restaurant has very little awareness outside of the Dayton world, so it’s pretty easy to pass up, book-ending a strip mall in the area east of town. When you set foot inside it can be a bit of a confusing experience as well; the grocery on one side, a dark-lit dining room in the other. But the simple fact is the food is the kind you can’t really find anywhere else in the city. And that’s an experience worth having.
All told, certainly a well hidden secret, but a good one nonetheless. This Dayton spot is worth a try.
- Give a try to the lunch menu, it’s extensive. While you don’t always know what to expect is avaliable when walking in the door, the food is pretty good and relatively healthy.
- Unfamiliar with the whole menu? A good place to start would be the wrap-like dishes stuffed with kabab meat, shawarma and other things.
- There are special buffets during the night time during Ramadan, the month of fasting on the calendar of Islam.