Dayton chefs prepare for big meal, food year
Isiah Davis, owner of The Cookieologist, was working to take over his hometown freshly baked cookie market when he was added to our list.
Cookieologist had a big year in 2022. Kettering with Chicken Head’s (wing and tenderloin chef) opened at 1122 E. Dorothy Lane at ghost kitchen, added special focaccia bread pizzas to its menu, and announced plans to open another ghost kitchen location. With Slide Thru (a food truck that offers sliders) in Englewood.
Ghost kitchens allow restaurants to use an existing kitchen space—sometimes shared with another business—to operate on a home delivery and delivery-only basis, without the expenses that come with a formal brick-and-mortar operation.
Davis has plans to maintain that momentum.
“This year will be the beginning of our nationwide expansion with our dairy alternatives, focaccia pizza and gourmet cookies,” Davis said.
Chief James Burton
A pizza connoisseur would have a hard time finding pies more assertive or original than those created by Pizza Bandit head chef James Burton. For this reason, it has been added to our chefs’ watch list.
“One of my favorite things to do at Pizza Bandit is to be creative,” Burton said. “I constantly challenge myself by making fun, new and delicious pizzas for everyone each week. Usually two or more each week.”
Burton, Pizza Bandit’s 700 E. Fourth St. in Dayton. He said he was close to opening a real-world location at the Yellow Cab Tavern at The Pizza Bandit currently works at a food truck on the property.
“I really can’t tell you how excited I am to get into that field and start working,” Burton said. “With the new equipment and space, there will be many new opportunities for menu expansion and product quantity.” .
As Burton continues to fly pies from his food truck, his own craft soda business, Rock, Paper, Soda Co., which started operations in 2021. continues to work on it. Burton said they began testing trials on the new syrups in January. He said they would be ready to start production and distribution once they found a few recipes.
Chef Zackary Weiner and Chef Brendon Miller
Chef Zackary Weiner and Executive Chef Brendon Miller, the culinary leadership team behind Jollity in Dayton’s Fire Block’s District, have been added to our list for making the restaurant’s menu a hot item.
The duo is proud to collaborate with friends and peers to arrange dinners at each other’s restaurants. They said they plan to continue their collaboration through guest chef meals and guest bartenders.
“We want to make this year a very collaborative one,” Weiner said. “We want to continue to grow our community in the industry and learn from and trust each other.”
Last year, Jollity, located at 127 E. Third Street, hosted several lunch pop-ups for the Koji Burger, a special project tested and developed at one of the Miami Valley Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Weeks. The owners are working to open a brick and mortar incorporating this concept.
Before we make the final decisions (like everyone else), our eyes and ears are on the economy in 2023. In a perfect world, we would open brick and mortar by summer,” Weiner said.
Chef Maria Walusis
Maria Walusis, Executive Chef and Owner of Watermark and Backwater Voodoo, along with her husband Eric, have overcome the challenges presented by COVID-19 and the economy over the past two years.
“Many of our restaurant friends have had to close over the past two years, and all of us who are still standing have had to contend with rising costs, staff shortages, a struggling economy, as well as an increasingly infuriated public that just ‘wants something’ to be normal,” he said. “There have been ups and downs, and we have implemented strategies designed to help us endure, so making the New Year’s has seemed like a more significant achievement than it has been in past years, perhaps.”
He said they were able to make significant improvements to their outdoor patio area last year and continue to expand their warm weather business. Watermark is located at 20 S. First Street in Miamisburg and Backwater Voodoo is located at 103 S. Second Street in Miamisburg.
The couple looks forward to continuing to grow their business and expand special events. Walusis said they plan to represent the Dayton area at the annual “Hukilau” Tiki Cocktail conference in Ft. Lauderdale this June.
Chef Dane Shipp
Dane Shipp’s reputation for creating delicious Dayton food has been growing steadily since 2017 and is nowhere near a standstill.
The former executive chef at Lock 27 now runs special dinners, treats and pop-up events. He recently completed a joint dinner with Chef Jorge Guzman at Sueño and held several pop-up events at Tender Mercy.
“I plan to be a better chef in 2023 and just work on my craft so I can give people a great experience when they eat my food,” Shipp said.
It has been added to our list because it is planned to open its own place in a market. Shipp said these plans are still under construction.
Chef Elizabeth (Liz) Valenti
Chef Elizabeth (Liz) Valenti, co-owner of Wheat Penny Oven and Bar and Meadowlark, is excited to continue to upgrade their restaurant.
“I think all these lessons we’ve learned during COVID and the strength we’ve developed as a team between Meadowlark and Wheat Penny are an incredible foundation for us to start 2023,” said Valenti.
He explained that they were working on a recipe test and bringing the idea of wine dishes to life at Wheat Penny, located at 515 Wayne Avenue.
Looking back to 2022, Valenti said he was truly proud of himself and the other chefs in the community who came together under “Dayton Chefs United” to create a seven-course dinner experience for a Miami Valley restaurant professional. long-term physical health problems, necessary financial assistance. Valenti said he is excited to make this an annual event.
Meadowlark is located at 5531 Far Hills Street.
Chief Gerald Richardson
Chef Gerald Richardson started Rich Taste Catering with his wife and business partner Clarece Richardson in 2015, and the business has continued to gain momentum.
“The thing I’m most proud to have accomplished in 2022 was hiring a few talented people who gave me the opportunity to document my recipes and tap into new skills and challenging dishes demanded by new customers,” Richardson said.
He said he looks forward to hiring a new executive chef in 2023 and meeting the demand for big event catering in Dayton.
Richardson added that he is excited that the Rich Taste team is turning to more non-traditional catering opportunities with RFFG, its foodservice solutions division, as well as providing cooking classes for adults and children.
Chef Erica Roby
Erica Roby of Dayton became a chef to watch after receiving the title of “Master of ‘Cue” when she won the second season of “BBQ Crawl” on Food Network in August 2021.
After the finale and as the reigning ‘Cue Master, Roby shot a digital series for the Food Network at his home in Yellow Springs. The show had ended, but Roby was busy filming his own YouTube series “Blue Smoke Blaire’s BBQ”.
Roby competed at the Memphis in May World Championships Barbecue Cooking Contest in Memphis, Tennessee, in 2022. He competed under the team name Blue Smoke Blaire. Roby said he scored a perfect brisket and tied for first place, but tossed a coin to place him in fourth place overall in the competition. He finished fourth out of 104 teams for ribs, one of the three overall categories of the pork championship. He also appeared in the Food Network’s “BBQ USA” finale.
Roby described 2022 as a frenzy for herself. “I’ve been on the road, on TV, and on the barbecue rink that has brought back championships across the country,” he said.
Roby said she’s moved to a farm outside of Houston and plans to open a barbecue school.