Summer Restaurant Week: Meadowlark’s tribute to Ann Heller features much-loved frites and more

Dayton Daily News food writer Ann Heller, who passed away in April, is the inspiration for Meadowlark Restaurant's Summer Restaurant Week menu. CONTRIBUTED

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

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Dayton Daily News food writer Ann Heller, who passed away in April, is the inspiration for Meadowlark Restaurant's Summer Restaurant Week menu. CONTRIBUTED

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

Meadowlark Restaurant is honoring a Dayton legend as part of Summer Restaurant Week 2022.

Meadowlark’s special menu pays tribute to Ann Heller, who passed away in April. Heller was longtime Dayton Daily News and Journal Herald food editor and restaurant critic and the author of two cookbooks.

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Amy Zahora with Chef Wiley of Meadowlark,  Chef Liz of Wheat Penny, and Chef Dave of Meadowlark and Wheat Penny (Source: Amy Zahora)

Amy Zahora with Chef Wiley of Meadowlark,  Chef Liz of Wheat Penny, and Chef Dave of Meadowlark and Wheat Penny (Source: Amy Zahora)

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Amy Zahora with Chef Wiley of Meadowlark,  Chef Liz of Wheat Penny, and Chef Dave of Meadowlark and Wheat Penny (Source: Amy Zahora)

Summer Restaurant Week, sponsored by the Miami Valley Restaurant Association, started Sunday and runs through July 31 with 27 participating restaurants. A dollar from each meal sold will be split between For the Love of Children and the MVRA Education Foundation.

ExploreAnn Heller, former Dayton Daily News food editor and critic, has died

Meadowlark’s four-course promotion begins tonight and runs through Saturday. The special menu is the vision of owner and chef Elizabeth Wiley, who knew Heller and respected the important role Heller played in helping document the local restaurant scene from 1975 to 2006. The menu is an homage to Heller with dishes inspired by some of the late food writer’s favorites.

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Elizabeth Wiley, founder of Meadowlark and Wheat Penny restaurants. File photo/submitted

Elizabeth Wiley, founder of Meadowlark and Wheat Penny restaurants. File photo/submitted

Combined ShapeCaption
Elizabeth Wiley, founder of Meadowlark and Wheat Penny restaurants. File photo/submitted

Heller wrote glowingly in the past about the restaurant’s garlic frites. She also liked the dressing on the chicken salad, so for the amuse-bouche diners will enjoy garlic frites with a curry-peach mayo jam on the side for dipping.

Explore5 of Ann Heller’s favorite recipes

The menu

The first course is a battle of two of Ann’s favorite soups:

  • Black bean
  • Creamy summer gazpacho.

The main course has a choice of four wonderful options:

  • Lemon-roasted chicken thighs with jasmine rice and Ann’s summer squash salad with olives and feta cheese
  • Braised pork butt with roasted garlic potatoes and smokin’ chipotle slaw
  • A grilled shrimp skewer with avocado-corn salsa and cheese grits
  • Red chile broken enchiladas with melty vegan or dairy cheese and fried corn and mushrooms.

Dessert offers the choice of three of Ann’s favorites:

  • A strawberry cobbler with butter cookie crust
  • A fresh plum tart with crème anglaise, dried plum gastrique and whipped cream
  • A brown butter-bourbon pound cake with Ann’s cherry almond sauce.

Special featured Restaurant Week Cocktails are an Ann Heller-inspired tomato margarita and a mojito that she loved inspired by El Meson’s classic recipe.

The four-course $40 meal is one that I know Ann would be absolutely tickled by. In the capable hands of Wiley, who Ann dearly admired and is without question one of the best chefs in Dayton, I know this will be the menu of menus not to be missed.

ExploreDAYTON EATS: Ann Heller remembered for legacy chronicling local restaurants and food

If Ann were still here I know she’d be planning a full week of dining out to relish in restaurants putting their best foot forward. Even in retirement she never stopped cheering them on and supporting them.

ExploreDayton Summer Restaurant Week: Where to find deals on meals

I can’t wait to toast her and I know legions of her fans probably do as well. See you at Meadowlark!

How to go

What: Meadowlark Restaurant Presents a Tribute to Ann Heller

When: 4 p.m. Tuesday, July 26-Saturday, July 30

Where: 5531 Far Hills Ave., Washington Twp.

More info: www.meadowlarkrestaurant.com or (937) 434-4750

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