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Local bakery is changing the cake and donut game in a spectacularly delicious way 

If you’ve noticed Huber Heights smelling a little sweeter this past week, it’s thanks to Amy. 

Manager of the Huber Heights Donut Palace location, Amy White, has been cooking up some seriously creative treats for donut and cake lovers alike — cakes made entirely from the same indulgently decedent batter that Donut Palace uses for their donuts. 

>>7 local delish donuts to indulge in 

White has been throwing the idea for donut cakes around almost since she began managing at Donut Palace in January. After taking some private orders and doing a few weddings, the cakes were such a hit that White said she made the decision to take the reigns and go all-in on making donut cakes as of last week.

“There are no bounds to what we can do with a donut,” White said. 

>>Here’s where you can get a FREE donut on Friday for National Donut Day

The overwhelmingly positive feedback Donut Palace has received from the cakes has prompted some “really nice combinations” customers have concocted themselves. White said any donut flavor or ingredient that catches a customer’s eye can be translated into either a quarter or half-sheet sized cake in any shape, for any occasion. 

Some memorable bakes White couldn’t help but rave about were a pumpkin maple cheesecake donut cake with maple filling, cream cheese icing and topped with pecans and maple drizzle, a mocha donut cake, a peanut butter and chocolate filled donut cake with peanut butter icing and a peanut butter and jelly powdered donut cake. 

“I just play around. I’ve always been a foodie and this is just second nature,” White said. “To see my doughnut babies come to life has been everything.” 

Donut Palace has two locations — 5115 Old Troy Pike in Huber Heights and at 5264 Salem Ave. in Trotwood. While the shop is still working on fine tuning their donut cake ordering process, White said customers can still order a customized cake at either location. Cakes will then be made at the main bakery in Huber Heights. 

>>Meet the woman behind one of Dayton’s most beloved bakeries 

Not only does the Donut Palace manager showcase an impressive knack for creative baking, she requires very little time to whip up a made-to-order cake. 

“I only need about a two-day notice for a cake order. Balloons, a happy birthday card and decorations go out with every order to make your experience that much more special and unique,” White said.

Here’s where you can get a free doughnut in Dayton for National Doughnut Day

Mmmm, doughnuts. These pillowy, cakey deep-fried treats smothered in icing, glaze, sugar, sprinkles and filled with jams and custards epitomize a sweet treat.>> This ice cream-filled donut is all you need June 1 is National Doughnut Day. Locally, area bakeries and shops are offering deals you won’t want to miss to score a delicious doughnut — some for FREE. 

>> Butler County Donut Trail makes international ‘best of’ list

EVAN’S BAKERY 937-228-4151700 Troy St., Dayton

Though the beloved bakery will not be offering free doughnuts, they will be making plenty so their shelves are stocked for pastry lovers.

>> The Butler County Donut Trail has expanded, now includes 12 shops

BEAR CREEK DONUTS

937-247-5095

80 S. Main St., Miamisburg

If this is your go-to spot, make sure you stop in. The bakery will offer a baker’s dozen deal — by 12 get the 13th FREE. They’ll also be hosting a raffle to win prizes such as a coffee mug, bag of coffee, etc.

>> Two locally owned bakeries team up to win against Dayton’s doughnut wars

THE DONUT HAUS BAKERY

937-748-0380

305 W. Central Ave., Springboro

If this is your go-to spot, make sure you stop in. The bakery will offer a baker’s dozen deal -- by 12 get the 13th FREE. They’ll also be hosting a raffle to win prizes such as a coffee mug, bag of coffee, etc.

>> The new owner of the Donut Haus says he’s ready to take on chains

BILL’S DONUT SHOP

937-433-0002

268 N. Main St., Centerville

Bill’s lovers, get ready for this one. The shop is giving away one FREE key lime doughnut, no purchase necessary. They’re expecting lines for the free citrus-flavored doughnuts though, so get there early.

>> Bill’s Donut Shop named a ‘reason to love America’ by People Magazine

DUCK DONUTS

937-951-2618

1200 Brown St. Suite 115, Dayton

The folks at Duck Donuts will be giving away one FREE plain, cinnamon sugar or powdered sugar doughnut, no purchase necessary.

>> 5 things to know about Duck Donuts

STAN THE DONUT MAN

1441 Wilmington Ave., Dayton

937-293-1080

The bakery will offer a baker’s dozen deal — buy 12 get the 13th FREE.

>> Find out which donut shop Alton Brown went to while in Dayton

HOLTMAN’S DONUT SHOP

9558 Civic Centre Blvd., West Chester Township

513-755-1261

Though the beloved bakery will not be offering free doughnuts, they will be making plenty so their shelves are stocked for pastry lovers. At Fountain Square in Cincinnati, the company (which also has locations in Cincinnati and Loveland) will be handing out for free 50 dozen boxes of doughnuts from noon to 1 p.m.

>> 5 things to know about the Holtman’s Donut Shop in Butler County

TIM HORTONS

Various locations. Visit their website for locations, hours, etc.

Though not all stores in the area may run the deal, customers will receive one FREE doughnut with any purchase of a hot or iced coffee. Just mention National Doughnut Day when you order.

