DAYTON EATS: Giving thanks for great dining experiences this holiday

Tomorrow is arguably the biggest holiday of the year, in spending, celebrating, card giving, merriment and feasting — and I sincerely hope anyone reading this knows I wish them all of the blessings and joy that the season and new year have to offer.

It’s a season that should be filled with gratitude, and in the world of Dayton dining there is plenty to be grateful for.

Here are just a few of the things I will be grateful of from now until the end of the year when it comes to dining during the holiday season.

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We’re very lucky to have some great ethnic restaurants in our town, and if you haven’t taken full advantage of them there is not a better time to start.

If you are looking to dine out on Christmas Day, there are several places that will be happy to help you in your quest. Here are five that will be open, gathered by my colleague Mark Fisher. I’ve enjoyed many fine meals at each of these over the course of 2017. Since it’s the holiday, you will definitely want to call ahead.

Ajanta India Restaurant

(937) 296-9200

3063 Woodman Drive, Kettering

11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Amar India Restaurant

(937) 439-9005

2759 Miamisburg-Centerville Road

Noon to 9 p.m.

CJ Chan

Two locations: 536 Wilmington Ave. Dayton, (937) 259-9866, and 2747 W. Alex-Bell Road, Moraine, (937) 259-8882

11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Pasha Grill

(937) 429-9000

72 Plum St at The Greene Town Center, Beavercreek

11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Shen’s Szechuan & Sushi

(937) 898-3860

7580 Poe Ave., Vandalia

11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

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There are more and more great foodie events that pop up each year. One that has been a December staple for many years is the Dorothy Lane Market Champagne Soirée.

What originally started as part of DLM’s weekly wine tasting program became so popular that over the years, it has grown to a major event. It still takes place at the original store in Oakwood. Although the store is open for business as usual, the DLM staff sets up food and wine tables in nearly every part of the store.The bubbly will be flowing steadily as they serve up 40 Champagnes and sparkling wines with a full menu of hot and cold appetizers.

The price for a ticket to the Dec. 27 event is $50 and can be purchased online or at the store. It includes everything except an additional “Prestige Cuvee” table. This is a cash bar with Champagnes starting at $150 per bottle up to $300 per bottle for the 2004 Krug Brut. Events like this that mix grand food with brilliant drink in an engaging, interesting setting are some of my favorites.


Some Christmas movies have awesome food scenes you can enjoy from the comfort of your couch before or after a big meal.

My favorite: “Elf.” The scene where Will Ferrell makes his maple syrup breakfast spaghetti is disgusting and hilarious — as is the entire film. The Turkey dinner scene in “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” is also a doozy.

Maybe next Christmas these holiday films with flavorful scenes featuring food can inspire a special pop culture holiday menu at some daring restaurant: the Chop Suey Palace “Chinese turkey” featured in “A Christmas Story”; Who Hash from “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas”; gumbo from “This Christmas”; spaghetti from “Elf”; pizza from “Home Alone”; Christmas pudding from “A Christmas Carol”; mulled wine from “It’s a Wonderful Life”; hot chocolate from “The Polar Express” — there are plenty of options that could tap into the whimsy and fun of the holiday.


I love it when a restaurant tries something new and kicks things up a notch on conception and execution.

Lily’s Bistro has continued to explore and is not afraid to take chances. This year for New Year’s Eve, it will be celebrating the flavors of the French Riviera. The five-course prix fixe menu is $59 per person plus tax and tip. Wine and cocktail specials will be available for purchase all night.

The menu is inspired. Dishes like braised pork shoulder and poblano pepper sopa verde; a beet brined octopus ceviche with Kracken Rum marinated pear chips; “Gin And Tonic” oysters on the halfshell with juniper berry, lime, and smoked salt; a housemade rabbit terrine with carrot and fennel, whipped date butter and toast points; sweet potato gnocchi with sun dried tomato velouté and brussel petals; bouillabaisse of scallop, mussel and cod with rouille and crostini; a cabernet braised beef short rib with cauliflower puree and fried leeks; beignets with foie gras and Valrhona dark chocolate mousse with white chocolate peppermint bark are the kind of creations that I love to see on a menu. It’s different, it’s exciting and I’m interested. Contact Lily’s at 937-723-7637.

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Like most diners, I prize consistency. And for my money on that score, believe it or not, I’ll put up Waffle House.

More than 2,000 Waffle House restaurants will be open for 24 hours on Christmas Day, just like they are the other 364 days of the year. It’s nice to know you can grab some coffee and waffles in the morning or some coffee and waffles in the evening. They taste the same and no matter what busy interstate you’re pulling off or what suburb you’re in. Are there better restaurants out there? No question, but sometimes a meal at the Waffle House is just what you need to get the job done. I’ll take it smothered and covered, please.

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 with the information and we will work to include it in future coverage.

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