DAYTON EATS: Local salads bring out flavors that celebrate summer

A good salad is such a wonderful gift.

It’s a celebration of the gifts that Earth offers. They can be dressed up or dressed down as much as you like and offer the opportunity to get creative without an insane amount of skills in the kitchen.

Just as universal as salads are they are on menus everywhere. While they may be available everywhere, they are not all created equal and when you find a really good one it’s cause for celebrating.

Here are a dozen of my favorite salads in town that pack a tasty crunch and will be light and refreshing for summer.

Butter Cafe’s Seaside Salad

1106 Brown St., Dayton

937-985-9917 or

Butter Cafe just put out a menu of summer specials and the Seaside Salad ($16.95) is a simple prospect worth seeking out. A pile of fresh local spinach piled high with strawberries, pecans, feta and local microgreens topped with a housemade crab cake, it’s a light, tasty winner.

Coco’s Bistro’s Beet Salad

250 Warren St., Dayton

937-228-2626 or

This classy salad made with mixed greens, fresh beets, grapefruit gastrique, goat cheese and beet thousand island topped with grilled salmon ($17) is a flavorful dreamy dream. It’s light, beautiful and puts the spotlight on that beautiful, bright red beetroot. I’m also obsessed with their Bourbon Street Salad ($18) made on a bed of mixed greens, bacon, tomato, fontina, spicy onion straws, toasted pecan vinaigrette with bourbon glazed shrimp.

elé Cake Co Bistro & Wine Bar’s Chopped Salad

3680 Rigby Rd, Miamisburg

937-384-2253 or

The chopped salad at elé is a favorite — Roma crunch lettuce, chopped harvest mixed greens, red radishes, English cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, garden peas, green beans, hard-boiled egg and garlic toast points with your choice of dressing. It starts at $14 and salmon, grilled chicken, tiger shrimp or fried shrimp can be added for an additional charge, ranch, house champagne vinaigrette, caesar, golden balsamic vinaigrette, lemon poppyseed vinaigrette. Make it a late lunch to enjoy a happy hour on any weekday from 3-6 p..m. and enjoy $3 off all appetizers and $5 drafts and house wines.

Credit: Submitted Photo

Credit: Submitted Photo

Figlio Wood Fired Pizza’s Peasant Salad

424 E Stroop Road, Kettering

937-534-0494 or

Two words: Peasant salad. This is the same recipe from the former Peasant Stock restaurant that is a classic. Lettuce, spinach, bacon, egg, onion, cheddar, peas, peppers ($8) with a creamy thick dressing. This salad is like a deconstructed seven-layer salad. It’s a favorite of mine. The spinach strawberry salad with vinaigrette, arugula, honey bacon, blue cheese and pickled red onion ($8.50) is also a great choice. Entree salads are double the price and salmon ($7), shrimp ($6), chicken ($5) or avocado ($3) can all be added.

Grist’s Bready or Not

46 W. 5th St., Dayton

937-802-4544 or

Grist is a dream and it is always changing. I love this place so much and now that it’s open for dinner it’s double the pleasure. It has two salads that are currently being featured on the ever-changing menu, but consider the “Bready or Not” ($6.25 for a half, $10.25 for the full) made with day-old focaccia, spring peas, asparagus, pickled red onion, crumbled feta, shaved radish and a smoked buttermilk vinaigrette.

Linh’s Bistro’s Goi Tom Thit

5532 Airway Rd., Dayton

937- 252-1857 or

One of my favorite restaurants in town offers up an extensive selection of Vietnamese dishes. The restaurant’s Goi Tom Thit salad ($15.95) is a traditional fresh vegetable Vietnamese salad with shrimp and pork that will wow you if you’ve never had the pleasure of ordering it. Just ask for No. 14 on the menu and you will be in business before you know it.