>> Has Tim Hortons hit the brakes on its Dayton-area expansion?

DUNKIN’ DONUTS

Various locations - visit their website for locations, hours, etc.

With the purchase of any beverage, Dunkin’ will give customers one FREE doughnut. 

>> There’s a new donut shop coming to Fairborn

What’s your favorite shop? Did we miss any deals? Let us know! Email contact@dayton.com

Flyboy’s Deli adds a new ‘twist’ to its Beavercreek restaurant and plans to add a patio this summer

One of Dayton’s best delis announced last week that it would be more than just that. 

>>Best of Dayton 2017 Winners: Food & Dining

Flyboy’s Deli located at 2729 Fairfield Commons Boulevard in Beavercreek has started serving a Korean Street Food menu, in addition to the sandwiches, wraps, soups and salads that you’ve come to know and love. 

“We have a New York style deli but with a twist. Everything about us is about aviation,” said Steve Crandall who owns Flyboy’s Deli with his wife Eunice Kim. 

>>INSIDE LOOK: Have you seen Beavercreek's newest deli yet?

The new menu is called “The Twist” and includes everything from appetizers, rice dishes, signature dishes and desserts including kimchi rice balls, rice burgers, bibim bop, brown curry and mochi ice cream

Serving authentic street food Korean style, is a way for Kim, who is Korean, to share some of her family heritage and family recipes with the rest of the community, Crandall said. 

>>GUIDE: Here’s how to eat around the world at this local strip mall

“These are dishes that are happening in Korea today, so it’s really exciting!” Crandall said.

You can order menu items from “The Twist” at any time during operating hours on Mondays through Saturdays, but only at the Beavercreek location.  

>>RELATED: 3 abrupt closings near the Dayton Mall that shocked us

“It is a bit of East meets West bringing Korean and American style food together,” said Crandall.

Here’s where the aviation part comes in: Flyboy’s has a frequent flyer card as well as an ACTUAL flight simulator and just guess where it’s headed this week?! 

>>A new juicery is coming to Dayton and its owners hope it will be first step in revitalizing neighborhood

“The flight simulator is flying into Korea and so that’s ‘the twist,’” Crandall explained. 

This isn’t the only time Flyboy’s Deli challenged our perceptions of what a deli could serve, and Crandall said, this won’t be the only stop on the deli’s flight simulator. 

Remember when its Oakwood location used to host a weekly sushi night?

The couple had owned Akashi Sushi Bar when they started Flyboy’s in January 2013. They initially thought they were going to try having them both open, but ultimately decided they were just too different, Crandall explained.

>>GUIDE: 6 awesome places to get sushi in Dayton

“Here in Beavercreek,” Crandall said, “We were able to create what we had envisioned.” 

The new Beavercreek location is almost double the size of the Oakwood deli, and they’ve created three separate spaces that can accommodate large parties, receptions or meetings. 

That’s not all they have up their sleeves, either. 

>>RELATED: Only one local restaurant makes ‘Ohio’s 14 best patios’ list

Crandall said they are planning to open a patio, and true to their aviation theme, they’re going to utilize a Quonset hut to make it look like an airfield hangar. 

“It won’t be the rooftop,” Crandall said referring to the Oakwood location’s patio that landed on a best in the state list, “but it’ll be right there next to the entrance of the mall.”

7 local delish donuts to indulge in

Who'd have thought that Dayton would be a prime location for local bakeries and donut shops? Though mass producers like Krispy Kreme and Dunkin' Donuts have rivalries that span the entire country, there's something about stopping by your neighborhood bakery to select from a large variety of still-warm donuts and other baked goods (if you have the fortitude to look past the donuts) and knowing that it came out of the fryer only hours before.

>>Here’s where you can get a FREE donut on Friday for National Donut Day 

These are the seven Dayton-area donuts that you must try and consume -- you may regret eating them all in one sitting, so space them out:

>>Meet the woman behind one of Dayton’s most beloved bakeries 

🍩1. Devil’s foodcake donut at Bill’s Donuts 

268 N Main St., Centerville (937) 433-0002 | billsdonutshop.com 

Payment options: Cash, credit cards, checks 

Bill’s really needs no introduction. Recognized as one of the top 50 donut shops in the U.S. by Saveur Magazine and one of the top 10 in the country for glazed donuts by USA Today in 2013, Bill’s is a Dayton institution even though it moved to its current Centerville location in 1979. Just recently, its devil's foodcake donut's decadence earned it a spot on the Huffington Post's "Best Donuts in America" list. 

 >>CLOSING: Pizza chain abruptly shuts down one of its Dayton-area restaurants after 6 years

Owners Jim Elam and Lisa Tucker strive to keep the same ambiance that they experienced working for their parents since the store opened in 1960, and work to be involved in the local Centerville community. Now, they’re working with a longtime customer to create a book about the history of Bill’s. If you have a fond story about your experience at Bill’s, be sure to mention it next time you stop in — it just might make the book!

