30 local homes to become their own restaurants for one evening



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30 local homes to become their own restaurants for one evening

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Some of the food that was served at the Ronald McDonald House Doors of Compassion pairing party at Dorothy Lane Culinary Center, which pairs home owners with their respective chefs ahead of the event. CONTRIBUTED

On April 1, more than 30 area homes will be transformed into local dining establishments for one magical evening.

This is not an April Fool’s joke.

For the last seven years, one of the more interesting fundraising events in town has been pairing talented chefs and caterers with local homeowners to put on special dinners for small groups of people all over Dayton. The meals are each as diverse and inspired as the homes and decor that provide the ambiance.

I have written about the Ronald McDonald House Doors of Compassion in the past, but keep going back for the army of incredible chefs showcasing their artistry and innovation in more interesting, intimate settings — all for a great cause.

“We expect over 300 attendees this year, so please be sure to book now. The deadline is Monday, March 20,” said Ann Berger, chef selection chair and the visionary behind this event after hearing about something similar from a friend in Cincinnati. “We hit this milestone because this event in unlike any other event in the city. It combines fun, fabulous food, networking, and the unknown — who will be your chef, whose house will you be sent to, and who will I meet this event at dinner?”

The event has grown from 23 chefs its first year in 2010 to 32 this year.

Although the foundation for the meal is the same across the board — tenderloin steak provided by Dorothy Lane Market, salad greens courtesy of Produce One, seafood from Foremost Seafood and wine courtesy of Wine Trends as well as dinner rolls provided by Evans Bakery — no two dinner parties are alike. Chefs are encouraged to use their culinary creativity and chops to create a unique dining experience and menu for their guests to ooh and ahh over.

New this year, chefs will get their choice of flavored olive oil and vinegar from Spicy Olive, a new olive oil company in the Austin Landing area.

“Chefs love the creativity that the Doors format allows them. Many treat it like a cooking demonstration as guests look on, sharing their special culinary styles. Guests love getting to know the chefs, picking up recipe tips, and the ambiance created in each home by our gracious hosts,” said Karen Dempsey Volke, chief development officer for Ronald McDonald House Charities of Dayton.

All funds go to support Ronald McDonald House families during their time of need, keeping them close by to watch over and comfort their sick children.

It’s philanthropy through food, and eating for a worthy cause is a feel-good all the way around.

Dayton Eats looks at the regional food stories and restaurant news that make mouths water. Menu updates, special dinners and events, new chefs, interesting new dishes and culinary adventures. Do you know of new exciting format changes, specials, happy hours, restaurant updates or any other tasty news you think is worth a closer look at? E-mail Alexis Larsen at alexis.e.larsen@hotmail.com with the information and we will work to include it in future coverage.


Local restaurants, chefs and caterers participating in 2017 Doors of Compassion:

  • Bernstein’s Fine Catering, Adam and Lauren Baumgarten
  • Bonefish Grill, Dean Petros
  • Brio’s Tuscan Grille, Dennis Sommers
  • Christophers, John Baker
  • Citilites, Matt DeAngulo
  • Dorothy Lane Market, Carrie Walters
  • El Meson, Bill Castro
  • Flemings, Adam Stomps
  • Henny Penny, Benjamin Leingang
  • Hope Hotel, Jason Davis
  • It’z All Goode Catering, Scott A. Mitchell
  • Kohler Foods, Mark Holding
  • Kroger, Chris Alexander
  • Lester’s Kitchen, Lester Gates
  • Lily’s Bistro, Amy Finch
  • McCormick & Schmick’s, Alex Brown
  • Michael Anthony’s At the Inn, Michael Anthony Delligatta
  • Mudlick Tap House, Chris Coherd
  • Nibbles, Maria and Eric Walusis
  • Old Scratch Pizza, Nate Vance
  • Private Chef, Stephen Spyrou
  • Red Box Culinary Design, Aimee Saling
  • Salar Restaurant & Lounge, Margot Blondet
  • Scratch Events, Marshall Bartley
  • Sea Jax Tavern, Carolyn Scott
  • Sycamore Creek Country Club, Paul Mcvay
  • Symphony at Centerville, Jeff Blumer
  • The Dayton Country Club, David Glynn
  • The Old Arcana, Jeffrey Besecker
  • University of Dayton Marriott, Devin Duncan
  • Whole Foods, Richard Gardner


What: Ronald McDonald House Doors of Compassion

When: 6 p.m.-midnight April 1

Cost: $150 a ticket. With 32 homes and up to 350 tickets sold, now is the time to purchase if you think you want to attend.

How it works: The week of March 27 guests will receive an email letting them know what house they will be invited to. Guests will arrive at around 6 p.m. on April 1 to their host home for appetizers and dinner. At 8:30 p.m. all guests, host homes, and chefs will head to an after party at a location given to the guests that evening. The after party will have dessert, after dinner drinks, live music, a silent auction and a raffle for a trip to Costa Rica.

More info: Tickets can be purchased online at www.rmhcdayton.org and click on Doors of Compassion. Door of Compassion is kosher and vegetarian friendly — guests are asked to indicate special dietary restrictions when reservations are purchased.


Turn to us every Sunday in Life & Arts for the latest menu updates, special dinners and events, new chefs, interesting new dishes, and culinary adventures brought to you by contributing writer Alexis Larsen. Bon appetite!

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