- Young’s Jersey Dairy Last time I stopped in Dayton, I was there for less than 24 hours but I made it a point to drive out to Young’s Jersey Dairy for a cup of ice cream because it is that good! But don’t take my word for it, there are almost 12,000 5 star reviews on Facebook alone! This stop has it all; ice cream, petting zoo, mini golf (called Udders & Putters!), batting cages and corn mazes. Most well known for their homemade ice cream, Young’s Jersey Dairy mixes their 15% butterfat ice cream mix right on the property that houses their cows which you can watch get milked every day at the barn next door. If you’ve got a heartier appetite you can stop here for lunch or dinner and try out their equally as famous cheese curds also made in house.
- Zombie Dogz Gourmet Hot Dogs I never thought the words “gourmet” & “hot dogs” would be partnered together but that is exactly what Zombie Dogz has been serving up. Imagine hot dogs topped with a combination of wild ingredients like beer cheese, chili, pulled pork, or even sausage gravy, fried egg and bacon. They have a store and a food truck so there’s no excuse not to get your hot dog on.
- Esther Price Chocolates: You can find Esther Price Chocolates signature gold boxes with red bows nationwide, but these chocolates are a Dayton, Ohio staple. The namesake company started more than 90 years ago after Esther Price learned how to make fudge in a home economics course in 7th grade. A personal favorite of mine? Chocolate covered potato chips (Made with another local commodity Mike Sells Potato Chips)
- Wheat Penny I was lucky enough to have my brother come visit me for New Years when I was at WPAFB and we went to Wheat Penny for a New Years Eve dinner and it was phenomenal. Think of this as an upscale pizzeria. The dough is made in house and the pizzas are “California style” and can be topped with premium toppings like housemade sausages and fresh cheeses. After being baked in a 700 degree oven they top the pizzas with fresh herbs and a drizzle of olive oil, and the crust ends up being airy and slightly chewy with the perfect amount of char. They also offer roasted potatoes as a side dish which my brother and I polished off within seconds of the plate hitting the table.
- Joe’s Pizzeria So I had no idea “Dayton-Style” Pizza was a thing, until Joe’s Pizzeria was recommended to me. Although there is a war between several pizzerias who claim to be the first to invent Dayton style pizza, all can agree that this thin crust pizza cut into tiny squares is delicious. Joe’s Pizzeria is a no frills place that has been making their homemade dough based pizzas since the 1950s. Although I went to this place expecting to bring home leftovers, it was too good to stop. While I didn’t get a chance to try out the other infamous pizza shops in town, I’ve heard good things about Cassano’s, Marion’s Piazza, Oregon Express, El Greco’s Pizza Villa
Skyline Chili: This is a fast food chain based out of Cincinnati. When I was here for a training course I had a local in my class who dragged us to Skyline Chili for one of our lunches saying our experience in Dayton Ohio would be incomplete without a stop here. I’ve never been a huge fan of chili so I begrudgingly dragged my feet and went along with the group. Now stop what you’re thinking, this isn’t your classic spicy, hearty chili filled to the brim with beans and vegetables. This is Cincinnati style Chili which is a meat sauce served over a bed of spaghetti piled high with a mountain of shredded chili cheese. One bite of this dish and I knew my doubts about coming here were unfounded. This chili is unlike anything I have ever eaten, and this is due to a blend between cocoa (yes I said cocoa), tomatoes and a proprietary spice blend which gives this dish its unique flavor. As a bonus the chili is served with oyster crackers and they finish a meal with York Peppermint Patties.