Soak up summer in the Dayton region with these al fresco dining adventures

A proper summer demands a few proper picnics.

Finding a spot to gobble up gourmet goodies and soak up the sun is a simple pleasure that will elevate any day to new heights.

Lunch on a lazy weekend afternoon accompanied by a nice carryout meal at a local green space is a delight. Today is the day to make a plan to unplug and savor the moment and enjoy some beautiful al fresco dining.

June 18 is International Picnic Day, a day to enjoy some leisurely outdoor dining. Here are some of my favorite spots to grab something to go and a local spot nearby filled with fresh air and nature’s beauty to enjoy it at.

Canal Street Arcade and Deli

Canal Street Arcade and Deli downtown near the Dayton Dragons Stadium has some of the best sandwiches in town in a casual setting for a great price. And the sandwiches aren’t just for those who enjoy animal protein, there are some nice options for those looking to appeal to a vegetarian diet.

The Champ made with grilled roast beef, corned beef, baby Swiss, horseradish cheddar, sauteed red onion, banana peppers and thousand island dressing on toasted white bread is a favorite.

The Hari Curry made with a grilled black bean burger with roasted tomato, red onion, red pepper, goat cheese and curry powder pressed on a garlic Tandoori Naan bread is also a winner. My personal favorite is the Summer Jam ($10.50) made with turkey, roasted red pepper, red onion, pesto, tomato, Asiago cheese served on toasted Focaccia bread.

Location: 308 E. 1st St., Dayton

More info: or 937-220-9333

Take it to: Riverscape MetroPark

Charlie’s Deli and Catering

Sandwiches, soups, salads and a little taste of Germany … this Old North Dayton location is a favorite of mine. It features all of the deli sides you’d expect as well as items like hot German potato salad and cabbage rolls. Sandwiches range from standard to off-the-beaten path and are all affordably priced.

They have one of the best Reuben sandwiches in town made with horseradish mustard for an extra kick. Be sure to ask for your bread toasted twice so it’s good and crisp and have them heat the sandwich up just a little bit to make sure it’s as ooey and gooey as you like it. While you are there, browse the different import and craft beers and build your own six pack.

Location: 429 Troy St., Dayton

More info: or 937-224-3767

Take it to: The Sculpture Path in front of the Dayton Art Institute - there’s a great bench near the lion statue facing downtown, so grab a seat and enjoy the view

Covered Wagon Farm Market

This is a wonderful local market that you can shop before or after you grab lunch at their small cafe. They have everything from a full service deli to seasonal plants to a complete bakery and then there’s the impressive selection of homemade fudge and ice cream. There’s a variety of dry goods and spices and Amish cheese and butter and cinnamon rolls that don’t quit.

The restaurant area has homemade soups, sandwiches on impressive pretzel buns and salads which can be eaten in or can be taken to go.

Location: 607 N. Main St., Englewood

More info: or 937-832-0807

Take it to: Englewood MetroPark

Current Cuisine

The gourmet deli at Current Cuisine in Yellow Springs is just a short walk away from Glen Helen Nature Preserve or short drive to John Bryan State Park and serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. The wonderful salads and side dishes can be paired with large overstuffed sandwiches made with fresh baked bread or specialty dishes. It’s vegetarian friendly with different flavored hummus selections that can be paired with veggies.

This is a destination that is as fresh as they come and offers almost anything you could think you would need for a delicious meal in the park.

Location: 237 Xenia Ave. #A, Yellow Springs

More info: or 937-767-8291

Take it to: Glen Helen Nature Preserve

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

DiSalvo’s Deli & Italian Store

Italian salads, subs, soups and sides are all “cuciniamo dal cuore” (made from the heart with love) at DiSalvo’s Deli. The Chicken and veal parmigiano subs, prosciutto sub and meatball grinder are wonderful or get creative and build your own. Antipasto salad, marinated artichoke salad or the Mediterranean salad are just a few of the options that await you in the deli case.

Wine, desserts, olive oil, breads, pasta and sauces are also available to peruse for potential pantry purchases.

Location: 1383 E. Stroop Road, Kettering

More info: or 937-298-5053

Take it to: Indian Riffle Park and consider bringing a frisbee for a little game of disc golf to walk off some of the calories.

The Hamburger Wagon

This icon of Dayton hamburgers has been serving up it’s signature crispy flattened burgers since 1913. It’s a simple recipe — crispy burger, salt, pepper, pickle and onion, and it’s perfect. They have two mottos: “No stinkin’ cheese or sloppy sauce” and “step back in time for that taste you’ll crave in the future.” It’s as accurate as it comes and you’ve never seen a smaller menu when dining out.

Get a single for $1.75 or a double for $3.25. Two menu choices with optional chips and a drink. That’s it. Simple as it comes.