🍩2. Peanut butter-filled donut at American Classic Donuts

4214 Linden Ave., Dayton  

(937) 252-5426 | Facebook

Payment: Cash and checks 

 >>New, locally owned restaurant called Rivertown Chili and Breakfast to open this week

The former “anti-Krispy Kreme” store on Linden Avenue offers a great variety of homemade donuts just off of Highway 35 and Woodman Drive, and is a well-deserved pit stop on any road trip going in and out of the city. Originally a Krispy Kreme franchise, it’s been family-owned since 1988, and offers wholesale products to several community members. You’re missing out if you don’t grab a peanut butter-filled donut or an apple fritter over a half-foot in diameter on your cheat day.

🍩3. Sour cream donut at Donut Palace

5115 Old Troy Pike, Huber Heights

(937)802-5648 | Facebook 

Payments: Cash, credit cards, checks 

 >>These cookies from a local bakery are SO good that Allison Janney gets them specially delivered to set

Since 1972, the Donut Palace combines your classic donut shop with a sit-down diner, and though they’ve moved from their Salem Avenue location, you’ll find the same great tasting donuts from longtime baker Joe Rockey at the Dayton shop on James H. McGee Boulevard. And if you grab a jelly-filled donut and omit a scoop of black walnut ice cream on the side, what are you even doing? On Mondays and Wednesdays, grab a dozen glazed donuts or twists for $6 — but for any day, we recommend the sour cream donuts or the classic but oh-so delicious raised glazed donuts.

🍩4. Reese’s Delight donut at Stan the Donut Man

1441 Wilmington Ave., Dayton 

(937) 293-1080 

Payment: Cash, credit (except for American Express), checks 

For over 50 years, Stan the Donut Man has been serving up homemade donuts on Wilmington Ave. Their Reese’s Delight donut — with a Reese’s peanut butter cup in the center — and their maple-bacon doughnuts are particularly worth the time. If you live a little outside of the city, fear not: the family-owned business also runs a storefront in Xenia, though all of their products are made in the Dayton store.

🍩5. Blueberry cake donut at Jim’s Donut Shop

122 E National Rd., Vandalia 

(937) 898-4222 |  Facebook 

Payment: Cash or Checks 

Jim’s Donut Shop is a little off the beaten path up in Vandalia, but worth the drive. Open since the 1950s, Jim’s has some of the biggest apple fritters around and their blueberry cake donuts are always huge hits. Grab a large coffee, one of those bad boys and savor it while making new friends around Jim's wrapped counter top.

🍩6. Glazed strawberry creme-filled donut at Evans Bakery

>>Best of Dayton 2017 Winners: Food & Dining 

700 Troy St., Dayton 

(937) 228-4151 | Facebook  

Payment: Cash and credit cards 

Co-owner Jennifer Evans’ family has run the neighborhood bakery since 1969, and since 2012 she and partner Matthew Tepper have continued to provide some of the longtime favorites, along with new products created in-house from scratch all the time. They even deliver to businesses in downtown Dayton! Try the butterscotch cake doughnuts or the glazed — not iced! — strawberry creme-filled donuts.

🍩7. The “cronut” at Ashley’s Pastries

21 Park Ave., Oakwood 

(937) 293-1719 | ashleyspastries.com 

Payment: Cash and checks 

For 33 years, Theresa Hammons has been providing the Oakwood community with a full-service bakery at Ashley’s, and she knows the value of a perfectly fresh donut. Every day, donuts are the last product her bakers work on ahead of the work day, so they’re light, fluffy and delicious as soon as the store opens. 

If you remember the manic “cronut” phase a few years ago when foodies around the world “discovered” the glorious merge of a donut and croissant, note that Theresa has been making them for over a dozen years in her store. Who’d have thought Dayton would be ahead of the culinary curve? That deep-fried and glazed croissant is a must-try at Ashley’s, along with the bacon-chocolate-caramel donut. 

 

Did we miss your favorite? Let us know by emailing us at contact@dayton.com. 

A new juicery is opening today in Dayton and its owners hope it will be first step in revitalizing neighborhood

UPDATE: Santa Clara Juicery has pushed back its opening date by a week. The new opening date is June 16.

>>PHOTOS: See the transformation of The Santa Clara JuiceryKnown for being trendy, healthy and tasty, raw juice bars have popped up all over the United States. 

>> New York’s famous Shake Shack coming to nearby cities

The fruit and vegetable juice market will be worth a sizable $257.17 billion by 2025, according to Grand View Research, Inc.

So it’s no surprise this trend has hit Dayton, but what may be surprising is the rest of the story behind Dayton’s newest raw juice bar, The Santa Clara Juicery.

>> Allison Janney praises Pine Club in new Bon Apetit article

Owned and operated by husband and wife Elizabeth and Dave Furst, The Santa Clara Juicery is the first step to what the duo hopes to be a revitalization of the Santa Clara neighborhood. Elizabeth grew up in the neighborhood, often helping her parents with their business, Evans Electric, after school. 

>> Ghostlight Coffee unveils new vegan breakfast sandwiches 

“Everyone pretty much pulled out except for my parents and an insurance broker at the end (of the street) who eventually had to pull out due to health issues.” said Elizabeth Furst. “This block is really only going to get redone by us.”

