For 2011- living better in Dayton

A few things I’d like to see everyone try in 2011.

Eat out at independent restaurants more. Why go to Friday’s or Applebee’s when you can go get the exact same thing anywhere in the country? Need some suggestions? And- don’t just stick to food you know- experiment a bit- for starters:

Linh’s on Airway. They have Vietnamese and Chinese- ignore the Chinese and try anything on the menu- it’s all good. Dinner for two is around $24- they don’t serve alcohol- but, will let you bring in some Vietnamese beer if you must. The soft spring rolls are like nothing else I’ve ever had.

Chicago Gyros on Wilmington- nothing fancy- just the fattest Gyro you’ve ever had- for $4.50. The fries are good too- a large will feed two. Why wait for the Greek Festival- you can get your gyro fix anytime- but they close at 8.

Twenty years ago if you told me I’d be eating raw fish, I’d have told you that you’re crazy. Now I can’t get enough of it. Favorites are Sushi Cafe 725 and Byers Road- and Sushi Hana by Yankee and Lyons. C.J. Chan’s on Wilmington also has a few nice rolls- esp. the Las Vegas. Sushi doesn’t come cheap- but, then again- do you really want to eat cheap raw anything?

Our pubs- The Dublin Pub, Tank’s, Slyder’s Tavern, Jimmy’s Cornerstone, Blind Bob’s and The South Park Tavern are just a few- we’ve got some great bar food- and it’s reasonable. Why give your hard-earned money for some food that was prepared 8 states away and came to a boil in a bag pouch?

Fancy schmancy- you’ve got Coco’s and Sidebar, The Pine Club, Meadowlark, Rue Dumaine and that’s just for starters. You can eat at Flemming’s in 10 States- you can only eat at the others here in Dayton. Ohio. You’ll also get more for your money.

That’s food- then comes things to do:

See a movie at the Neon. Without this small independent movie house- we wouldn’t have a place for local film makers to strut their stuff. It’s cheaper than the big megaplexes- and the popcorn is 10x better. Plus- Jonathan picks the best of the movies you might not see otherwise- and, you can even drink a beer.

The Human Race Theater Company– The honchos still hate me for waging a war on smoking on stage just before the statewide vote on banning smoking- but, it’s amazing locally produced theater. I’ve seen so many amazing shows there. The Loft is a great little black box theater- and there isn’t a bad seat in the house. The secret- the final dress rehearsal before opening night is “pay what you can” or bring canned food donations. You can see it first – and help a good cause.

DCDC- the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company– sells out anywhere else in the world- plays to half full theaters here. You’re missing out. Warning- the company is schizophrenic- with two distinct personalities in every show. I generally love half of one- and am bored by the other. Hint: I like the let loose, rhythmic funky dance- If I wanted to see ballet like modern dance- I’d go to the ballet.

Gilly’s: Uh, if you like jazz- you’ve already been- if not- go there. Jerry has been putting on big name acts for – well, ever.

Canal Street Tavern: If you like indy, next big thing acts- Mick Montgomery has been putting on big name acts for- well ever too.

The bikeway– if you have a bike- ride it. If you don’t- get one. There isn’t a better way to get exercise and have fun in this city. Hopefully 2011 will be the year BCycle gets its start in Dayton- until then- go get a bike and ride.

The Art Institute– I’ve been to art museums all over the world- this is still one of my favorites. It’s like having an awesome house- with awesome art. It’s been free- but that may not last. Go now.

Yellow Springs/Clifton Gorge, John Bryant State Park– it’s 20 minutes away- but it’s like, well- another country – another time- an alternate universe. You can even ride your bike out there- or rent one there. If you’re lucky- you can run into Dave Chappelle outside a certain coffee shop- if you’re unlucky- you can do the same. And- yes- the Little Art is also a great little indy movie theater- and- The Winds is an independent restaurant worth trying.

Get a library card- and use the Dayton Public Library. You don’t need netflix or movie rentals- you don’t need to buy books- you ask- they get. My parents swear by the online reservation system. The librarians are cool.

Go ice skating at Riverscape in the winter- play in the kids’ fountain in the summer. If you can’t ice skate- and you see me there- I’ll help teach you.

Go to the Air Force Museum at least once a year. People come from all over the world to see it. It’s in your back yard and free. You’ll learn something with every visit- and face it- planes are cool.

And- on making Dayton a better place….

Volunteer to do something for a non-profit, organize a community garden, set up after-school activities for your neighborhood kids- be it pick up hoops- or even a board game night at a local church. We need to spend more face time and less screen time.

Make sure you know your neighbors– every one on your block. Organize a block party- close the street- cookout- dance a bit- do the hokey pokey. If you don’t know your neighbors- you really don’t live here- you’re fooling yourself. Trust me- and Kathy and Rodney and Christa, and Susan and Bryan and Francis and Bridgett and John and Kathy and Marilyn and Doyle and Steve and Nina and Aaron and Maureen and Isabelle and Phyllis and Tim and Tom and Kathleen….

Listen to WYSO, WDPS, WDPR, WDAO on the radio- read the Dayton City Paper and the Oakwood Register and support their advertisers- and if you are a local business- consider advertising in the non-corporate, local media. They may not be exactly what we want- but, the others are definitely not what we want.

And last but not least- go out and get “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill (.89 as an ebook) and do an attitude adjustment about ourselves, our city and our future. Start visualizing what kind of community we want. Believe it and it will happen- even if we don’t quite get there – it’s time to have a vision of something other than a fire sale, rear guard, desperate community- that the Dayton Daily does such a good job of feeding us…. well, daily. Better yet- stop your subscription- and tell your friends to stop as well. Until they start thinking of themselves as a real newspaper instead of a coupon delivery service- it’s not worth your time or money.

And- feel free to add to this list- in the comments- share what you love about Dayton- and let’s keep this party going.

Best wishes for 2011. It’s going to be the year we take our city back.

note: sorry I didn’t build links to everything mentioned- it’s late. And- if you’ve done all of these things- say so in comments- or, share how long it will take you this year to complete all of these….

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed! If you wish to support this blog and independent journalism in Dayton, consider donating. All of the effort that goes into writing posts and creating videos comes directly out of my pocket, so any amount helps!