Roost owners to open restaurant inside Dayton Art Institute

DAYTON — The owners of Roost Modern Italian restaurant have teamed up with the Dayton Art Institute and will open a new restaurant called Leo Bistro inside the art institute in December, DAI officials announced this morning.

The new restaurant will be open to the public, and museum membership will not be required to dine there, although museum members will receive special discounts and offerings, DAI officials said. It will focus on lunch service and will be open when the museum itself is open, although its precise hours have not been set. The opening date also is not set, but is projected to come sometime in December. Leo’s Bistro will seat 68 at tables, with bar and lounge seating for an additional 12.

The restaurant will be part of the DAI’s new community gathering space that includes a renovated DAI Museum Store and rooms available for meetings, receptions and events.

“The museum’s new community gathering space is another part of our long-term goal to make The Dayton Art Institute a premiere destination in downtown Dayton,” says DAI Executive Director Michael R. Roediger. “We feel this new partnership is another important step in the process, by creating a unique dining experience at the museum.”

Today’s announcement comes on the one-year anniversary of Roost’s opening at 524 E. Fifth St. in Dayton’s Oregon Historic District.

“We have been looking for another opportunity, and it’s a beautiful space that DAI built,” said Roost’s co-owner and executive chef Dana Downs. “We don’t do lunch at Roost, so now we have a lunch spot.”

The menu will include soups, salads, appetizers, sandwiches and lunch-portioned entrees, as well as desserts. The dishes will be influenced by cuisines from around the world, including Mexican, French and Italian, Downs said.

Downs and Leo Bistro/Roost co-owner Beth Hirschbach launched Veritas Catering in 2009 and opened the Black Rooster Pasta Bar at the 2nd Street Market later that year before opening Roost Modern Italian in 2011.

Leo Bistro takes its name from the bronze sculpture known as “Leo the Lion” that has stood on the museum grounds since 1955 and which once was the mascot outside the former Steele High School in downtown Dayton.

Leo’s Bistro will open with about eight employees, Downs said. Elegant Fare will continue to be the DAI’s exclusive catering provider, according to DAI officials.

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