Daytripping in Dayton

December 25th, 2010    •  by Bethia    •   5 Comments »

A strip mall is usually the last place I want to be on Christmas Eve, but I’d heard enough good things about Meadowlark to want to try it. My previous restaurant experience in Dayton was at Rue Dumaine, another independent woman-owned restaurant found in a suburban strip mall and that positive experience also encouraged me. I had a list of food places that I had been wanting to try in Dayton and so with some willing accomplices we embarked on a little food tour of Dayton.

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Meadowlark, opened in 2004, is owned by chef Elizabeth Wiley, formerly a partner of The Winds Cafe in Yellow Springs. You can see similarities in the philosophy between the two restaurants: quality ingredients, bright simple flavors, a casual atmosphere and a friendly welcome. Wiley has also worked for Rick Bayless and so I opted for the Huevos Diablos, a special on the Christmas Eve brunch menu.

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I prefer my poached eggs a little softer, and the hash browns were more gray than crispy, but the sauce was vibrant with just the right amount of heat and overall the flavors worked well. Everything else at the table looked fresh and well prepared and I would definitely return to try the lunch or dinner menu.

In January Meadowlark is due to move to a new location five miles from its current premises, so check the address before you go.

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Our next stop was Dorothy Lane Market, an independent grocery store and a Dayton institution since 1948. We visited the original of their three locations in Oakwood. Dorothy Lane reminded me of The Hills Market in Columbus, except it’s larger and all of the staff are dressed in white shirts with black bow ties. Dorothy Lane has a wide array of gourmet foods and their signature items include their trade marked Killer Brownies, Heavenly Hams and artisan breads. As well as a large bakery there is also a impressive selection of prepared foods. I did spot Hartzler’s Dairy milk and Jeni’s Ice Creams but Hills has more emphasis on local products. Unsurprisingly the store was bustling on Christmas Eve.

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The final stop on our impromptu tour was a trip to Central Perc, a European style cafe run by an English couple, Mike and Rose, who relocated to Dayton in 1996. The Cafe offers tea, coffee, soups, sandwiches, scones and a full English tea. I ordered a pot of Earl Grey tea and was excited when the teapot came out covered with a tea cosy. It’s been a long time since I saw a tea cosy.

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Central Perc is cosy and cheerful with steamed up windows and a case piled up with scones and pastries. I chose a raisin scone and was pleased to see that it was indeed an English style scone with just a touch of sweetness. The cream was a sweetened whipped cream rather than the traditional clotted cream which is extremely hard to find in the US. We lingered over our tea chatting and as we were the last customers of the day the owner gave us a bag of scones to take with us. A take home gift from our tour of Dayton.

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Meadowlark, 2094 Miamisburg Centerville Road, Dayton Ohio. 937.434.4750
Dorothy Lane Market, 2710 Far Hills Avenue, Oakwood, Ohio. 937.299.3561
Central Perc 2315 Far Hills Avenue, Oakwood, Ohio. 45419 937.299.5282

5 Comments to “Daytripping in Dayton”

  1. The first present I opened on Christmas Day is this delightful blog. Coldest December in Britain since detailed records began in 1890.

  2. Very cool! Sounds like we need to take another trip to Dayton sometime… we went a few years ago specifically to hit the 2nd Street Market and enjoyed it.


    I think we had lunch at “Cold Beer & Cheeseburgers” after driving by and spotting it. Not quite as fancy as Meadowlark. 😉


  3. As a near-Dayton resident, the Meadowlark and Central Perc are on my must visit list.

  4. Bev Allen
    January 10, 2011

    I took my mother and sister to Central Perc for high tea on Mother’s Day 2010. She loved the experience and we all enjoyed the lavish spread of finger foods and desserts. The atmosphere at Basically British (downtown Dayton) is nicer, but Central Perc is almost $10 cheaper per person for high tea! Plus the owners are very friendly and accomodating.

    I love the Meadowlark Restaurant and am glad to know they are moving. I would probably just show up at the old site without checking! Wonderful food!

  5. What a lovely posting. My son worked at Dorothy Lane Market until he left for college, it is a wonderful store. I am proud to say that I am opening a small tea room about 10 minutes from there, and I will be offering high tea’s from 2-4 Tuesday through Friday. Please look me up if you return to the area .

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