Sunday, January 24, 2010

Who is Charlie?

Charlie's Imports is the best deli in Dayton. Let's break this down with bullets.

  • There are freezers full of drink options for you to get what you want. There is no venti option at Charie's. If you want a bigger drink, you just grab the larger can or bottle. You can even get a Yoo-Hoo, assuming your mother is okay with that.

  • Similarly, you can also get your choice of chips and other sandwich friends. Pringles, Doritos, weird cookies? They are all there.

  • The best way to order is to get your drink so that you can drink it while you decide what to order. Then order your sandwich. Finally, pick out your sandwich friends while you wait for the awesome food to arrive.

  • The sandwiches are brilliantly conceived. They utilize baked ham, Bavarian ham, Capicolla ham, steak, turkey, honey roast turkey, mesquite smoked turkey, lamb, corn beef, and roast beef. That is every color in the meat rainbow! (I'm wearing a feed bag and sitting in the pot of gold at the end of that rainbow.) This is the sandwich recipe for the Hatch: Honey roast turkey, provo-lone cheese, egg slices, tomato, lettuce with Dijon honey mustard. All of that is on a Kaiser or onion roll. You will not see that innovation at Subway. Yeah, that's right, I called out Jared AND Michael Phelps.

  • The sandwiches are executed as well as they are planned. They use good quality ingredients.

  • I don't have a favorite sandwich. There are 27 sandwiches and probably 3 different ways (more or less) to do each sandwich so therefore there are 1,486, 380 possible sandwiches to chose from. I absolutely do have a favorite soup, the Chicken Spaetzle. Actually, that is the only soup
    that I've had but it is an instant favorite with me. It should be renamed Grandma's Chicken Spaetzle.

  • As you go to the dining area, you pass by other "imports" of some food items, beer and liqueur. It is an odd collection but it adds to the charm.
    There are more groceries in the seating area and some German magazines
    that look old. It makes a great environment because it makes it . . .

  • The prices are the best in town. Many people think that the best thing about Charlie's is the prices but that is not fair to the food. They are great but it is not cheap food.
Finally, this quirky little dive has a web site,, that has everything that a prospective customer would need to place an order. Every local restaurant needs a web site that makes it a breeze for your customers to order carry-out lunches. Actually, there are a lot of things about Charlie's that other Dayton restaurants should copy.

Monday, December 28, 2009

A Buffet of Choices!

For the past several years, A Coworker and I have been trying various Indian restaurants around Dayton. The stated goal was to find the "Indian Wah-Fu". Unfortunately, that never happened. Fortunately, every meal was enjoyable.

I'm not qualified to speak about the authenticity. I have been to enough Indian restaurants to know what I liked and what was unique. Obviously, you should consider this the definitive review of Indian restaurants in Dayton. You're wrong. This is the definitive review of these restaurants' buffets. Fortunately for you, these buffets have been EXHAUSTIVELY investigated.

Amar India- (2751 Miamisburg Centerville Road) and Jeet India Restaurant (2632 Colonel Glenn Highway). For many years, when people consider Indian restaurants in Dayton, these were the restaurant that people thought of as the place to eat. They are solid restaurants. The food is always good and it has earned its reputation for quality.

Kohinoor Palace Fine Indian Cuisine (39 Springboro Pike) Kohinoor is okay. Some of the items were good and some were bad. Considering it splits the difference between Amar and Namaste, it is easy to never go back again.

Namaste India (9632 Springboro Pike) Namaste is the only restaurant on this list that does not have a buffet. It has a huge menu. You order and then they bring you the food; yet, it is not fast food (you sit there for a while actually). The food is really good and it is a great spot to grab a lunch.

Maharaja of Dayton (3464 New Germany Trebein Road). This one is mine and A Coworker's favorite. The buffet is big enough and all of the options are fantastic. The really great part about is that they have a thermos of Chai tea as a part of the buffet. Some may feel that is inconsequential in a review. SCREW YOU! Chai included in the buffet is absolutely essential for getting that 5th star.

