Dining spotlight: Kettering Grill and Cafe is priced right

I tend to be cautious when it comes to restaurants with extensive menus.

I also tend to be cautious when it comes to locations open extensive hours morning, noon and night.

I especially tend to be cautious when it comes to restaurants that do both.

The Kettering Grill and Cafe, which opened late last year in a building on Wilmington Pike that previously was home to the Bar-B-Q Hut, boasts the menu and the hours with the lofty addition of food delivery within a three-mile radius from 11 a.m. to close.

The restaurant, which is open seven days a week, serves up a lunch and dinner menu with over 115 diverse menu items including salads, sandwiches, burgers, pastas, steaks, seafood, pizzas, calzone and Stromboli. They even have liver and onions. The breakfast menu casts another wide net in variety of dishes and more than 35 additional options.

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It’s a good sign then that the parking lot has been packed when visiting, and it’s not hard to see why co-owners John Bektas and Ali (Bruno) Bas are building up a loyal following — convenience and value with a variety of home-cooked options.

The restaurant, which seats around 80, is open and fairly basic. It’s an uncomplicated setting that provides balance to the intrepid menu brimming with choices.

Many of the items that were delivered from the kitchen seemed to have been made from scratch, including the delicious homemade soups. The majority of dishes are priced under $10.

The “Porky Pork Chops” ($11.25) billed as the restaurant’s specialty and “the most tender and flavorful pork chops on the planet” may not have been nearly as tender as they were billed, but they arrived nicely grilled and flavorful, smothered in gravy with a mound of sautéed onions and mushrooms. We upgraded our side to the mac and cheese, which did not disappoint. Baked in a bowl with a crust of cheese on top, this calorie-packed savory white cheddar delight is the kind of dish your doctor warns you to stay away from but your taste buds crave.

There are a dozen hearty salads ranging in price from $6.99 to $9.50 that seemed to be quite a value.

The “Avo-cop-o salad” ($8.25) came with a large grilled chicken breast, a smattering of bacon, a generous amount of avocado, hard boiled egg, tomatoes, black olives and crumbled blue cheese. The menu description is crisp mixed greens, which translated in this case to a ho-hum pile of iceberg lettuce. Like most of the menu items we encountered, it was generously portioned and priced right.

No dish on the menu that I sampled seemed to lack butter and oil, including the house dressing for the salad — a butter garlic lemon vinaigrette that seemed a counter-intuitive option to polish off a healthier meal choice. If you decide to go that route, mixing it with ranch will soften it up quite a bit.

More than a dozen burgers priced from $6.25 to $8.50 are offered, including a delicious Hollywood burger ($7.99) topped with grilled pineapple, avocado, onion straws and cheddar cheese and a mac burger ($7.50) topped with that delicious mac and cheese. Skip the lackluster fries and go with a homemade soup or side instead.

Other highlights include the Salmon Bianco ($13.25), topped with crab meat and sautéed spinach, finished with a Cajun cream sauce, served with broccoli and a side salad.

The stuffed steak pizza ($16.99 for the medium, $24.99 for the large) packed with chopped steak and a blend of four cheeses is large enough to feed the entire family.

The restaurant has a modest wine list and four beers on draft as well as a small selection of bottled beer for those looking for a drink with dinner. Most beer is priced $3.50 to $3.75 and wine is priced from $5 to $6 a glass.

Although I never made it out for breakfast, there seems to be a nice variety of choices on the menu ranging from French toast to fresh-made omelets. The Kettering special seems like quite the deal for $7.99, offering three eggs cooked to order, served with two hot cakes or two pieces of French toast with either three bacon strips or three sausage links, served with home fries or grits and toast or a biscuit.

For those looking for a good value when dining out, the Kettering Grill and Cafe seems to fit the bill.

Dayton Eats looks at the regional food stories and restaurant news that make mouths water. Share your 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 atalexis.e.larsen@hotmail.com with the information and we will work to include it in future coverage.

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