I say that for three reasons.
1) There’s an incredible concentration of bars and patios within walking distance of one another.
2) The Oregon District launched Out on 5th in April with warmer weather.
3) The Oregon District is a “Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area” or DORA.
Out on 5th is a program launched by the Oregon District Business Association to open Fifth Street up for guests to shop, dine and relax in the open air.
On weekends during the spring, summer and fall. Hours are 5-10 pm Fridays; Noon-10 pm Saturdays and Noon-10 pm Sundays Fifth Street is closed to vehicle traffic between Patterson Boulevard and Wayne Avenue allowing restaurants and bars in the district the room to expand patio seating into the street, Fifth Street with public seating. This allows visitors room to spread out on a pedestrian mall, to socially distance and to enjoy even more outdoor dining.
Pro tip: Visit www.downtowndayton.org/outon5th to see more information on parking and how to plan your visit.
The DORA or “Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area” is a program that is in effect daily from noon until midnight 363 days a year except for St. Patrick’s Day and the last Saturday in October for Hauntfest.
DORA allows customers who are 21 and older to purchase alcoholic beverages in a special cup from permitted establishments and to then carry and consume their purchased beverages within the DORA boundaries. It’s a nice way throughout the year to have a drink, take a stroll and shop and talk.
Here are my favorite Oregon District patios worth seeking out with some suggestions on summer worthy appetizers and beverages to enjoy along the way.
Belle of Dayton – Van Buren Room
122 Van Buren St., Dayton
www.belleofdayton.com/vanburen or 937-250-1837
Order up!: Strawberry Fields ($12) made with Belle of Dayton Gin, CBD infused melon soda, berry syrup and lemon.
430 E. Fifth St., Dayton
http://blindbobs.com or 937-938-6405
Order up!: I mean you can order a drink, but if I was going to sip on something it would be their amazing pickle soup ($4 for a bowl, $2.50 for a cup) that’s a creamy chowder potato soup made with grated dill pickles. It’s not for everyone but I absolutely love it and if you love pickles you will too.
The Dublin Pub
300 Wayne Ave., Dayton
www.dubpub.com or 937-224-7822
Order up!: Order Lus Sugach Salad ($11.99) made with asparagus, snow peas, goat cheese, roasted pistachios and red onion served with a lemon poppy seed vinaigrette. Pair this light summer salad with a pint of Guinness Dry Irish Stout. Dublin Pub’s draft system uses 75% nitrogen and 25% carbon dioxide in the Guinness pour for which they have received the only “Perfect Pint Award” from Guinness. That’s high praise and a beer pour that you will only be able to find in Dayton without going overseas.
Franco’s Ristorante & La Taverna
824 E. Fifth St., Dayton
www.francos-italiano.com or 937-222-0204
Order up!: Grab a few appetizers and share with friends. Flatbread, calamari, antipasto, shrimp cocktail is all a perfect combo with a good glass of wine.
329 E. Fifth St., Dayton
www.lilysdayton.com or 937-723-7637
Order up!: Lily’s patio is glorious. Grab a watermelon splash made with Cruzan white rum, fresh watermelon puree, saline, lime juice and a sugar-Tajin rim ($9.50) and pair it with Caribbean Pulled Pork Nachos ($13) or vegetarian nachos ($11) and sip and savor.
336 E. Fifth St., Dayton
www.new.oregonexpressdayton.com or 937-223-9205
Order up!: Grab a pizza and a pint and head to the rooftop bar for an awesome view of downtown.
Salar Restaurant & Lounge
410 E. Fifth St., Dayton
https://salarrestaurant.com or 937-203-3999
Order up!: A fresh fruit gimlet paired with the acorn squash and shrimp ($19) featuring a baked acorn squash filled with creamy Aji de gallina topped with shrimp and arugula and a pear and goat cheese salad ($9.50).
11 Brown St., Dayton
www.thai9restaurant.com/dinner.html or 937-222-3227
Order up!: Grab a mango salad ($6.95) and some sushi for a patio win.
530 W. Fifth St., Dayton
https://trolleystopdayton.com or 937-461-1101
Order up!: Go for a classic club ($13) and one of the great drafts on tap. Simple and enjoyable, just like the Trolley Stop’s patio.
Wheat Penny Oven & Bar
515 Wayne Ave., Dayton
www.wheatpennydayton.com or 937-496-5268
Order up!: A summer rain ($10) made with Tito’s vodka, honeydew, peppercorn syrup, lime, Hellfire bitters and mint. Pair it with Margaret’s antipasto salad ($13.95) featuring mixed salad greens tossed with oven roasted pizza Indiana asparagus, roasted red peppers, artichoke hearts, sugar snap peas, green picoline olives, pepperoni, aged provolone cheese, fresh herbs, lemon zest and dressed with house white wine vinaigrette. Accompanied by fresh focaccia bread. You can add your choice of protein: Turkey thigh ($5), chicken breast ($5), shrimp ($7), salmon ($7), or mahi mahi ($7).
Dayton Eats looks at the regional food stories and restaurant news that make mouths water. Share info about your menu updates, special dinners and events, new chefs, interesting new dishes and culinary adventures. Do you know of exciting outdoor spaces, 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 [email protected] with the information and we will work to include it in future coverage.