There are plenty of Indian food restaurants in the region now. It is nice to see a whole restaurant cuisine come into town. I hope, and believe, that we have enough customers to support this cuisine. Other cuisines that I would like to order up Caribbean (especially a good Cuban restaurant), Kosher and more deli's. Most of all, I want more buffet's.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Political Endorsment

Today, I would like to offer my unsolicited endorsement for Dayton Mayor to the guy who owns Thai 9. Anyone who can make a Thai restaurant the most well known restaurant in Dayton has all of the qualities of a good mayor.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Living on history

As I was looking for their web site, I found this anonymous review of Hickory Bar-B-Que (the place on Brown St. that usually has a line at night), "I'm all for old-school, institution-type restaurants like this but I think they should deliver on some level. This Brown St. restaurant has all the trappings... the decor, ultra-guardian over-age staff, and the faux exclusivity of waiting for your table. Even at below average, I tend to give a place like this a break out of respect and/or shear sentimentality but Hickory failed to meet that mark, for me. I guess if you're a retiree that gets really excited about predictable, bland dinner club fare served in a music-less, stale environment this is your huckleberry."

I agree with what is quoted. I went to Hickory Bar-B-Que with a lot of excitement. I usually find good results when a place attracts a crowd. What worried me is that no one that I know had suggested that I try the place. The food was good but it just wasn't as great as it should be.

I don't know enough about why Hickory has stayed in business for so long to make an educated guess so I'm going to just make a guess. I think that for many years that this was the best barbecue in Dayton due to a lack of competition and experience with good barbecue. As barbecue becomes more popular and good barbecue becomes more common, I worry about Hickory's place in the local restaurant scene. I hope that they are inspired to become better.

There are other places in Dayton that seem to be living on legacy. They are places where the owners have not invested capital in the facility and spruces up the menu by adding some "light" food but not really improving the facility, the service or the menu. I think that maintaining great quality can be done over decades. Mama Disalvo's is a good example of that. The litmus test for a restaurant is not whether they can keep people coming for decades; it is whether they can keep new people coming back. That is the difference between a legend and a slow death.

By the way, the best part of Hickory Bar-B-Que is looking through the sidewalk window and seeing the food being cooked. The reason Hickory Bar-B-Que is not better is because you can see the food through the glass, their method of cooking does not produce enough smoke, especially wood smoke.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Breakfast at Abner's

You'll have to ask who Abner is because I forgot to ask. Sorry.

I forgot to ask because I was too busy eating my breakfast and people watching. The breakfast food was great. I tried the eggs, toast, biscuits & gravy, and fried potatoes. All of them were really good, cheap, and filling enough that I forgot to eat lunch (that NEVER happens).

Abner's is a classic Dayton diner. They assume that you want coffee, they sell lotto tickets and they have a back room where the food comes out of. I love it all! Abner's does have really good food. Since my bad experience at Wympe's, I had been leery of trying a diner's biscuits and gravy. I am very happy to report that Abner's biscuits and gravy were very good.

There is some good people watching at Abner's. It is on the main road of E. Dayton so it attracts a crowd with a lot of life experiences. I know this because the tatoos were a rich tapestry of . . . something. I think that my guest and I were the only people in there without tats. They were very friendly (like most Daytonians).

One of my favorite things about Abner's is that it is a great place to get away and get work done, especially if an internet connection is not needed. It is not a loud diner, the people pretty much keep to themselves and they don't mind you hanging around.

I recommend Abner's for the people watching, the office like functions but most of all, they serve a really good breakfast. (but you must pay cash for it)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Major Voltzy's Update

Voltzy has been busy. "The new restaurant is a throwback to the 1950s-era root beer stands and will feature carhop service. Picnic tables also are available for dining al fresco. In the winter, carhop service and dinner hours will phase out and diners will be able to order in a foyer at lunchtime."

I'm most intrigued about the addition of fries and onion rings to the menu. A follow-up visit is in order.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Road Trip!

. . . because even New Carlisle is a road trip.

The motto for Wot-A-Dog is "A Taste You Can't Get Anywhere Else!". Assuming that the taste is positive, should that not be the motto for every restaurant?

Wot-A-Dog is a drive-in root beer stand that . . . wait for it . . . makes its own root beer. Honestly, I thought that the root beer was okay, but sometimes you just have to give a lot of points for originality. As you can see above, Wot-A-Dog has plenty of originality.

