Over the holidays I went back to the place I grew up to visit my family. It was the first time I visited since moving to Austin.
To be clear, I did not grow up in the city of Dayton. I grew up in a suburb just north of downtown Dayton called Vandalia. Vandalia is a nice place to raise a family. As far as gluten-free options, or local options it is not too great. Most restaurants in Vandalia are big chains like Red Robin, and Ruby Tuesday’s, places I could eat at any time any where. So I decided to visit some more local places around the Dayton area so I could tell you all about them. But there is one Vandalia place in the mix. And honestly any more I don’t go to Vandalia that much. My parents both moved away from Vandalia when I was in college and I have some people to visit there, but not many.
So even before I went to Dayton I had planned to make a few visits at local places known for their gluten-free options. I texted my dad and said we had to go out to eat for the blog of course. He found it funny, but went along with it. He has been my biggest supporter in this venture since the beginning. Anyways to get on with the meat and potatoes of this article here are some of the places I visited, or know to be great options in the Dayton area.
Fusian is a Dayton-based made-to-order sushi bar. Since moving to Austin I have not found anything like Fusian, so I was so excited to get back. Although Fusian got their start in Dayton they have since expanded into other Ohio cities including Columbus, and Cincinnati.
The branding and feel of Fusian is pretty modern and simplistic in a good way. There is very little decor, but that does not take away from the experience at Fusian. To be fair most people take their meals to-go so spending loads of money on decorating storefronts would not make sense. The restaurants do have some seating, but often not a lot.
As far as experiences with the staff I have always been happy. The staff are knowledgeable and ask questions when need be. They have never made me feel like a burden when I order a gluten-free roll. They really make the company one I want to support.
A good chunk of Fusian’s menu is gluten-free. They also have everything labeled as you go down the line to make it easier for us gluten-free folk to see and decide what we want on our sushi roll. And like I mentioned before they are all very knowledgeable which is awesome and not always the case.
The food is made on the line like a chipotle. You start at the beginning and tell them immediately that you want your roll gluten-free. They have sushi mats that are set aside and wrapped for allergen free rolls. The employee should also wash their hands and change their gloves. Usually they are pretty good about doing that on their own. If they do not, just ask they will do it without hesitation. The employee that changed gloves will then follow your roll down the line. They will then cut the roll by hand on a specified cutting board. This causes the pieces to be different sizes, but putting it in the sushi cutter would contaminate your roll. It is a little inconvenience compared to being exposed to gluten. They do have gluten-free soy sauce by request and some of their house made sauces are gluten-free as well.
I love Fusian because the food tastes great, but you can be creative as well. They always have a few options rotating seasonally to fill your roll, but also have the staples you are used to in a sushi roll. I used to eat at Fusian maybe too much after I found it in Columbus. I appreciate them because of how seriously they take their allergy protocol. I have never had a gluten-exposure from eating their sushi. And they are the one place I can get decently priced crab, and this girl loves her some crab meat.
If you want a more casual or fast meal in the Dayton area this is a great option for sure.
Pies and Pints
Pies and Pints is a small chain mostly in the Midwest at this point. As you might guess they specialize in pizza and adult beverages. My dad, sister, and step-mom frequent the Dayton location regularly and enjoy it. The few times I have been there I have had good experiences as well.
So I have only ever visited the one location in Dayton, Ohio. It is a part of the outdoor shopping mall called The Greene in Beavercreek. The layout of the restaurant is pretty different. It definitely feels like they probably had little control over the blueprint. Some of the spaces are pretty tight and close to other tables. Otherwise it is nice. It always seems clean and like they are good at turning over tables once guests leave. A big pet peeve of mine is seeing tables not get bussed in a timely manner at a restaurant. I have never worked in a restaurant and know I should give the staff grace during busy times. Despite that it just gives off not great vibes.
When I visited over Christmas we sat in the back room. It had a handful of booths and a couple of tables. The only thing I can think of as far as the decor was the big bright Pies and Pints illuminated sign on the wall in front of me.
Again I feel very privileged to have been able to experience a lot of great gluten-free food on this journey of mine. The food was good, but not great in my opinion. None of it was too spectacular. Most of it I felt like I could have made just as good or better at home.
