600 E. 2nd Street (2nd Street Market)
Dayton, OH 45402
Dayton’s 2nd Street Market has a whole slew of different vendors, many of whom purvey fresh foods and novelties to-go. But I’d call Chef Joe Case a cherished mainstay here. The little stand is something of a deli – it sells cold salads, slaws and sandwiches, which can be packaged to go, but let’s be honest, you’re probably going to want to scarf them down while you’re here and wandering through the many shops in the market. Chef Joe’s variety of paninis and sandwiches are what turn heads immediately in this shop.
It’s a short menu, but don’t let that fool you. Every item is immensely well-thought-out and intentional. Some of the things that I like:
- Panini: This recipe is a classic chicken pesto kind of deal, with a bit of tomato in there. When you have crunchy bread in a panini you need the chicken to be moist and soft. And here it is so. The sturdy flavor of that pesto says everything else.
- Breakfast sandwiches: Too are paninis, and in this case they’re filled with breakfast foods. My choice was the bacon, egg and cheese, which is filled with soft scrambled eggs, a mix-in of cheese and thick Canadian bacon. It’s perfectly good at lunch, thank you.
- Lemonade: Cool and just a tad sweet but not lacking in the wonderful fresh-squeezed lemon flavor.
- Asian cole slaw: At first it looks like they threw everything and the kitchen sink into this. Not just cabbages green and red but jalepeno peppers! Sesame seeds! The end result is this nice, vinegary mix of veggies that is very satisfying.
Since it’s open with the rest of the 2nd Street Market on a year-round but weekend-focused basis, this shop I think allows for some time and effort to focus on each item being high-quality. They don’t need to turn tables or sell a big quantity of anything to stick around, and I really do feel like that’s a plus because it lets them experiment and make sure every salad and sandwich is up to snuff. The end result? Everything I’ve tasted here is complex and multi-layered.
The food is a bit of a wait typically because it’s made from scratch and to-order but that’s a good thing too. All-in-all, I like this shop for its attention to detail and just how well-thought-out all of it is. Absolutely worth a return visit.
- The salads, quinoas, tofu and other things here are vegan friendly and perfectly good to go. Sandwiches, though, probably would be better for eating right here.
- There are drinks on that menu and they’re fresh! Don’t forget about them!
- Good breakfast options if you’re here bright and early.