I recently spent a week in Dayton, Ohio on a mission to find the best local biscuits and gravy. There is no elaborate backstory, except that I am originally from the area, I have been craving B&G, and my normal schedule does not allow me to indulge in my love of old breakfast diners too often.
Surely not many other 30-somethings spend their whole week vacation in Ohio chasing biscuits and sunsets like I did, but I have no regrets. My criteria was simply that it had to be a locally-owned, only-in Dayton kind of place.
Here are my top four favourites:
- Lily’s in the Oregon District was the most creative and original take on this classic. I put green onions on everything so they had me from the first glance.
Lily’s also gets my vote for prettiest decor and ambiance, and most favorable hostess/server ‘tudes. Everyone was so bright and cheery despite me walking in literally thirty seconds after they opened.
Bright tropical designs, gem tones, moody and natural lights, plants basking in sunny windows, and lots of little reflective prisms and stained-glass made it a lovely place to just BE for a while.
This mural was right beside my table, where I got to watch the chef do his thing up close and personal. Lily’s relies on as much locally-sourced meat, produce, and baked goods as possible, and offers lots of substitutions for varied diets. Check out these vibrant menus.
- Butter Café is an award-winning organic restaurant near the historic South Park neighbourhood that gets my vote for most decadent food. Paula Dean would have lose her cool over this menu, for certain.
Just look at this half-portion of B&G and see why they call this place Butter.
I sampled their corned beef hash as well, which was nice and herby, though I like mine crisp.
Butter has a cute interior, with minimal natural elements added to the sturdy bones of what I believe is an old house.
Walk around to the back of the building to see this mural full of sweets and flowers
- Brunch Club gets my vote for speediest service and most relaxed environment. Everyone inside was in sweat pants, laughing loudly and hugging each other, sipping coffee while deep in conversation, just like it was someone’s living room.
I could tell immediately this place is held up by a multitude of regulars who love them, and they all knew each other by name.
Biscuits and gravy were pretty great at Brunch Club, but the fried potatoes with extra onions, over easy eggs, and smoked sausage that came with them were phenomenal. The portions here are gigantic, so consider bringing a friend or taking home a box. Peep the breakfast menu here.
- I must give Sam & Ethel’s in Tipp City an honourable mention. Tipp City is a small bedroom community in North Dayton, a town of its own, but close enough to be considered part of Dayton.
Sam & Ethel’s is the only location, and it is another place packed with friendly regulars. As I waited for my coffee, three different older gentleman came in and the waitress greeted each of them by name, and verified if they wanted their “Regular” again.
Sam & Ethel’s gets my vote for the most old-school, gluey white yet still delicious gravy. It is a tiny little place right on Tipp City’s Main Street, where my pop walked in and bought himself his very first cup of coffee as a teen in the 80s. Any place that stays fondly in my dads memories like that is sure to cozy up into mine as well.
Table 33 and Salt Block Biscuit Co. remain on my list for the next visit. Salt Block Biscuit Co. had a very long wait, well-deserved from what I hear, so I found Brunch Club instead. The following and final day of my trip, Table 33 was closed (each Tuesday), so let me know if you have been before and what you think!
Next, we will talk about the best pizza in Dayton.
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