Santa Clara is one of Dayton’s 65 neighborhoods. Though the small district is No. 36 on a list of total population, the district ranks sixth for population density per square mile (listed at No. 6 on that list). The average annual income is approximately $21K per year, about half of the average annual income for Montgomery County at $43K.

>> A new House of Bread addition will focus on serving families with children

BIGGER GOALS

The neighborhood has faced its share of challenges from crime to low income. The business owners hope to see positive growth starting with service.

>> Pizza restaurant abruptly closes after 6 years

The Fursts hosted a clean-up day this month, which shot some adrenaline to the heart of their mission.

“We had both housing associations from the area come together for a clean-up day, and both were very excited for what is happening here.”

This type of active and engaged service is exactly what the juicery hopes to bring to the area. 

>> Roost Events restaurant to open for Fraze concerts — and it’s hiring, too

“We’d really like to become a health district. Some of the other things we’d like to see here are a gym, a bike shop, possibly a pop-up clinic or urgent care. We’ve talked about transforming a former dance studio back. People have asked us about that a lot because they have nothing like that in this area.”

The couple is also working with a grocery chain, bike engineer and others in hopes of bringing in mobile or pop-up style services to the area. A few other ideas on the wish list include a backyard patio, brewpub and creating an attraction to bring people to the area and create a new economy.

>> Dayton to be the setting of Stephen King’s newest novel 

“I’ll be meeting with the Director of Economic Development in Dayton to help determine how what we’re doing here can effect the economy in Dayton overall. In 5 to 10 years, we’re expecting to see the growth of Dayton trickle to the North — and we’re active in asking what can we do now so that when traffic starts pushing, there’s a reason to come  here.”

FOOD DESERT

Dayton ranked as one of the worst metropolitan areas in the U.S. for food hardship in 2015, according to the Food Research & Action Center. The city ranked 11th out of the 109 metropolitan statistical areas represented in Gallup data for “households who indicated they experienced food hardship.”

>> As grocers build in suburbs, food deserts grow in Dayton

>> County program brings healthy options to food deserts

A 2016 report named Dayton-area ninth in the nation for food hardship. 

In Santa Clara, nearly 60 percent of its residents are single mothers and 584 of the neighborhood’s 1,632 residents are 18 years old or younger.

>> Mobile food markets to take on Dayton’s food deserts (2016)

“This area is in a food desert. In this particular neighborhood, one-third of the families don’t have vehicles and more than one-third can’t afford to put a meal on the table more than once a day,” said Dave Furst. “In order to get food, the only way they can get food is to hitch a ride, or settle for something they can find at Dollar General. There’s nowhere to go; you can’t walk to get food.”

“The other day, a family walked behind the shop, and we’re grilling hot dogs. The family had a 2-year old and a 4-year old. We asked if they wanted something to eat. Come to find out, they’re on their way to CSL plasma to sell enough to get a bus fare so they can go sell their kid’s clothes so they can get a meal for the night. And that’s all over here. You should’ve seen these kids’ faces light up when I brought them groceries. They didn’t even know how to react to bananas.”

For residents in this neighborhood, The People’s Market sells food, but more convenience-style options and rarely stocks fresh produce. There’s also a Family Dollar nearby, offering similar edible options.

A short drive away, a new market is in the works. The Gem City Market will be built on the 300 and 400 block of Salem Ave., bringing a full-service grocery store to one of the largest food deserts in the state. It will be Dayton’s first worker and community-owned co-operative grocery store. The goal is to open by the end of 2019.

>> Grocery targets Dayton food desert: ‘We’ve got to do something about it’

COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIP

The Fursts aren’t the first to work to take action in the neighborhood.

“We know of a non-profit that’s also looking to bring a job placement/residency building at the corner of North Main and Santa Clara to help people that are emancipated from the foster care system so that they can have a job right away and a place to live.”

Children and teens aren’t the only ones suffering from lack of opportunity or resources in the area.

“We want to use this and other businesses to employ people in this area. A lot of people have criminal backgrounds and can’t get jobs. So want to be able to help give them a job.”

“We have a lot of friends who live in this area who are nurses. Now that Good Sam has shut down, Grandview has scooped up a lot of local nurses. We’ve been working with Grandview to do some cross promotion. This is a food desert, so we’re the only healthy option. We’re going to cross-promote health screenings, educational community nights. The nurses are excited, because their only coffee options are Brown St. and Wayne Ave., so we’ll be way more convenient for them,” said Elizabeth Furst.

In effort to provide more healthy options to the community, the Fursts are also working on becoming a location for food banks and harvest box pickups. The idea is to combine education, options and resources for this community, which so desperately needs it. 

>> Celebrated Cincinnati chef to open new restaurant in Warren County

“We’ve talked to the city, planners and developers, and we all agree — things can only go up.”

Currently, the Fursts are working to complete the construction and development of the interior of the shop. Elizabeth is actively working to source as many local organic fruits and vegetables as possible to use in the juice recipes. Some of the produce will be imported from the south and California. 

