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Urban Nights May 2011- my ramble through a thriving downtown Dayton

First regret- I didn’t make it over to W. Third street this time- last year it was the happening place.

We started out meeting a bunch of friends at Taqueria Mixteca [1]– the best hole in the wall Mexican food in town. Good news is that they are planning on expanding and adding a liquor license- which hopefully also means adding bathrooms that you can access from INSIDE the restaurant. Everyone in our party of 12 was using either their groupon or livingsocial discounts- which got you $14 worth of food for $7. Trust me- for two people to eat $14 here is work.

The Sideshow [2] continues to showcase local art, music and hipness- this time taking over the Dayton Yellow Cab building and turning it into a gallery, beer garden, concert pavilion. What? You didn’t know Dayton had a Yellow Cab company- don’t be alone, Dayton isn’t like NYC where cabs are highly visible- although I did notice one driving last night after stopping in. Saw a few bands- including friend Nick Kizirnis [3] with his latest band the “Fair Shakes” which had a whole lot of shakin goin’ on- plus a future musical superstar hitting the stage in his debut. Sorry I don’t have the names or ages- but, the son of one of the bands’ guitar players (under 8 years old)- came up and did two songs- one, Suicide Hill, a seasonal ditty about a local sledding attraction and “Irish Delinquent” – his monicker- the kid, sportin’ a half-sized guitar and a braided ponytail did vocals on the tunes he wrote with his dad. The audience ate it up- isn’t this how Michael Jackson got his start.

Earlier I heard “The Al Holbrook Band” [4] which had a kind of funkified sound that matches a large portion of my music collection. I’ll have to catch them out again.

This was version 6 of the Sideshow- and it continues on tonight. The bands start at 6 pm, at 6:45 a bunch of my friends will be punking out as “Lurchbox [5]“- bring earplugs, not because they’re bad- but because “loud and proud” would describe their preference for playing. Turn it up to 11 dudes.

Art wise- I’m someone who likes to look at art- but only likes a few things and know what I like right away. Photographers are a dime a dozen these days- but the work of Shawn Combs (I’m sure he’s no relation to any rapper) spoke to me. I liked every one of his images- take a look.

The Yellow Cab company is back behind garden station at 700 E. Fourth Street.

The coffee bar Press on E. Fifth street was filled to the brim with the hipster crew and the body heat and hot air was turning the place into an oven- which was ok, since they had a spread of baked goods that had that oven-baked freshness and OMG taste. I tried one (1) cookie that was like an oreo made of carrot cake with icing in the middle. Unbelievable.

Fifth Street was overrun with people, fire jugglers, bands and the restaurants and bars were all on waits. Why it can’t be like that every Friday night is something we need to work on. The galleries were open- and  Austin from Derailed was giving free haircuts on the street- as long as you wanted a Mohawk and he had plenty of takers.

Down at Fifth and Jefferson, the former Chin’s has new signs announcing the Asian restaurant [6] that was promised- years ago (2009) they had a band playing with a huge projector beaming a silent art film from the Transportation Center Garage over onto the Convention Center. I liked it. A natural fit- unlike the attempt to do it on E. Fifth Street long ago-  on the wall of the building next to Boulevard Haus.

The activated spaces [7] weren’t that activated- but, give them an “A” for effort. A martini bar is promised in the former porn shop at E. Third and St. Clair- coming in summer. We’ll see. Down on Courthouse Square a band was playing cover tunes and had the people dancing. I saw about 4 of the “yellow bikes” parked there- one with a hanging chain- and when I came back by closer to 10 they were gone. I’ll write about them separately. [8]

Olive, an Urban Dive [9] has the kitchen in- but is now scheduled to open in June. A slight delay – four weeks, because the city redid the sidewalk out front and ripped out the gas line- making an assumption that the building was toast. You have to wonder how many other buildings the city has self terminated a valuable and essential service from without any warning to the property owner?

Passing one of our favorite dining options- which usually closes at 7pm- the White Lotus (aka Yummy Burger) on E. Third street was packed close to 9:30 with every seat in the place packed. Considering it’s a one person operation I know someone is going to be exhausted today.

The Cannery Art and Design gallery was winding down as I strolled in- as a last stop before heading back to Sideshow. Ran into the Mayor – who was doing his part of getting out and supporting the arts. He had scootered down with his daughter- and was having a blast.

I’m not one to make head count estimates on an event this size- other than to say- it was refreshing to see so many people engaged and enjoying things downtown. We can have a fun and vibrant downtown- all it takes is a desire to make it happen. Sure, you can go stroll around the Greene- in it’s disney land impersonation of a Downtown- but, it’s a fantasy land.

When people lament about what’s missing downtown and why they don’t go down there- they are missing something- the only thing missing is you. If you come- it will be alive again. Let’s turn First Friday into an urban nights for at least 6 times a year- and then every Friday from May to September- then start adding Saturday nights too.

You can start by heading to the Sideshow tonight.

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Hey David, that display @ former Chins was FilmDayton Fest promo – the projection and $mucis were so cool you must have missed our banner on the front gate and over the farage walkway on Jefferson!