Lucky’s Taproom & Eatery’s Grilled Kale and Beet Salad

520 E. 5th St., Dayton

937- 222-6800 or

Grilled Kale is served with a healthy dose of roasted golden beets with some applewood smoked bacon, shaved red onion and savory goat cheese to compliment it. The salad ($13.25) is served with your choice of dressing. I prefer Mama Lu’s garlic sensation, but you can’t go wrong with any of them. Vegetarians can substitute crispy seitan crumbles for bacon. Meat lovers can add chicken ($4.25), 6 oz. salmon ($8) or more bacon ($2.75) to their salad if extra protein is needed.

Meadowlark’s Chopped Salad

5531 Far Hills Ave., Dayton

937-434-4750 or

This perennial favorite puts the spotlight on crunchy, fresh veggies, featuring chopped cucumber, tomato, radish, carrot and celery tossed with an equally simple fresh lemon vinaigrette on a bed of chopped romaine. Egg, avocado, crumbled feta, herb leaves and a drizzle of homemade herb mayonnaise are delicately mixed in with a piece of crunchy grilled toast served on the side. The salad is $16.95 for a full salad and $9.95 for a half. Add grilled angus beef ($9), seared salmon ($8), grilled chicken breast ($7) or my personal favorite, grilled tofu ($5). There’s also an option to top it with crisp Nueske’s bacon and tomato ($6).

Piada Italian Street Food, Farmers Market Salad

4397 Far Hills Ave., Kettering


3286-B Paragon Blvd., Beavercreek


1047 Miamisburg-Centerville Rd., Centerville


Piada is one of my favorite fast casual concepts in town. It’s affordable and packed with fresh flavors. It’s quick, easy and you always leave feeling like you walked away with a good value. My personal favorite is the Farmers Market salad with chopped greens, cabbage, kale, fresh avocado, feta, strawberries, sweet corn and tomato, glazed pecans and a lemon-basil dressing ($8.59/$ 10.29), but everything at Piada is pretty great and I can’t say that about most fast casual options.

Credit: Alexis Larsen

Credit: Alexis Larsen

Salar Restaurant & Lounge’s Peruvian Charred Caesar Salad

400 E. 5th St., Dayton

937-203-3999 or

Salar knows how to execute on flavor and they bring that to this wonderful salad. Charred baby romaine lettuce, parmesan and queso fresco cheeses, peppered bacon and cilantro croutons served with an aji amarillo Caesar dressing ($15) pack this salad with flavors that will keep you coming back for more. It’s a perfect salad to split before dinner if you’re not going green all the way.

Credit: Alexis Larsen

Credit: Alexis Larsen

Salt Block Biscuit Company’s Almond Tarragon Chicken Salad

115 E. Third St., Dayton

937-938-9079 or

To say that I love Salt Block Biscuit Company and its owner Justin Mohler would be a huge understatement. He opened his wonderful storefront in late 2020 and the only problem with going in to order one of his terrific salads is all of the baked goods that you won’t be able to resist that are made with the kind of love and passion you can taste. My favorite of his salads is the Almond Tarragon Chicken Salad made with roast chicken, onion, celery, toasted almonds, and tarragon served over greens with carrots, tomatoes, and apples ($15). I get some pickled beets on the side and try and resist without success adding carbs to my order at the check-out.

Thai 9′s Mango Salad

11 Brown St., Dayton

937-222-3227 or

Thai 9 has one of my favorite salads in town — a salad that I dream about and crave and require on a fairly regular basis. Their mango salad ($6.95) is so simple: sliced fresh mango with piles of red onion, cilantro, green onion, cashews, roasted coconut bathes in fresh lime juice and some fish sauce it has kick and flavor and kick and flavor and kick. Full disclosure: You will need a mint afterwards.

DAYTON EATS runs Sundays in the Life & Arts section of the Dayton Daily News and features the latest on menu updates, special dinners and events, new chefs, interesting new dishes, and food adventures. Contact Contributing Writer Alexis Larsen at

About the Author