South Park, the mecca of pizza

Post updated 15 May 2024

I’ve been campaigning on the West side of Dayton a lot lately, and the concept of food desert has been setting in. I’ve tried to eat at locally owned places- Marilyn’s Grill on Gettysburg (now downtown at First and Main), Moe’s Fish and Chicken, the new Cheesesteak guy on W. Third by the old Home Avenue plant, Dragon China, Napoleon’s,  Diamond D’s Diner, Huffies BBQ. But for every one of these, there are probably an equal number of closed places. Even among the national chains, the pickings are slim. And although I understand the need for security, the thick plate glass and revolving food door, remind me I’m not in my ‘hood. That bothers me.

That businesses have to invest in roll-down door covers, security cameras and those plexi-glass walls, tells me that things aren’t the way they should be. Also note, for every place that has the carousel, there is one that doesn’t- and they can be blocks away from each other.

Compared to South Park, where my dining choices go from sushi to spaghetti and breakfasts to burgers, I have a smorgasbord all within a half mile of my house. Just for example, I’m going to list all the options for pizza.

  • Pizza Factory, 1101 Wayne Ave.- 937-224-4477 a client and one of my all-time faves. Try the Buffalo Bacon Ranch or the Reuben.
  • South Park Tavern– 1301 Wayne Ave., 937-586-9526technically- same pizza as Pizza Factory– new owners, beginning of 2017, still same pizza as Pizza factory, only you can sit and drink a craft beer.
  • Jimmie’s Ladder 11, 936 Brown St., (937) 424-1784 – pizza is just a part of their extensive menu, but some people swear by theirs.
  • Coco’s Bistro– 250 Warren St., 937-228-2626 –  artisan thin crust pizza. Not their main thing- but, an option.
  • Wheat Penny – 515 Wayne Ave., 937-496-5268 The “new place” – fancy pizza in a finer dining setting.
  • Oregon Express– 336 E. 5th St., (937) 223-9205– A bar- with good pizza
  • Salar; 410 E. 5th St. 937-203-3999, a fine dining place that has a few nice pizzas on the menu.
  • Serendipity Bistro- 25 S. St. Clair St., (937) 760-5380 – a bistro- wine bar- that also makes some artisan pizza. Closed Oct of 2014
  • Olive, an urban dive 416 E. Third St.,222.3483 – they are too cool to call it pizza- but, it’s gluten free, made with chickpeas- they call it Socca- tres good! Closed 2015, now Arepa’s and Co.
  • The Flying Pizza– 223 N. Main St., 937-222-8031 – they still sell by the slice. I used to be in love with their thick Sicilian Slices. They close early.
  • Uno’s Chicago Grill– 126 N. Main St., 937-910-8000 – a chain, with lots of kitsch on the walls. Closed Mar 2024
  • Cousin Vinny’s 2032 Wayne Ave., 937-262-7757 – the king of late-night cheap pizza for UD students.
  • Submarine House 1137 Brown St., 937-222-7939 – another local institution- either you love it or hate it.
  • Dewey’s 131 Jasper St., 937-223-0000 Gourmet pizza- with amazing service and good salads.
  • Milano’s Atlantic City Subs 1834 Brown St., 937-222-7072 my favorite is their calzones. In fact, I had a pepperoni and mushroom one tonight.
  • NY Pizzeria Restaurant 1430 E. 5th St., 222-0321 – Old school diner feel. Huge calzones. Closed July 2015
  • Cassano’s Pizza King430 Warren St937-294-5464 about to move up the street into new building. New location since Jan 2015 Jan 2019- moved again, down the street to South Park Flats. Dayton’s original pizza chain.
  • Tank’s Bar and Grill 2033 Wayne Ave 937-252-2249 Tanks closed in 2023 and was up for auction.
  • Old Scratch 812 Patterson Blvd. 937-331-5357– post-industrial chic, sit at picnic benches arranged like in a German beer hall. Wood fired, fast, napolitano style pizzas.
  • Ginonino’s 1528 E 3rd St Dayton, OH 45403 (937) 999-4470 technically a chain- out of NW Ohio, owned by the guy who started the 5th Street Brew Pub and DK Effect, opened May 21, 2019. Limited seating. Also has chicken and potato wedges. The pizza is baked in a pan- and has a buttery crust. Haven’t tried enough different ones to make recommendations yet.
  • Wizard of Za1200 Brown St Suite 150, Dayton, OH 45409 (937) 813-2156 in the old Zombie Dogz spot. Opened Nov 2022 Owned by the same guys who own Fusian and Honey Bee’s (their order site is a combo of all 3 stores- a little different). Closed May of 2024
  • Kramer’s Tavern: 1018 Irving Ave, Dayton, OH 45419 937-294-9141 A bar with pizza.
  • Est Est Est45 W 4th St, Dayton, OH 45402 (937) 535-4020 in the arcade at the corner of 4th and S. Ludlow. Fancy place, has a great cauliflower crust pizza. A bit pricey.
  • The Foundry- top of the AC Hotel 124 Madison St, Dayton, OH 45402, great views of the Ballpark from their deck. Wood fired pizza. Classy joint- good place to take a date.
  • Moeller Brew Barn – Dayton, 416 E 1st St, Dayton, OH 45402 (937) 371-5498 Big patio looking out at the Dragon’s stadium.

  • Illy’s Fire Pizza 1100 W Third St, Dayton, OH 45402 inside W. Dayton Tap and Social (937) 723-9958 wood fired. They don’t have a site- just a FB page.
  • Pizza Bandit 700 E 4th St, Dayton, OH 45402 at Yellow Cab (937) 476-1895  Pizza by the slice!
  • Marions Piazza 711 Shroyer Road Dayton OH 45419 937-293-6991 a Dayton favorite. Super thin.
  • I’d left out Franco’s Italian Ristorante- and no one had caught it. They are now closed, and Jimmy’s Italian Kitchen is open in their space: 824 East 5th Street, Dayton, Ohio 45402 (937)-999-4137 This enterprising family is cornering the market on Italian food- with multiple restaurants with different names run by different family members.

Of course- we also have delivery from Donato’s, Papa John’s and Domino’s, which are all just up the Wayne Avenue hill. Mar 2019- add in Pizza Hut on Wayne in the old Family Video.

I don’t think I’ve missed any- but, by my count- that’s 19 18 20 20 22 23 choices for fresh pizza, we may be in the center of the pizza universe in the county. If I’ve missed any- please add in comments. If you have opinions on which makes the best pizza- you can add that too.

To me, pizza diversity is the most important economic indicator of a healthy community. Sure, Oakwood might have Dorothy Lane Market- but, when it comes to pizza- I’m sorry- we’ve got you beat.

To me, success as a city commissioner would be seeing a resurgence of locally owned independent food places across the city. Neighborhood bars, pizza, restaurants- gathering places for our community. I’ve actually got a pretty good idea on how to make it happen, without spending too much in the way of tax dollars.

In the meantime, keep looking at this list- and thinking, I want to live in his neighborhood.

updated Apr 15 2024

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