The newest addition to the Oregon District, and the creation of husband and wife team Natalie and Jack Skilliter, Corner Kitchen opened in a long-vacant space at the corner of one of Dayton’s most loved nightlife spots as a place where people can go to get something upscale but down-to-earth. The deliberate craft of its owners is apparent in the restaurant; each dish looks pretty simple from the outside but gets more complex as you dive in; and in the end the food here really delivers something that downtown Dayton has been craving.
Founded out of Texas in the mid-1980s, Don Pablos had expanded rapidly into the Midwest before a 2007 bankruptcy slashed the chain’s locations. Now, Don Pablo’s is back with a new menu and a new concept to make each location something of a party. The interior of each restaurant has a wide open, colorful and friendly concept and the menu an expansive bunch of Tex-Mex dishes focusing on great meat dishes and simple flavors. The chain has spots in many cities still, and it’s a overall a good experience.
What was formerly one of the locations of the “Cadillac Jack’s” sports bar chain in Dayton morphed last year to be a spot that caters more to the Fairborn neighborhood. Now, that spot is Hangar 18 on Kauffman Ave., and it offers the same basic premise of pub grub but at a more economical rate, and with plenty of other reasons to visit this little bar and game room concept. Sandwiched between Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and Wright State University, this bar has a ton of sports fans from a lot of different places to draw through its doors. Hence the full name: “Hangar 18 Drinking Joint & Hangout.”
Just close to 90 locations of Bar Louie are spread out across the Midwest and the East Coast, slowly expanding west in the U.S. These restaurants tend to locate one or two to a city, generally in the very upscale bar districts where they can justify higher prices and clientele looking for a more upscale experience. The bars are trimmed, often filled with televisions and sports gear, and most importantly, they’re nearly always packed. Expect a safe experience at one of these bars food-wise. Drinks are a different story. But whichever you pick, don’t expect to be wowed.
It is the reinvention of a small cafe that graced the main stretch of Springboro, Ohio, but SG-75 Gastropub (formerly known as Soooo Good Bar & Grill) is a beefier version of the original concept, in every sense of the word. This spot is built to focus on the four B’s: Beer, bacon, burgers, and bourbon. Definitely with a streamlined menu and a narrower focus: to be a place to grab good food and a good drink to go with it. Nice to see an option like this pop up in the suburbs.
The recent expansion of America’s thriving craft beer industry has attracted not only a ton of new taprooms to Nashville, but also plenty of other bars with a focus on finding and serving the best of those craft beers. Capitalizing on the expansion of the 12th Avenue South area, the 12 South Taproom & Grill features a menu of pub grub favorites to enjoy with a variety of craft beers from the south and beyond. Not only Nashville’s top beers, but dozens of beers from around the country are on tap. There are a lot of good things to try here.
A fun-loving, quirky concept out of Austin, Texas, the fast growing Chuy’s Tex Mex chain sort of explodes at you all at once as soon as you walk in. The mass of colors, hundreds of hand-painted fish on the ceilings, a shrine to Elvis, all of it greets you as you find your way to the bar or to a table. The flavors that greet you there are equally bold and loud. All told, I’m a huge fan of this concept and what it has to offer.
While it’s at the edge of both the South Park neighborhood near downtown Dayton and the fortress-like Miami Valley Hospital, Jimmie’s Ladder 11 is frequented most often, it would seem, but students from the nearby University of Dayton. This neighborhood watering hole brings a ton of drink options and a place for live music acts, but don’t discount its menu. In fact, Jimmie’s has a delicious menu of bar food and at pretty reasonable prices. I consider it something of a dark horse in town; not a ton of people outside UD frequent the place, and they’re missing out.
Oregon District has a lot of bars with a lot of good bar food, and when you first walk through downtown Dayton’s main nightlife spot, you might not at first set your sights on the small operation that is Lucky’s. But make no mistake, this spot is much beloved by Dayton city-dwellers. Whether they’re making use of the spot’s extensive tap list or just looking to sample one of the burgers or sandwiches that fill its menu, people come to this spot in droves. The hype leaves you wondering, is it worth a try? The answer is yes.
Dayton is home to a ton of locally owned little Tex Mex food chains, and Las Piramides Mexican Restaurant with two locations north and south of the city is one of them. The spot serves up your prototypical Mexican food fare in a large interior sit down environment. The popularity is clear with the locals, because these spots have been open for years and they keep their guests coming back, especially during the lunch hour. Las Piramides has some great specialties, and while the menu doesn’t do a huge amount of innovating it’s still a pretty safe choice for food.