Patio Hopping Guide: 11 fantastic stops to make in the Oregon District

These outdoor spaces to eat and drink are within a short stroll of each other

April showers bring May flowers and May brings the real start of patio season.

As patio season opens for what’s sure to be a bustling business, it’s time to consider maximizing your time making that sweet vitamin D while relaxing and enjoying the outdoor breeze.

A patio crawl is just the thing.

The Oregon District represents one of the greatest concentrations of fantastic patios in the region within a relatively short stroll of one another. They are authentic, cool and range widely in personality. All offer something different with both food, view and vibe depending on what you are looking for.

If you’re going to patio hop, having a good plan is paramount — advance planning on dishes to order and understanding the vibe will help you create a rock solid plan. Here’s a look at the patios in the Oregon District that offer the best of both worlds — food and drink combined with an outdoor space to relax in.

Blind Bob’s

430 E. Fifth St., Dayton or (937) 938-6405

Patio: It’s a pretty basic patio to strike a chill pose while observing passing Fifth Street street foot traffic.

Order up!: For patio eating, I love Bob’s mini sliders (four for $9) with a good draft beer or a cool, light salad like the southwest ($7.50) and a cider if it’s a scorcher.



The Dublin Pub

300 Wayne Ave., Dayton or (937) 224-7822

Patios: Dublin Pub has these wonderful vignettes throughout the indoor space that help create different energy depending on where you are sitting. It has cozy corners, open gathering spaces and bars that transport you to Ireland. The outdoor patio is spacious and lush and the upstairs patio is a sunny spot to hold court — perfect for day drinking with friends.

Order up!: No matter how hot it gets, it’s hard for me to turn down the Dublin Pub’s cheese fries smothered in a white wine cream sauce, cheddar jack cheese and bacon ($9.99). I’m also a total sucker for their fish and chips with extra slaw on the side ($14.99 and $1.99 for the coleslaw infusion).

Franco’s Ristorante & La Taverna

824 E. Fifth St., Dayton or (937) 222-0204

Patio: A large, spacious open air patio at the front of the restaurant should be set up soon for outdoor dining.

Order up!: I think Franco’s patio really shines in the evening and when you are out as the sun dips and the stars come out, it doesn’t get better than Franco’s “World Famoso” Spaghetti that is a fresh roasted garlic, olive oil, cheesy, eggy masterpiece. I’ve been singing the praises of that dish for a year, so if you’ve tried that, move on to give the Avvoltini di Manzo “Braciole” a shot. This is a dish that takes thinly sliced New York strip steak that is rolled and stuffed with egg, sausage, celery and carrots and then covered with Italian sauce and served with a side of spaghetti.

Lily’s Dayton

329 E. Fifth St., Dayton or (937) 723-7637

Patios: Lily’s has three patios to choose from, but the best by far is the back patio. It is absolutely gorgeous and is one of those spots that can transport you to somewhere else when everything is green and flowering. It’s a patio that works for brunch, lunch or dinner with equal success.

Order up!: For brunch, consider Cafe du Monde style beignets ($5.50) with strawberry jam and a braised short rib omelet ($14.50) or a veggie omelet ($11.50) made with kale, radish, cabbage, golden beets and Brussels sprouts with white cheddar cheese. For dinner I’m a sucker for the Caribbean pulled pork nachos ($13) off the appetizer menu that features wonton crisps with smoked queso, fresh jalapenos, tomatillo salsa and house vegetable slaw.

Oregon Express

336 E. Fifth St., Dayton or (937) 223-9205

Patio: The OE’s upstairs patio has a great view of downtown. It’s casual and laid back just as you’d expect and something that is a real treat when the weather is just right.

Order up!: The Reuben Pizza at the OE ($13 small, $19 large, $23.50 jumbo) remains one of my favorite pizzas ever. All of their food hits the spot, but the Reuben pizza is exceptional.

Credit: Salar Restaurant and Lounge

Credit: Salar Restaurant and Lounge

Salar Restaurant & Lounge

410 E. Fifth St., Dayton or (937) 203-3999

Patio: Salar has a classy, sophisticated patio that runs parallel to Fifth Street. It’s on the small side, but they make up for it with the back patio, which is where you should look for a seat.

Order up!: Salar has a great brunch, but I’m in it for the tapas I can order in multiple for dinner. I love the papitas ($11), a dish of whipped Peruvian potatoes served with a spicy, creamy Huancaina sauce, accompanied by seven minute eggs and kalamata olives. The salmon and shrimp ceviche ($15) with fresh lime juice, red onion and spices topped with fried calamari and the empanadas (beef, seafood and vegetarian) are a great way to nosh through the evening and soak up the ambiance.

Thai 9

11 Brown St., Dayton or (937) 222-3227

Patio: This enclosed lower patio is a great spot in the summer to sit outside and not have to stare at a parking lot, plus Thai food was made for warm weather, so it’s a dreamy combination. The upstairs seating is also great but you will have a good view of the sky and the parking lot.

Order up!: On a really warm summer day, sushi is where it’s at ... that and a curry dish or a noddle dish (my favorites are Massaman curry and Singapore noodles). The hot and the cold food provide the yin and the yang that a patio adventure needs.

Troll Pub

216 Wayne Ave., Dayton or (937) 723-7709

Patio: Pretty basic, but it’s there waiting for you when you are in need.

Order up!: A club sandwich ($10.99) always feels like summer to me. Their spicy black bean burger ($9.99) is also a good summer option.

Trolley Stop

530 W. Fifth St., Dayton or (937) 461-1101

Patio: This, without a doubt, is one of the best patios on Fifth Street both for the food and the drink. Trolley Stop’s patio has a wonderful historic ambiance, it’s relaxing and tucked back behind the hustle and bustle of Fifth Street. Just being on this patio for 10 minutes has got to lower blood pressure. It’s relaxing and beautiful.

Order up!: A bloody Mary and the Tex-Mex Bowl ($8.50) with rice, black beans, corn salsa, ranchero creme and the option to add shrimp, chorizo or chicken (an additional $4.50), which you should definitely do.

Wheat Penny Oven & Bar

515 Wayne Ave., Dayton or (937) 496-5268

Patio: Wheat Penny has expanded its patio footprint with the demand increasing for outdoor dining to take up several parking spaces in the front of the parking lot facing Wayne Avenue. The restaurant also features a fantastic covered patio for those who are more light sensitive but crave open air dining.

Order up!: Seared salmon with poblano-butternut cream ($26), and if it sounds good that’s because it is. I like to order it with a side of garlicky sauteed spinach, mashed cauliflower and onion rings.

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Yellow Cab Tavern

700 E. Fourth St., Dayton

(937) 424 3870

Patio: The Yellow Cab Tavern’s back parking is put to use as a giant outdoor patio. It’s expansive and offers guests and regional food trucks the ability to socially distance.

Order up!: Something from one of the food trucks and if they’re not in, something from the Pizza Bandit, which recently launched a Kickstarter campaign that will help fund the addition of a large oven, saute station, walk-in coolers and more specialty pizzas.


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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