Check out some of the places Kyle and I have been loving in Dayton, Ohio!
Even though I was extremely sad to see my 2 1/2-week vacation come to an end, I was equally excited to settle down and start the next chapter of my life with Kyle. As of the end of August, Kyle and I have officially been residents of Dayton, Ohio, and we’ve been taking every opportunity to explore the city, mostly with our taste buds because there are so many restaurants we want to try.
While I’m super excited to share all of the adventures we went on traveling from Louisiana to Florida, South Carolina and Washington, it’s taking me 20 years to edit all of the photos. I’ll be sharing those posts over the upcoming weeks. In the meantime, I want to share with y’all some of the places Kyle and I have been loving while living in Dayton this past month.
I’ll just go ahead and start with the food, because finding good eats has been a top priority for us. Even though we’ve been trying to do more cooking at home, we’ve still been able to find some delicious restaurants in the area.
Ever since I went to my first farm-to-table restaurant in Shreveport (aka my favorite restaurant in Shreveport, The Levee), I’ve been a sucker for trying to find more restaurants that use locally grown and sourced vegetables, meats and other products. Lily’s Bistro was recommended to me a few times by some girls I’ve spoken to on BumbleBFF (also, shout-out to BumbleBFF. If blogging didn’t make me enough of a believer in making friends electronically, BumbleBFF officially has.).
Not only is it a cute restaurant in the Oregon District downtown, it also has excellent service, and their food is just exceptionally delicious. Their menu changes seasonally, so I already know I’m going to find myself eating here a lot. My first meal there was a curry chicken salad sandwich with fries. When I asked for a dipping sauce for the fries (they didn’t have ranch), the waiter asked for advice from the chef, who suggested a homemade BBQ sauce. Y’all, that BBQ was so freaking amazing. I would go back just for the BBQ sauce.
We also had two friends come to visit, Sam and Keith. We met them when we lived in Shreveport, and now they live a couple of hours away in Indiana. When they came into town, we took them to Lily’s Bistro, and dinner was just as delicious as lunch. We had a cheese and charcuterie plate, and I had some mussels for dinner.
I guess I’m low-key obsessed with Korean food after having the best meal of my life at a random stop during our road trip in Savannah, Georgia. Seriously, y’all. Vlog coming to you soon because I can’t wait to share the experience, but I digress.
This was one of the first restaurants we ate at while living in Dayton. It’s a small place with a great selection. Even though I usually go for the bibimbap, I had the Korean pork bulgogi, and Kyle got the kimchi jigae, which is a kimchi stew. It also comes with a lot of accompaniments in small bowls, like tofu, kimchi, bean sprouts and lots more.
I’m a sucker for Thai food, and this place has the longest menu I’ve ever seen in my life. They serve Thai dishes, and they also have a pretty extensive sushi menu. There are so many things on the menu, that I feel like I have to go back and try as many things as possible.
Thai 9 is also located in the Oregon District, which is nice because there are lots of places to visit if you fancy a walk downtown. Every time we visit, we make sure we get the som tum, aka papaya salad. They have a large selection of Thai dishes as well as an extensive sushi menu. You can also customize your order with a spiciness level, which is awesome because I usually like my dishes a little spicier than Kyle does.
Old Scratch Pizza
I’m a huge fan of pizza, so I was excited when Kyle suggested we hit up this place. We shared an Angry Beekeeper and a Sophie Mae, which we added some mushrooms to. While the Angry Beekeeper was good, the Sophie Mae is what made us want to go back.
Basil’s on Market
I went to Basil’s on Market for a BumbleBFF date. I was meeting two girls, one that I had been chatting with since I moved to Dayton and one that was a relatively new match. We all got along really well, and we already have a group chat going. I’m super excited to meet up with them again.
Basil’s on Market itself was pretty good food-wise. I had a Basil’s Mule, which I liked, but wished it was more gingery and less sweet. For dinner I had the ahi tuna salad, which was alright, but the creme brulee was definitely enough to make me want to go back. I don’t usually get dessert, but I did this time, and it was so worth it. The food menu is a bit pricey, but I still plan to take Kyle there for lunch or dinner at some point.
Kyle took me to Coco’s Bistro to celebrate that I got a job (#finally). It’s kind of an upscale restaurant, and I had a hard time deciding what I wanted to eat because everything sounded so good.
For an appetizer, we shared the fried brie, which was freaking good. Honestly, it may have been my favorite thing that we ate. Also, if you don’t want to get an appetizer, they serve bread with butter that has some herbs in it. It’s delish, even leftover, and yes I know this because we took the bread home. For dinner, I had the Sashimi Pasta Salad. I’m a big fan of ahi tuna, and this dish did not disappoint.
