When people walk into Stan the Donut Man, they often inquire if Stan is still around. Store manager Jodi Fryman says he’s not; after he ran the shop for more than two decades, he sold it to his then employee, Janet Foster—Jodi’s mom—more than 14 years ago. But Janet, Jodi, and their staff still use his original recipes to craft their from-scratch treats. All day long, they’re pulling caramel-iced cinnamon rolls, blueberry cake donuts, custard-filled donuts, and chocolate cupcakes fresh from the oven.
The bakers let everything cool before making deliveries to area eateries and stores, but at Stan the Donut Man, customers can choose from still-warm treats. Though the shops are on the small side, there’s indoor and outdoor space for people to sit and enjoy their treats, especially at the Xenia location, which has more seating. But the from-scratch donuts are popular by the dozen for customers to take back home or bring to office proms.
J. Gumbo's strives to upend the five myths of Cajun cooking by preparing expertly spiced and wholly authentic dishes that are as healthy as they are hearty. Celery, onions, and bell peppers—the "trinity" of Cajun fare—anchor several items on the menu, including the creole-style jambalaya and étouffée peppered with plump shrimp or crayfish. Creative mix-and-match options encourage diners to sample multiple morsels and test the sturdiness of their dishware by piling several signature entrees into a single bowl. Vegetarian and gluten-free dishes also populate tables within the vibrantly painted dining room. J. Gumbo's also offers catering and delivery.
Freshly cut vegetables, more than 40 toppings and sauces, and delicious handmade doughs decorate the creative menu of Dayton’s Original Pizza Factory, a sister establishment of the popular South Park Tavern. Colorful combinations perch atop the gourmet discs ($8.95 for a nine-inch, $13.95 for a 12-inch, $17.95 for a 14-inch, and $19.95 for a 16-inch). Both breadwinners and fourth-place breadlosers can come out ahead with the Reuben pizza, an open-faced sandwich of corned beef, sauerkraut, cheeses, and Thousand Island dressing, as well as in the Greek gyro pizza, a fat wedding of lamb or chicken meat, fresh tomatoes, feta, and cucumber sauce. Classicists can adorn their gullet with traditional pizzas ($7.95 for a nine-inch, $12.95 for a 12-inch, $16.95 for a 14-inch, and $18.95 for a 16-inch) including the New York cheese, its gorgeous Breadway stage set with oregano and three mezzanine levels of fromage. All pizza patrons receive the option of hand-tossed original dough or 100% whole-wheat crust.
Smashburger isn't just the name?it's the way chefs, otherwise known as Burger Smashers, cook every burger. First, they form never-frozen, 100% Certified Angus Beef into a giant meatball. Then they season it, place it on a butter-glazed grill, and smash it into a patty. The process caramelizes the beef, locking in flavor while keeping the meat juicy and tender. Each slab is then sandwiched in an artisan bun and is turned into one of an array of standard burgers or locally inspired specialties unique to each market.
This handcrafting approach typifies everything else the restaurant does, from blending handspun shakes to hand painting Smashburger's logo onto every beverage cup. Letting its food stand for itself and relying mostly on word of mouth for advertising, the Smashburger franchise expanded from one restaurant in 2007 to 220 today, with its swift growth from zero to 100 stores making it one of the nation's fastest-growing restaurant companies. This rapid development even caught the attention of Forbes and Inc. along the way.
Shish Wraps opened in 2012 on the University of Dayton campus, but its true origins lie the childhood home of its founders. The two brothers, first generation Lebanese-Americans, grew up eating their mother's delicious Mediterranean cooking. When they left home to attend the University of Dayton, they couldn't find anything on campus that came close. They missed the cooking so much that they decided to bring it to campus in the form of a new restaurant, Shish Wraps.
They menu's brevity shouldn't be confused for lack of options: wraps and plates can be customized with a range of toppings, and can also be made vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free. Tabouli, hummus, and falafel fill pita wraps alongside chicken shawarma and gyro meat. Sides include everything from stuffed grape leaves to signature shish fries, sprinkled with olive oil, feta cheese, and parsley.