A decade-old foodie stop, most recently located inside the Dayton Mall, is bringing its popular brown sugar lemonade to downtown Dayton.
Agnes All Natural Grill closed its Dayton Mall food court location, which opened in 2018, last week. In July, owner Jose Estremera said he signed a five-year lease on the Wympee building, located at 416 E 3rd St. in downtown Dayton across from The Barrel House.
The restaurant first opened in the 111 building in August 2011 where 1Eleven Flavor House now stands.
A soft opening will take place Tuesday, Sept. 7. The restaurant is also in the process of obtaining its liquor license (though not in time for the soft opening) in addition to building an outdoor dining area at the rear of the building that will seat 20.
Official hours have not yet been set, however, Estremera said the restaurant will open on Tuesday at 11 a.m.
Nearby residents and passersby might be able to look forward to aromas of Caribbean food cooking, as Estremera said the grilling will be done out in the back of the restaurant.
Agnes All Natural Grill is named after Estremera’s late mother, Agnes. The establishment specializes in Caribbean cuisine, a reflection of his mother’s Trinidadian roots.
Estremera was born in Puerto Rico, then moved to Brooklyn, N.Y., where he grew up. He eventually came to Dayton and graduated from Central State University with an engineering degree. He received his master’s from Wright State University.
His love for cooking was passed down from his mother, who owned a successful catering operation in New York. Agnes would cook for A-list celebrities and film crews that would come to New York to film movies over the course of several months.
“Everybody used to come to our house,” Estremera said. “Bruce Willis — all the actors... She passed away in 2006, and me and my brother said, ‘Well, you know, let’s keep (her) name going and open up.’”
Once the restaurant is open and secures its liquor license, Estremera said Agnes will team up with The Barrel House and carry a selection of beers from the tap house. In turn, according to Estremera, The Barrel House will put Agnes’ menus out, so customers are able to order directly from the bar.
There are also plans for The Barrel House and Agnes to coordinate block parties with food trucks, DJs and more on a weekly basis.
Estremera now resides in Beavercreek, though for six or seven years, he lived in The Cannery apartments just down the street from where his restaurant now stands.
“I’m excited about this area growing,” Estremera said. “It’s looking like a city now.”
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