You can follow their Facebook page for additional details. A portion of profits from juice sales will be returned to the Santa Clara district through investment, community action and programs. 

>> PHOTOS: See inside Dayton’s newest craft brewery 

Want to go?

WHAT: The Santa Clara Juicery

WHERE: 1912 N. Main St., Dayton

INFO: FacebookWebsite

NEW DETAILS: Dayton restaurant up for sale

A Dayton restaurant that has closed may not be gone for good.

The owner of the recently closed Paradise Key Cafe location at 1060 Patterson Road in the Breitenstrater Plaza, is considering reopening it under a new concept or selling it, owner Larry Parr said. 

>> PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Dayton restaurant closes after less than 2 years

The asking price for the business is $75,000. 

“It is an option to sell, but we are still open to a new theme,” he said. 

Jennifer Lynn Jones, the restaurant’s chief executive officer, announced Thursday that the restaurant opened in December 2016 would close due to under performance. 

>> Luke Bryan to play concert at area farm

“It didn’t matter what we tried to do; we just could not get the kind of party we had at our original location,” Jones said.

>> LISTEN: Check out the What Had Happen Was podcast hosted by Amelia Robinson

The Key West-themed restaurant employed 13.

Jones said they have been offered jobs at the original Paradise Keys Cafe located at 3243 Needmore Road. 

The company began transforming the Patterson Road location into Paradise Key Cafe South from Cold Beer and Cheeseburgers  in October 2016. 

>> RELATED: New name, management changes coming to Dayton restaurant (Dec. 22, 2016) 

Parr said he hoped the location would be as successful as the Needmore restaurant, which is located near Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway

That business draws from nearby manufacturing companies. 

The Patterson Road restaurant never gained traction, said Parr, who is 71 and hopes to slow down.

“It wasn’t really performing up to our expectations,” he said. Our north store, across from the racino, it really cranks.”

>> Dayton is the setting of new Stephen King novel about ‘the mind of evil’

Dayton restaurant closes after less than 2 years 

UPDATED: We talked with the owner of Paradise Key Cafe and learned about his plans to try to sell or reopen the business under a new concept. 

>> NEW DETAILS: Dayton restaurant up for sale

A Dayton restaurant celebrated for its chicken wings has closed one of its two Dayton locations. 

Paradise Key Cafe, 1060 Patterson Road in the Breitenstrater Plaza, has closed permanently. 

>>Dayton’s newest brewery will open next week. Here’s why it’s different from the rest.

>> PHOTOS: A sneak peek inside the new Branch & Bone brewery

A Facebook post from the restaurant’s chief executive officer Jennifer Lynn Jones reads as follows: 

“Public Announcement - With a heavy heart, I am sorry to announce that Paradise in Kettering has closed its doors due to under performance. When we took over, we had hoped to bring the party to this location, but we just couldn't quite get it to where it needed to be. I will miss every one of you deeply with all the laughs and good times and I hope that you will stop in, if not become a regular at our North Store which is still open. Who knows? Maybe we all can create better and more memories together there. Thank you to every one of you for being so loyal to us through all the troubles and I hope that you all will keep us in your hearts as I will surely keep you in mine.”

>> 7 unique places to eat in the Dayton area

>> Dave Chappelle throwing another epic party in Yellow Springs this weekend

The owners of the original Paradise Key Cafe located at 3243 Needmore Road in Dayton began transforming the Patterson Road location into Paradise Key Cafe South from Cold Beer and Cheeseburgers in late 2016. 

>> RELATED: New name, management changes coming to Dayton restaurant (Dec. 22, 2016) 

A message was left for management at the Needmore Road location seeking comment. 

Paradise Key’s original location is a former winner of the Miami Valley Restaurant Association’s Kickin’ Chicken Wing Festival at the Fraze.

>> 222 things to love about Dayton 

>>  10 AMAZING festivals we just cannot wait for

The 4 best parts of the 40th annual Taste of Cincinnati — and some have nothing to do with the food

As the Taste of Cincinnati enters its 40th year, organizers work per usual to keep the event new while also retaining those popular elements that keep hungry Cincinnatians returning.

See below for what’s new at the Taste along with reassurances that your favorite parts aren’t going anywhere.

1. Music Bash

Apparently, 45 live musical acts on five stages is not enough. To ensure Taste-goers have more live music than they know what to do with, organizers are inaugurating a special, separate “Music Bash.” The lineup is The B-52s (“Love Shack”), Rick Springfield (“Jesse’s Girl”), and Loverboy (“Working for the Weekend,” “Lovin’ Every Minute of It.”) The Bash will take place on May 27 at 5 p.m. at the Sentinel Street entrance onto 5th St. Tickets are $29.99.

»»RELATED: Your next weekend trip: 20 things to do, see, eat in Cincinnati

2. New to the Taste

While food vendors at the Taste can fluctuate wildly from year to year, organizers say it’s slowed down a bit for 2018, allowing for a bit of continuity. That being said, there will be seven brand-new vendors offering their delicacies at the Taste this year. They are: Bridges (Nepalese), Dewey’s Pizza (craft pizzas, calzones, and salads), Quite Frankly (homemade beef franks and specialty sandwiches), Rovey’s Turkey (turkey burgers, sandwiches, dogs, and tacos), S.E.A. Cuisine Food Truck (Southeast Asian tacos, steak, sandwiches, rice, and salads), Sis’s on Monmouth (American comfort food), and Slice, Slice Baby (pizzas, calzones, and Italian subs).