This visit I had a few of my dad’s chicken wings and the Mushroom Garlic Pizza on a gluten-free crust. I will stop right now and say I did not personally ask about the procedures for gluten-free pizzas. I imagine they are probably made in the same area as others. My family goes there all the time and continue to go. For me that is a good enough reason to trust it, but I understand if that would induce too much anxiety. And if that is the case then just skip this one and check out the next place!
My favorite part of the food was that the crust was thicker than many other gluten-free crusts. I was never a big fan of thin-crust pizza when I ate gluten and now it is pretty much the standard. The crust itself was pretty good, but I still think Harvest in Columbus has the best gluten-free crust I’ve ever had.
My thought is that if you are at the mall and need a bite this is a good option. But I personally do not think I would every really seek out a Pies and Pints to eat if other options were available.
As far as I know Sinfully Gluten-Free was the first 100% gluten-free restaurant in the Dayton area. And if not it was the first one on my families radar. It is located in Washington Township which is south of downtown Dayton. Although it may be a bit out of the way to visit it is worth it. Even if just for the peace of mind knowing it is all gluten-free.
Most of the business done at Sinfully Gluten-Free is take away. You can definitely tell this by the looks of their location. They have a display case of all their baked goods available that day as soon as you walk in. To the left they have a meager seating area. It has about two tables if I remember correctly. They also have some toys for children to keep themselves occupied while you wait for your food.
Since we started going to Sinfully Gluten-Free years ago they have expanded their menu. Our go to is always pizza, but we have tried some of the other options as well. My sister likes the cheese bread. Between all of us we have probably tried all of the pastries they offer too. No shame. When I find a trustworthy gluten-free place I want to invest in them.
The food is good, but I definitely prefer the baked goods. For me I think a lot of it is the nostalgia. Gluten-free cooking and baking has come a long way, but even when I first went gluten-free options were not always that great. The owners and employees definitely put their heart into the products they sell and it shows in the quality.
They also do special order baked goods and cakes. When I graduated high school we had two cakes, one gluten-filled and one gluten-free. The gluten-free cake was from Sinfully Gluten-Free.
During holidays they also do pies, but you have to call and get your order in early because they limit how many pies they will make. The pecan pie is delicious and my favorite. But I personally don’t like pumpkin anything so that is part of it.
I could go on and on about this place. The main point is it is worth it. Check it out to get some good food and fun baked goods.
Table 33 is a farm-to-table restaurant in the heart of Dayton. To be honest that in and of itself is very cool. Farm-to-table is not a big trend in Dayton currently, but maybe will become more prevalent in the future. Most days they only serve breakfast and brunch, but on the weekend they serve dinner as well.
During my trip I visited Table 33 for the first time. Going in I didn’t know what to expect. It was a fun place to visit. They had decorations that were fun, but not tacky. We sat near the back where they have a full bar. The staff were nice and knowledgeable. My only complaint was that we were sat close to the emergency exit and it was rather cold. I definitely have acclimated to the nicer temperatures that come with living farther south. Thankfully, and weirdly it was not actually super cold when I visited.
Many of the options on Table 33’s menu are already gluten-free. And everything is labeled on the regular menu. I do not know the story behind that. Most smaller restaurants with large gf menus often have family or friends that need to be gluten-free and therefore have more inclusive menus. But whatever the reason, they had so many delicious sounding gluten-free products that I had great trouble deciding.
In the end both my dad and I got the gluten-free chicken and waffles for our meal. We also each got a sweet dessert. My dad had an almond lemon bar and I had a Cranberry Orange Muffin.
The food came out and it was a huge portion. My dad and I could have probably shared, but I was all about the leftovers a couple days later when I needed a quick bite. This was the first waffle I had eaten in years. Most places you cannot get a Celiac-safe waffle due to waffle irons being so difficult to clean. All their waffles are gluten-free so that is not something to worry about. It was really good. Light and fluffy, but still a bit different than I remember gluten-full waffles to be. I think they were maybe a bit less sweet. I can’t really say because it has been so long. The chicken was great. You could really tell the quality of the chicken used was so high and higher quality food just tastes better. The sriracha syrup that came with the meal was not my favorite. I ended up asking the waiter for normal maple syrup and I liked that better.