It wouldn’t be a celebration if we didn’t get dessert, so we ended the meal with a yellow tart, which is a lemon custard in a buttery crust. Even though we were both full, we ate the whole thing.
Better than the dinner was the entertainment, and I’m sorry that this was a once-in-a-lifetime thing, so you likely won’t get the same entertainment if you go there. Kyle and I decided to sit outside, and there was this couple that was clearly on a first date. They were older, and in my head, I made up a story that they met on the internet, and they were finally getting to meet in person. As the night progressed, they started to get closer and closer, and then we witnessed their first kiss. Later in the night, they kissed again, and when she got up to go to the bathroom, he watched her walk away. Yaaaaas!
When they got up to leave, he walked her to her car, and we witnessed them in an intense make-out session, and we weren’t the only ones. The host had ended his shift, and he was meeting up with a friend for some wine on the patio. They were watching it all go down too, and he teased me about how invested I was. Then he pointed out that they were walking over to his car, and when Kyle and I left, we saw them making out like two teenagers in his front seat. Geez Louise! What I loved most about them was that they were interracial. She was a blonde, white woman, and he was an Asian man.
It was such a fun night, and even though the entertainment factor will most likely not be there next time, we fully plan to go back.
This is a cute little spot right outside of the Oregon District in downtown Dayton. I would go back just for the appetizer we got. We shared the warm focaccia bread, which is served with olive oil and parmesan cheese, but we added the homemade ricotta, and holy crap, y’all. It was just an explosion of goodness in my mouth. We slaughtered the entire thing, and I was nearly full from bread by the time our entrees came.
For lunch, I got the mushroom milanese sandwich, which I thought was just alright, but Kyle loved. They also have different specials every day, so there’s always something new to try.
This is a Turkist restaurant that was actually recommended to us by the woman we talked to while filling out the application for our apartment. We left the office and went straight to Pasha. I highly recommend going for lunch. They have some great lunch deals, and it comes with bread, an appetizer, an entree and dessert. It’s also located at The Greene, which I’ll talk a little bit more about below.
Long story short, one night, I decided we should go out and get some ice cream. Graeter’s was the closest, and that’s how we ended up there. We lucked out because they have a great selection, and both of our flavors were delish. I got salted caramel with chocolate chips, and Kyle got a scoop of vanilla bean and a scoop of butter pecan.
We’ve been old geezers when it comes to going out and having a drink. While we’ve enjoyed some tasty beverages from some of the restaurants we’ve been to, going out purely for a drink hasn’t been a huge priority. There are a couple places that make the list though.
Deaf Monty’s Wine
This is the cutest little wine spot in the Oregon District. The owner is so nice, and when she’s working, she usually brings her dog with her.
I had a sangria, and Kyle tried one of their dry rosés. We also had some cheese and crackers (just small cubes of gouda) and some rosemary bread with oil (no vinegar, unfortunately). It’s a cute spot for date night or girlfriend get-togethers.
What first attracted us to Hannah’s is that they have oyster shooters, which I fell in love with on our trip to Charleston. Unfortunately, they don’t have the oyster shooters that we had in Charleston (the bartender was literally going to just put an oyster into a shot of a liquor of our choice, and I was like, no sir). Even though we didn’t get any oyster shooters, we did enjoy some bar eats, drinks and some live music.
Hannah’s usually has something going on every day of the week, so if you check their Facebook page, you can see what events are happening.
I guess Ohio has made me into a lover of hiking. I’m not a super athletic person, but I’ve really been enjoying the hiking trails in this area. On our second night living in our apartment, Kyle and I joined a Meetup with a few hikers, and since then, we’ve been scheming on getting maps for all of the nearby trails so we can complete as many of them as possible. We’ve only been on three hikes so far, but they’ve all been lovely.
Cox Arboretum MetroPark
This was the park Kyle and I visited when we met up with a group of people from Meetup. They have a few different trails, which are all relatively the same (because the area is pretty flat), apart from the length of the trails. There’s also a butterfly garden that you can visit at any time of day that the park is open. None of them were flying around when we visited, but you could see them hanging out all around the tent.
At the end of the hike, we climbed up the tree tower, which had some incredible views.
Glen Helen Nature Preserve
This is a huge preserve located in a nearby town called Yellow Springs. There are several different hiking trails, none of which are marked, so I highly recommend going to the information center to get a map.