RELATED: Your 2018 Dayton Bucket List: 50 ideas for fun

3. Best of Taste

About a month before the Taste, mystery judges visited the upcoming vendors and handed out awards for best dishes in various categories. Alfio’s Buon Cibo, an Italian eatery, did particularly well, winning first place both for Best Restaurant Dessert (chocolate raspberry tiramisu), and Best Restaurant Entrée (veal short rib ravioli). Other first-place winners include Island Frydays for their jerk chicken pasta (Best Appetizer), Tickle Pickle for their mac and cheese with crushed BBQ grippos (Best Soup-Salad Side), and the Silver Ladle for their Silver Ladle Salad (Restaurant Best GoVibrant!). GoVibrant! items are those who meet the American Heart Association’s standards for low fat, cholesterol, and sodium.

Food trucks also got into the Best of Taste action. Adena’s Beefstroll cleaned up with their Ma’s meatball sub (Food Truck Best Entrée) and The Stroll (Best Food Truck Appetizer). Other winners include Packhouse for their jalapeno mac and cheese (Best Food Truck Soup-Salad Side), streetpops for their pineapple passionfruit streetpop (Best Food Truck GoVibrant!), and SugarSnap! for their “Make It A Sundae” Brownie (Best Food Truck Dessert).

RELATED: Everything you need to know about Country Concert ‘18

4. Other Highlights

As if there wasn’t enough food, courtesy of Findlay Market, there will actually be a “Taste within the Taste.” Over 20 vendors – some from Findlay Market, others “foodpreneurs” from Findlay Kitchen, will provide the Taste of Findlay Market, a diverse grouping of “bites” that will be available all weekend.

Students from the Art of the Piano Festival, otherwise known as the classical “rock stars” of today and tomorrow, will perform on the main stage on May 26 at noon.

The Cincinnati Pops Poptet, the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra’s rhythm ensemble, will perform a series of standards and showtunes on the main stage on May 27 from 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Last but certainly not least, local media celebrities will compete in the annual soapbox GoVibrant! Veggie Races on May 25 from noon-1 p.m.

WANT TO GO?

What: Taste of Cincinnati

When: May 26-28

Where: Fifth St., downtown Cincinnati

Cost: No admission cost

More Info: www.tasteofcincinnati.com

RiverScape offers a lunch option that sounds pretty great this summer

Now through the end of September, RiverScape MetroPark is offering a break from humdrum lunches with their Music @ Lunch program featuring live acoustic music and the option to buy from the new RiverScape Café, a local food truck or a pleasant spot to enjoy whatever you packed at home.

“RiverScape MetroPark serves as a vibrant destination where our community gathers for everything from large festivals to relaxing respites. Music @ Lunch provides those who live, work, play and learn downtown a beautiful park setting where they can unwind and rejuvenate during their lunch break along the banks of the Great Miami River,” said Meredith Adamisin, RiverScape manager.

The pleasant views of the river and downtown are sure to aid in digestion with some live music as the soundtrack to your afternoon meal.

“In 2017, we saw just over 8,800 people come out for Music @ Lunch. It’s most popular June through August and we see a range of 1,000 to 2,500 per month. Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays are the most visited,” said Adamisin, who said weather plays a big factor.

The steady stream of visitors is no doubt bolstered by the featured food trucks in addition to the forecast.

Monday and Tuesday food trucks will alternate throughout the summer every other week with Wednesday, Thursday and Friday food trucks remaining the same.

RIVERSCAPE MUSIC @ LUNCH FOOD TRUCK LINEUP

  • Monday (started 5/7, running every other week): Gibbs Ole-Thyme Hamburgers
  • Monday (started 5/14, running every other week): Gyro Palace
  • Tuesday (started 5/8, running every other week): 1776 Grill
  • Tuesday (started 5/15, running every other week): EATS
  • Wednesdays: Wicked Which
  • Thursdays: El Meson
  • Fridays: Shantz Express

Any changes to the schedule due to weather, cancellation, or other issues will be updated on the RiverScape Facebook page.

“Music @ Lunch at RiverScape MetroPark is the ultimate downtown patio during lunchtime. The menu is varied: Guests can buy their lunch at RiverScape from the cafe or the day’s visiting food truck or even bring their own lunch from home or their favorite downtown restaurant. And the views are the best: RiverScape MetroPark is a clean, safe and beautiful park located right along the Great Miami River,” said Adamisin. “From Memorial Day through Labor Day weekends, you also can enjoy the large Five Rivers Fountain of Lights at the top of every hour.”

And it doesn’t just have to be for lunch — on those hot days when nothing sounds good, it’s a great spot to grab an ice cream cone from RiverScape’s snack bar.