The sweets were very good too. I definitely liked my muffin better than my dad’s almond bar, but was glad he was nice enough to share with me.
I definitely will be back to Table 33 next time I am in Dayton and maybe every time after that. My dad should be worried that I like it so much… We had a great experience dining here and if you take a chance to visit I hope you enjoy it as well!
The only Vandalia business here is not even a restaurant. Well I guess you could consider them a cafe. Warehouse 4 is a local coffee shop that also now sells breakfast and lunch sandwiches and salads. It has been really fun to see this business grow over the years.
They opened just a year before I went off to college. Before that Vandalia did not have any coffee places other than a Tim Hortons. But I think the coolest thing is that finally a business was able to work in that location. Throughout my childhood multiple businesses started and unfortunately failed in the building this coffee house now resides in. My favorite was when it was a candy shop. Since opening Warehouse 4 has done many things right to grow their business and really become a part of Vandalia.
The building itself is a bit weird. Most of the parking is in the back other than a few handicapped spots. Going through the back doors you have to immediately go up a set of stairs to the main floor. Once you get up the stairs you are in one of the sitting areas. They have multiple different types of chairs and tables with varying amounts of seats. And local artwork! I don’t know how often they rotate the work, but since I don’t get back there very often, I always get to see new work. They’ve showcased painters, photographers, and more on their walls.
If you continue you will get to the coffee bar. If you have arrived before lunchtime you will see the kitchen and the kitchen staff right behind the coffee bar. At the coffee bar they have a nice espresso machine and display of pastries. There is also another seating area tucked in the front. There is less seating here making it a bit nicer if you want some quiet while you work.
Food and Drink
The coffee here is great. They do not roast it themselves, and I cannot quite remember whose beans they do use. I believe it is a company local to Dayton. But the thing about coffee is you can have a well roasted coffee bean and still mess it up. Their baristas are well trained and provide great quality in their work.
Oh and they do pourovers. I don’t know what it is about Austin, but nobody here does pourovers. I don’t even get hot coffee that often, but it makes me upset that people don’t offer pourovers in their coffeeshops. I know the coffee snob in me just came out in those previous sentences. I am sorry.
I have tried a few of their drinks from the menu and have always been happy with what I have been served. My go to is probably a soy mocha. I don’t often get espresso based coffees, but like to treat myself every now and again. Their cold-brew is also delicious.
Lastly they do have some gluten-free baked goods. I believe they make them in house. Again after so many years of being gluten-free I am not always the best at asking questions and blindly trusting certain establishments. I have always had good experiences with their gluten-free baked goods. My favorite being their gluten-free mini banana loaf. Of course if you get to visit before I get to again and want to ask the questions by all means do. I would love to know the answers so I can better advise you all.
So if you are north of Dayton and want to know where I come from. That might be a little weird unless we have actually met. But go check out Warehouse 4. The high school I graduated from is right across the street.
Places I have not visited but hope to soon
Prosperity Farms Bakery
Recently I got invited to like a Facebook page by a family friend. Turns out it is her new gluten-free bakery. Currently it looks like she is just baking out of her house and making items by order. This is probably a better option for locals that may need some baked goods for events. I wanted to put it in here and get the word out. Hopefully next time I get home I will be able to snag a few of her treats and give you more info.
Rolling Mills Brewing Company
Rolling Mills Brewing Company is a 100% gluten-free brewery in Middletown, Ohio. Middletown is pretty far south from downtown. Unfortunately, this may not be a great option if you need to stay close to downtown. But from what I learned from the website is one of the owners has Celiac Disease himself and wanted to brew great gluten-free beer. Personally I am not a fan of the gluten-free beers I have tried. That is part of the reason I have not visited. But it does interest me, so hopefully one day I’ll be able to tell you more.
Those are some of the notable places I have eaten safely, or hope to try in the coming years. I hope this is helpful. Let me know if you have any questions in the comments!