Location: 12 E. Central Ave., Miamisburg

More info: or 937-847-2442

Take it to: Miamisburg’s new fantastic Riverfront Park

Jerardi’s Little Store

This is a very small place that begs to have the food taken out to nature’s table. It has all the usual deli items as well as some very healthy, flavorful options like the Mid East Turkey sandwich ($10) made with turkey and cheddar on wheat with hummus, roasted red peppers, Dijon, lettuce and onion.

They have a wonderful selection of olives, salads and Mediterranean inspired dishes if you are looking to go heart healthy. And with an impressive selection of wines and staff that can make recommendations there’s lots more here besides carry-out to like.

Location: 7325 Peters Pike, Dayton

More info: or 937-890-8858

Take it to: Art Van Atta Park

K’s Hamburger Shop

Breakfast is served all day long at this classic stop that invokes a nostalgic feeling from the time you lay eyes on the neon. This spot has been serving customers fresh made to order food for over 80 years. They are known for their burgers, fries, milkshakes, malts and that breakfast they never press pause on.

The burger is still made with the original family recipe and the beef is ground up right in the restaurant and cooked on an old fashioned wet grill. If you want to take a time warp this is definitely a spot that will deliver.

Location: 117 E. Main St., Troy

More info: or 937-339-3902

Take it to: Treasure Island Park

Krispy Krunchy Chicken

Krispy Krunchy Chicken ( is one of the fastest growing convenience store based quick service restaurant concepts in the country. When I want to be bad this is one of my favorite spots to delight in. The meaty pieces of legs, thighs, wings and breasts are ensconced in a crispy golden exterior that more than earns its moniker.

The Cajun season infused in the breading adds some heat, kick and welcome flavor. There are delicious sides like Mac-n-cheese, but keep your eye on the crunchy chicken prize with a honey butter biscuit thrown in for good measure.

Location: The Town and Country Shell Station, 3960 Far Hills Ave., Kettering

More info: or 937-999-4272

Take it to: Hills & Dales MetroPark

Lovely’s Farm Market

Now is the time to head to Springboro’s Lovely’s Farm Market & Country Cafe. Shop for fresh fruits and vegetables and grab some of the home cooked food to go — including delicious Amish fried chicken and a variety of sandwiches. Considering they have fresh pie for dessert, this stop is a winner.

Location: 330 E. Central Ave., Springboro

More info: or 937-748-3616

Take it to: Hit the trails at E. Milo Beck Park

Main Street Deli

Don’t let the fact that this deli is inside of a Marketplace Express Marathon station food you — it has sandwiches that are worth your time and then some. This restaurant has thick stuffed sandwiches, fantastic salads and no shortage of baked goods to tempt you.

They are known for their “Panther Paw” sandwich made with smoked ham, turkey, crispy bacon, Swiss, lettuce, tomato and mayo on a butter croissant.

Location: 2 Remick Blvd., Springboro

More info: or 937-748-3800

Take it to: Crain’s Run Nature Park

Mike and Rosy’s Deli

Since 1977, the motto at Mike and Rosy’s has been “Put a Deli in your Belly.” The Springfield destination has a full menu of made-to-order sandwiches heaped with meat, cheese, vegetables and condiments that are steamed instead of toasted. The gadget that gives each sandwich the signature steam bath is a Lincoln Food Service Fresh-O-Matic steamer that uses distilled water that is shot onto a hot plate.

The meat heats up, the cheese melts and the bread softens. It’s a preparation that they’ve been doing for more than four decades bringing all the ingredients together in a gooey symphony of savory flavors. No matter what deli sandwich you choose, you can’t go wrong.

Location: 330 W. McCreight Ave., Springfield

More info: or 937-390-3511

Take it to: Veterans Park

Credit: Ron Alvey

Credit: Ron Alvey

The Rootbeer Stande

My number one spot is so old school you’re going to feel like you took a time warp. The Rootbeer Stande on Woodman isn’t the only place to get a root beer float in town, but I would argue it’s without question the best. Drive up and wait for a waitress come out to take your order, and prepare to quench that thirst. There’s a large menu packed with enough fried food to leave you with a tummy ache for days, so go light, but you should definitely get something, right? The menu is typical drive-in fare — burgers, dogs, a long list of sandwiches, but the “deep fried goodies” menu is where the treasure lies after you’ve ordered that incredible root beer float.

The Rootbeer Stande sells their root beer by the gallon and half-gallon so you could make it at home, but part of the experience is having it there. If nothing else, mark your calendar for National Root Beer Float Day on August 6 and plan on a celebration. Go on, you’ve earned it.

Location: 31727 Woodman Drive, Dayton

More info:, 937-640-1114

Take it to: Don’t you dare — this is a stop that must be enjoyed in place

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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