MUSIC SCHEDULE

Music @ Lunch provides a summer lunch option that’s a taste of something different. Here’s a look at the local musicians that will be playing 11:30 a.m.to 1:30 p.m. Monday through Friday now through the end of September.

RiverScape Music @ Lunch live music lineup

May 21: Edde Osborne

May 22: Marianne Kesler

May 23: Reyna Spears

May 24: Gary Hill

May 25: No M@L — Community Action Day

May 28: No M@L — Memorial Day

May 29: Steve King

May 30: Danny Voris

May 31: Noah Back

June 1: Brenna Geyer

June 4: Gary Hill

June 5: Reyna Spears

June 6: Matt Gill

June 7: Marianne Kesler

June 8: Danny Voris

June 11: Steve King

June 12: Ron Hartwell

June 13: Danny Voris

June 14: Noah Back

June 15: Colt Douglas

June 18: Deb and Ray Johnson

June 19: Reyna Spears

June 20: Edde Osborne

June 21: Gary Hill

June 22: Marianne Kesler

June 25: Brenna Geyer

June 26: Steve King

June 27: Joe Lipinski

June 28: Noah Back

June 29: Brenna Geyer

July 2: No M@L — Set up for Lights in Flight

July 3: No M@L — Set up for Lights in Flight

July 4: No M@L — Fourth of July

July 5: Brenna Geyer

July 6: Colt Douglas

July 9: Matt Gill

July 10: Edde Osborne

July 11: Deb and Ray Johnson

July 12: Marianne Kesler

July 13: Reyna Spears

July 16: Gary Hill

July 17: Brenna Geyer

July 18: Marianne Kesler

July 19: Danny Voris

July 20: Jeremy Battman

July 23: Gary Hill

July 24: Brenna Geyer

July 25: Marianne Kesler

July 26: No M@L — Celtic Festival set up

July 27: No M@L — Celtic Festival set up

July 30: No M@L — Celtic Festival tear down

July 31: Danny Voris

Aug. 1: Kyleen Downes

Aug. 2: Noah Back

Aug. 3: Marianne Kesler

Aug. 6: Steve King

Aug. 7: Danny Voris

Aug. 8: Deb and Ray Johnson

Aug. 9: No M@L — German Festival set up

Aug. 10: No M@L — German Festival set up

Aug. 13: Reyna Spears

Aug. 14: Marianne Kesler

Aug. 15: Noah Back

Aug. 16: Mike Sedmak

Aug. 17: Colt Douglas

Aug. 20: Ron Hartwell

Aug. 21: Danny Voris

Aug. 22: Reyna Spears

Aug. 23: Matt Gill

Aug. 24: Edde Osborne

Aug. 27: Steve King

Aug. 28: Gary Hill

Aug. 29: Marianne Kesler

Aug. 30: Danny Voris

Aug. 31: Noah Back

Sept. 3: No M@L — Labor Day

Sept. 4: Danny Voris

Sept. 5: Deb and Ray Johnson

Sept. 6: Reyna Spears

Sept. 7: Marianne Kesler

Sept. 10: Mike Sedmak

Sept. 11: Noah Back

Sept. 12: Gary Hill

Sept. 13: Danny Voris

Sept. 14: No M@L — Hispanic Cultural Festival set up

Sept. 17: Steve King

Sept. 18: Marianne Kesler

Sept. 19: Edde Osborne

Sept. 20: Deb and Ray Johnson

Sept. 21: Matt Gill

Sept. 24: Gary Hill

Sept. 25: Danny Voris

Sept. 26: Reyna Spears

Sept. 27: Noah Back

Sept. 28: Marianne Kesler

OTHER RIVERSCAPE CONCERTS

Five Rivers MetroParks produces the Summer Music Series via three distinctive concert experiences. In total they provide 11 concerts that are free and open to the public. New this year, they will feature a food truck at Big Band and R&B nights.

Pickin’ in the Park: May 4, June 1, Aug. 3

R&B Hot Summer Music: June 8, July 13, Aug. 7

Big Band: June 7, June 21, July 5, July 19, Aug. 16

WANT TO GO?

What: RiverScape Music @ Lunch food truck and music series

When: 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Monday through Friday

Where: 237 E. Monument Ave., Dayton

The RiverScape Café: This new offering is open daily from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

More information: www.metroparks.org/riverscape

Your guide to the best hidden gem ice cream shops around Dayton

The weather is finally hot enough for us to enjoy a frozen treat. 

>> 10 reasons we LOVE spring in Dayton

If you’re anything like me, the family-owned dairy joints with decades of loyal patrons are always my go-to. There’s just something about those quaint shops with tried-and-true flavors and concoctions that have garnered decades of fans. Here’s a guide to treating yourself with the area’s most loved, best kept secrets in frozen treats. 

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🍦 Ducky’s Snowballs & Ice Cream 

WHERE: 100 W. Market St., Troy

WHY WE LOVE IT: Since 2015, Ducky’s has been a summertime beacon in Troy, serving up 16 flavors of Hershey’s ice cream, soft serve and snowballs (flavored shaved ice), which combine shaved ice with soft-serve ice cream. Looking for something super sweet? Try the stuffed snowball challenge (and send us photos). Oh, they also have Jim’s Donuts filled with ice cream. Yes, they sure do!