This really is a great place to visit. There are only so many root beer stands around (including the Root Beer Stand in Dayton) and they should be prized before people think that Sonic developed the concept. People think that the benefit of the drive-in is that you don't have to get out of the car. The real beauty is that usually your car seat is more comfortable than a restaurant seat. Plus, there's a novelty to it.

The food was great at Wot-a-dog. I would highly recommend the . . . . Rebel Burger. I was going to have a hot dog that night so I didn't go for the obvious choice because this looked so interesting. The Rebel Burger is "hamburger & sausage patties w/Rebel Sauce, tomato slice, & American cheese." The Rebel Sauce seemed to be some type of Thousand Island dressing. What was especially wonderful was the hamburger patty combined with the sausage patty. Why are we so against combining beef and pig products together? There is a beautiful symmetry in combining two of the HOF meats. The sausage's spiciness was a great complement to the hamburger patty. I'm looking forward to trying this combination at other restaurants and in my own kitchen.

I did try a hot dog and a corn dog. Both were very good. I will definitely get a Foot Long Coney on my next visit. In fact, the menu is very complete. There are 8 different hot dog choices and 8 different burger choices, plus some other choices. There are also 14 different sides.

As I mentioned already, Wot-a-Dog serves its own root beer. It must be popular because you can get it in a one gallon jug so that you can pour it yourself in a frosted mug. The mugs go especially well with the root beer floats that they serve. They also have on the menu a variety of shakes, etc. but they only have vanilla or chocolate ice cream. I think that its funny that a menu will have 5 toppings listed but only two types of ice cream.

Wot-a-Dog closes down for the year on Sept. 15th. It is a great restaurant and a must-stop destination if you are driving through New Carlisle. It definitely is a "taste you can't get anywhere else."

Friday, June 12, 2009

Being Judgmental

I want to announce to the world that I would like to be a judge in the New Home Questival. 7 Dayton area chefs are doing a competition with mystery ingredients. Their creation will be judged and I think that I should be a judge. I'm a much better judge of food than our local politicians and "community leaders". I'm also better looking and that should be taken into account.

Please let me know if I am selected in the comments below.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

The Legend is Found

I have been hearing about Voltzy's for years and years. I've been dubious about its existence. I just couldn't believe that a restaurant like that could exist in the area people kept telling me about and couldn't be seen. But, the legend was true.

Voltzy's has a lot going for it. 1)The cook makes fantastic burgers. 2)It is a trailer with a wooden shed attached and some picnic tables in front. 3)The owner throws wicked barbs at the customers 4)There is no sign for the place and 5)There are no fries on the menu. Let me address these in reverse order.

5) I love fries. I like thick fries. I like thin fries. I like just about any fries. I respect that Voltzy's does not serve fries because the owner is only focusing on what he does well. That is the sign of a good entrepreneur, focusing on what you do well. Chips are on the menu but order more meat instead.

5a) The menu is dominated with burgers, Philly steak's, sausage, and ham. It's all about meat. If you're distracted with fries, then you can't put a 140 oz. burger on the menu for $33.

4) I have a soft spot for arrogant burger places so any place that is too famous to even have a sign is doing alright. It does make it hard (impossible) to find without a guide but it does bring cache . . .

3) The owner is an ass but you wouldn't want him any other way. He looks to insult every customer that comes in (except children) and even people that call orders ahead of time. What makes it fun is that its unique for the region and the guy is genuinly funny. He makes a fun visit even more memorable.

2) There is no established restaurant. The place has been there for 18 years but they don't have a building. It is a trailer and a few places to sit. I don't think that I would go there in the snow (and it may not even be open) but the outdoor eating is even more awesome when the weather is nice.

1) These are my new favorite burgers. Benjamin's was my top choice for years and now that I did a blog post about it I jinxed them and found something even better. (I hope that this trend continues!) I got a couple of hots which aren't on the menu. They're burgers, grilled onions, maybe some other stuff and some hot sauce to top it off. The burgers are a little smaller than contemporary burgers so order a little extra but they are not as small as a slyder. The meat is fantastic, fresh, and juicy.

Voltzy's is real and it is as good as the legend says. The cheeseburger is $1. The Philly Steak is $3.95. This is one of the few restaurants that I've been to where I'm looking forward to trying, and will track, everything on the menu.