Along the trails, there are different things you can see while you’re hiking. We took the most common route where you get to see the largest number of places of interest. Near the information center, there’s a tiny Trailside Museum where you can talk to an animal expert, learn a little more about Glen Helen and some of the animals that live in the preserve. You can also see a snake and a few turtles that live in the museum.
A little off the trail is the Raptor Center where you can see a number of birds that were saved and are used for educational demonstrations, such as owls, eagles and vultures. On our hike, we also saw a few deer that were drinking water from the springs. They were far away, so they didn’t notice us, and we were able to observe them for a little bit. It was actually pretty neat! There were obviously squirrels galore, and we also managed to spot a cute little chipmunk.
It’s such a beautiful area, with some areas being a little more challenging than others. Kyle and I have decided to highlight the trails we’ve already visited so we can conquer the entire preserve. Once we do, we plan to award ourselves with t-shirts from the museum.
Carriage Hill MetroPark
This is a well-marked park that has a few different trails that are all relatively easy. They also have different trails for horseback riding. They have a historical farm where you can learn about life in the 1880s, a fishing pier where you can fish for free without a licence, picnic areas and lakes for paddling. In the winter, they even permit cross-country skiing on the hiking trails.
The best part of Carriage Hill is that they have sheep and goats just hanging out outside of the visitor center. You can pet them, which we did. We spent a lot of time just ogling them, especially the little baby lamb.
We (and by “we,” I mean “I”) have a ton of things on my list of things I want to do while we’re living here. We haven’t done much in terms of crossing things off, but we’ve only been here a month, so we have plenty of time.
The Oregon District is a part of the downtown Dayton area, and it’s the place that most people have recommended for things to do. While we’ve mostly just eaten at a few different restaurants in the Oregon District, we’ve also walked around to see some of the different stores. They have an eclectic collection of local shops. My favorite so far is this bookstore called Bonnett’s. It’s organized chaos with tons of toys used for decoration, none of which are for sale. They also have comic books, movies and shelves and shelves full of every book genre. You won’t find many new releases, but if you’re looking for some old, used books, you may find it here.
This is a small town that just a few minutes drive outside of Dayton. Our main goal was to go for a hike at Glen Helen, but we also had breakfast at a place called Emporium Wines & Underdog Cafe. You order from the counter, and they give you a letter to display on your table. They have a piano that anyone is welcome to play. They also have a cozy seating area surrounded by a few bookshelves. As the name implies, they sell bottles of wine, and they also serve coffee.
Another spot we enjoyed on our day trip to Yellow Springs is Yellow Springs Brewery, which was a short walk from Glen Helen. They have indoor and outdoor seating and a bar top, which we sat at. They also have a few board games, but not really much for just two people. I had some wine while Kyle enjoyed one of the local brews.
If you’re looking for a place to shop, The Greene is a large outdoor shopping center. There’s also a movie theater and comedy club, and they host some events throughout the year.
We ended up here to eat at Pasha Grille, and while Kyle went to work out, I decided to use some of the gift cards that have been burning a hole in my pocket. They also have a two-story Books-A-Million, so of course, I took some time to peruse the shelves.
I’m still baffled by how much fun we had at Scene 75. After an early evening of a light dinner and drinks at Hannah’s, we decided we wanted to do something random. I discovered Scene 75 through a Google search, and we seriously had a blast.
Scene 75 is this ginormous arcade-like situation. They have tons of arcade games, of course, (I’m talking multiple rooms, y’all), and they also have mini bowling, mini golf, laser tag, go karts and so many other things. We played a couple rounds of mini bowling, a short game of mini golf and some random arcade games. It was seriously so much fun.
They also have a few places to eat and drink, including a full sit-down restaurant with a bar. You can actually take your drink with you while you play games, which is nice. We definitely plan to go back.
Trivia with a Twist
Kyle is a whiz at trivia, and while I’m not the best at it, I still love going. I started talking to a girl on BumbleBFF who was looking for trivia partners for herself and her husband. She told me about this company called Trivia with a Twist that hosts a number of different trivia nights, sometimes themed, throughout the week.
While I have plans to meet up with the girl I spoke with on BumbleBFF for trivia in a few weeks, Kyle and I ended up going to one that was Harry Potter-themed. While we didn’t win, we still got a pretty decent score, and we had fun, so hopefully there are many more trivia nights in the future.
Even with a weekend road trip to Cleveland (more on that soon!), Kyle and I have been managing to really make the most of our time in Dayton so far. I’m excited to keep crossing things off our list and continuing to enjoy the time we have in our new home.
What are some of your favorite things to do where you live?