>> This ice cream filled donut is all you will ever need in life

HOURS: Mon.-Thurs. 3 to 9 p.m., Fri. 3 to 10 p.m., Sat. 2 to 10 p.m., Sun. 1 to 9 p.m.

INFO: Call 937-703-5463 | Facebook

>> Things to look forward to in Dayton as the weather warms up

>> Your 2018 Dayton bucket list: 50 ideas for fun

🍦Arrow Queen

WHERE: 431 N. Main St., New Carlisle

WHY WE LOVE IT: Tucked back on North Main Street in quaint New Carlisle, this spot has been serving ice cream, soft serve and concession-style food since 1970. From classics like banana split to zany new flavors (we’re looking at you, unicorn flavor!), there’s something for everyone. Their butcher shop hot dogs are a must try, too.

HOURS: Mon.-Fri. 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sat. 12 to 9 p.m., Sun. 1 to 9 p.m.

INFO: Call 937-845-9979 | Facebook

>> 4 awesome adult sports leagues in Dayton to join this spring and summer

🍦Dairy Shed

WHERE: 55 Bellbrook Plaza, Bellbrook

WHY WE LOVE IT:  For over 40 years, this local favorite in the heart of Bellbrook has treated sweet teeth with their tasty frozen yogurt, shakes, malts and ice cream. They announce new yogurt flavors on Facebook regularly, so keep an eye out for something you want to try. 

HOURS: Mon.-Fri. 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sat. 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sun. 1 to 9 p.m.

INFO: Call 937-848-8234 | Facebook

>> Your guide to Dayton-area food truck events this month

>> This new, hidden patio in Dayton is 20 ft off the ground and ready to party

🍦Jet Freeze

WHERE: 4014 E. Patterson Blvd., Beavercreek

WHY WE LOVE IT: A quick peek at the Facebook reviews will show you most patrons have been visiting this ice cream shop since they were a kid -- so you know it must be good. Their soft serve is an absolute must-try, with unique flavors like blueberry and classics like chocolate.

HOURS: Mon.-Sun. 12 to 9 p.m.

INFO: Call 937-848-8234 | Facebook

>> These are the best spring hikes you can take in Dayton

🍦Kone Korner Ice Cream & Deli

WHERE: 3709 St. Paris Pike, Springfield

WHY WE LOVE IT: This family-run spot has the best of both worlds: ice cream and sandwiches. From their Facebook page, you can see their cyclones, funnel cake fries and foot-long coneys are MUST tries.

HOURS: Mon.-Sun. 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

INFO: Call 937-390-2663 | Facebook

>> 12 top hiking trails near and in Dayton you’ll want to add to your to-do list

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🍦Lee Ann’s Dairy Delight

WHERE: 619 E. High St., Springfield

WHY WE LOVE IT: Serving up frozen treats and made to order food, this spot beckons for summer nights. A few Facebook reviewers noted their banana splits are out of this world — and for the price, the menu delivers big time.

HOURS: Mon.-Sat. 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

INFO: Call 937-561-4475 | Facebook

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🍦Airline Dairy Creme

WHERE: 224 N. Dixie Drive, Vandalia

WHY WE LOVE IT: Another staple in the summer, this spot has been around for ages. As one Facebook reviewer put it: “Soft pretzels and ice cream at the same place. What more do you need?’ Trust us, try the peanut butter shake.

HOURS: Mon.-Sun. 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

INFO: 937-898-3100 | Facebook

>> 7 (more) great places to get a frozen treat in Dayton

>> Classic Dayton restaurants you have to try

🍦The Dairy Station

WHERE: 704 N. Detroit St., Xenia

WHY WE LOVE IT: Conveniently located near the bike trail in Xenia, this stop has a ton of flavors and options to satisfy your taste for ice cream. There are plenty of gluten-free options including the Dole whip (which has glowing reviews online). Give their twisted soft serve cones a try, and you’ll soon see what the hype is about. 

HOURS: Mon.-Sat. 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sun. 12 to 9 p.m.

INFO: Call 937-372-1100 | Facebook

>> 8 classic Dayton-area restaurants that we miss

🍦Twist Ice Cream Company

WHERE: 7813 Bethany Rd., Liberty Township

WHY WE LOVE IT: These guys don’t skimp on variety or flavor. Reviewers noted their caramel sundae and weekly flavors never fail. We’ve been told they also make animals out of their ice cream, which has us super intrigued. Keep in mind, it’s cash only.

HOURS: Mon.-Fri. 3:30 to 9 p.m., Sat.-Sun. 12 to 9:30 p.m.

INFO: Call 513-777-7813 | Facebook

>> When is Jubie’s opening in Fairborn? (APRIL) 

Honorable mentions: Jubie’s Creamery (opening soon in Fairborn) and Sweet P’s (located at the 2nd St. Market). 

>> 8 classic Dayton-area restaurants that we miss

What’s your favorite ice cream shop? We’d love to know! Email alex.perry@coxinc.com

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