There is a dearth of food choices on Salem Ave. I will go so far as to say that there does not seem to be many local food choices in that part of Dayton. It is a desert of good food options. There may be water there but I sure as hell can't find much.
One solid choice for the past several years has been North River Coffee House, http://www.northrivercoffee.com/. This little diner-coffee shop is owned by Judge Littlejohn and has been managed by a very sweet woman who was doing a great job, according to this frequent customer.
Honestly, North River's food was never spectacular. I just really enjoyed eating there because if the food tastes better in a locally owned restaurant, it tastes even better in a locally owned restaurant in a part of town that does an awful job supporting locally owned restaurants. It does have good coffee, pie, and free wi-fi!
North River Coffee House was the 2007 CityWide Development Corporation Business of the Year. They earned it. It was bringing an entrepreneurial solution to an area that needs more businesses.
I'm frustrated because I fear that they will be on my "RIP, burger" list soon. There was a new woman today behind the counter and the service was poor, there was a slimmed down menu with 1/2 of the lunch options (the menu wasn't expansive in the first place), and I know that they have been doing poorly. They also forgot my pickle.
I just don't understand how that business is not better supported. They have NO competition except a Rally's up the street and downtown (which is almost a mile away). There is enough car traffic, residents and local businesses that they should be thriving. They have ample parking and they have a "Dayton celebrity" owner. Their poor prospects do not make me sad; they make me mad. If you want more businesses like this one, than you have to not only go there, you have to bring people to them. This is people-powered economic development, the best kind!
Don't make your business lunches at an easily found and safe chain restaurant, make it at some place memorable. I just hope that North River Coffee Coffee House survives as an option.