For more than 25 years, Christopher’s Restaurant in Kettering has been busy putting out one comforting meal after another.
It’s not easy to be consistently good, but in my time dining at Christopher’s off and on over the last two decades, this is a restaurant that makes it look mostly effortless.
It’s the kind of place where you’re confident in what you are going to get — quality ingredients, comfortable and familiar recipes, affordable prices all with a sizable menu that offers something for everyone, including strict vegetarians and diners with food allergies.
There aren’t many restaurants in town that I can say have never let me down. This is not to say that Christopher’s has never had off night — but if they have, I haven’t been around to see it.
Cool new additions to the menu
The current dinner menu, which was rolled out in May last year, saw the addition of dishes like cedar plank salmon, a seasonal vegetable garden risotto, a vegan soba noodle stir fry, andouille mac and cheese, maple mustard pork chops and a tempura artichokes appetizer. Much of the menu the restaurant is currently operating with featured ingredients sourced locally from Hill Family Farms, Foremost Seafood, KJB Farms, Keener Farm and Patchwork Gardens.
Owner Chip Pritchard said the restaurant originally opened in 1981 in Indianapolis. It was sold in 1989 and moved to Dayton, where it was re-opened in 1991 as a casual soup, salad and sandwich spot with counter service.
“After the first year of operation, we realized that there was a need for a full-service restaurant in the neighborhood and converted to table service. As we grew, we expanded the menu to include many of the favorites of our patrons and offered them on a daily basis. Most of the meats we offer are antibiotic free and we have always looked for ways to present and prepare clean foods. After a review that cited several vegetarian items on the menu, we found great public interest in meatless fare and it has become a solid characteristic of our menu,” Pritchard said.
It’s all about great, consistent chefs
“Each chef that has worked at the restaurant has brought something special to the menu — but the solid consistency of our mainstays has been provided by Chef Chris Robinette, who has been with the restaurant for over 22 of the 26 years of operation. More recently Chef Marishah Paddock helped to develop Vegan Wednesdays and many of the popular dinner staples. About a year and a half ago, Chef Don Warfe came on board and has developed many of the new menu ideas and has engaged many of the local food growers and producers as suppliers for menu items.”
Warfe arrived in December 2015 when Zetland Street in Bellbrook closed and he was looking for his next move. He’s a chef with a passion for cooking with local seasonal ingredients.
“Using what’s in your own neighborhood gives you fresher, better tasting, healthier food, that also supports your local economy, said Warfe. “(We are) making the food from scratch with pride in what we’re doing. With our motto being ‘Something For Everyone,’ our goal is to continue doing what has kept our guests happy for the last 25 years and also expanding our audience by staying current with upcoming food trends using local and seasonal ingredients.
“In addition to what’s happening in the kitchen, we are also rotating our local craft beer selection as well as doing wine tastings. In the future, we plan on doing local beer and food pairing dinners.”
Keeping the regulars coming back
With changes over the years, the restaurant is cautious to not alienate long-term clientele, maintaining the integrity of classic Christopher’s menu items.
The new menu changes have rewarded Pritchard and his team with increased traffic.
“People come to Christopher’s for a variety of reasons. It’s fresh, it’s fun, it’s healthy and tasty, and we offer a kids menu that is popular with many families. We offer a nice selection of craft beers and wines to accompany the meals and our house made desserts are very popular. It’s always our intent to make each person’s visit a satisfying experience worthy of returning again and again,” said Pritchard.
“The culinary world is wide open these days and that’s true for the Dayton region as well. There are some great independent operators in the area who provide some of the most unique features and ideas on their menu as you will find anywhere. I feel like there continues to be growing interest in locally produced products and healthier options. The chefs in the area are latching on to these things and making them taste delicious.
“Our plan and goal is to continue to put great food on a plate and serve it with a smile. That’s us. That’s Christopher’s.”