When Dayton Ruled

Has anyone checked to see if Taqueria employs illegal aliens and if so should eat there?  I am not knocking the food I have been there and it is great.  My guess is most of the money they make is not only being sent out of the city it is being sent south of the border and out of the country.  If that is the case going to corporate owned restaurants is better choice for Dayton because their profits are at least only being sent to another state or states.  David should investigate and make sure they are not worse than corporate thieves.  Who is funding the asian restaurant that was promised a year ago?  It sounds like another classic City of Dayton tax payer funded business welfare project.

Mark Duddridge

The way the city has dealt w/ the pipe issue @ Olive is outrageous. Now, I realize I’ve only gotten the story from Olive’s p.o.v, (I follow them on Twitter & FB), but still… to make such a mistake and then take so long to rectify the matter is ludicrous. Makes you wonder if they want businesses downtown and an economic recovery for the city.

@When Dayton Ruled – if you have suspicions about a company’s possible hiring of illegal aliens, notify the appropriate authority, (I assume USCIS has some kind of “tip line”), and/or make a personal boycott of the business.

@David Esrati – IQ is not an accurate measure of intelligence, in general and talk removing citizens because they support a party whose political interests differ from your own is ludicrous and totalitarian rhetoric.

When Dayton Ruled

I agree the people at Taqueria are great.  I am not suggesting they be deported at all, just that we make sure the money stays local.  I feel legal or illegal immigrants would only be an improvement to most Dayton neighborhoods.  If I was going to deport people I would start with people living in west Dayton as that group as a whole has been a perpetual net some loss to the entire city, county, and state.  The west siders are certainly are not big fans of Latin immigrants as their generally very strong work ethic and willingness to take any job makes the west siders look like, well, lazy racist democrats.

Mark Duddridge

@David Esrati – Ah… sorry for that!

Jeff Dziwulski

I was leery about the Yellow Cab space for the Circus but after going there I changed my mind and could see this as a great way to activate that urban renewal no-mans-land east of Wayne.  Sort of an interesting area back there, with the old factories closer to the tracks, and the two old church steeples acting as accents in the urban landscape in their space behind the cab building.  

This could be pretty cool.

I did make use of those yellow bikes.  Rode one from CH Square to 3rd & Wayne before walking down Wayne to Press and the Circus, then back from 5th to CH Square, before talking the bus back home to Washington Township.  Hopefully they will be around a bit so I can use them later.   These bikes are sort of an incentive for me to get one of my own….maybe for my birthday in June?

But until then, I’ll ride them if they are available.

As for Urban Nights, it would be nice if they could expand this to maybe 4 times a year rather than two.  This is a pretty neat event since they program stuff around downtown and nearby, activating much of that central area vs just one block or two.


Great optimism David!


Dear When Dayton Ruled – You can eat a big bag of dicks. You want to deport “start with people living in West Dayton?” I live on the West Side – and one of the biggest problem I see is these hipster c*nts and white trash from Beavercreek, Kettering and Oakwood coming in to try and find people to buy drugs from. Next problem I see is “downtown,” the City Prosecutor (who can’t make the simplest case), the Mayor & City Council (who accomplish nothing – and taxpayers are supposed to pay for it), etc. et al. You get the idea. Personally, someone caring enough about me to make kick-ass Mexican food and having a great establishment in Dayton might be enough for me to overlook their immigration status (if that IS a real issue – or you’re just itching to goosestep through downtown). At least SOMEONE here really cares about something… And if you’re not satisfied the money is staying in the area – how about kicking in for some of the local people who WANT to do business in Dayton? And have you SEEN some of the trash out of East Dayton? They’re not even trying to hide it! That said, I do believe the City of Dayton has gone out of its way to make itself inhospitable to business. I’ve been trying for several years to get something going – but I only intend to pay enough $$ to open a business and get it up & running – not $$ to waste on ridiculous amounts of building upgrades, over-valued rents, endless inspections & re-inspections, delays in getting approvals for doing even the least amount of work, and then not being able to open because I’m being shaken down by some  inbred – er, sorry… I mean someone who got their city job through nepotism … it’s ridiculous, and one need only look at Olive’s story to see it in action. Honestly, I really don’t understand how any business can even stay opened in this town! It’s crazy! When I opened my theater in Hollywood – it… Read more »


Personally, someone caring enough about me to make kick-ass Mexican food and having a great establishment in Dayton might be enough for me to overlook their immigration status (if that IS a real issue – or you’re just itching to goosestep through downtown). At least SOMEONE here really cares about something… And if you’re not satisfied the money is staying in the area – how about kicking in for some of the local people who WANT to do business in Dayton? A freakin-men, Thomas. I can’t get any Malaysian or Ethiopian in this town, and the best Indian I’ve found is utterly inaccessible to me until I bite the inevitable bullet and waste my hard-earned money on a car; if I lost my one good source for Mexican I’d be displeased. Historically, interesting and vibrant cities have generally had diverse and significant immigrant populations. Also, many of these migrants’ presence has not been explicitly blessed and authorized by the larger state. Even in normal times, this doesn’t trouble me much; restrictive immigration laws are pretty unjust and counterproductive and don’t really deserve our respect. But in cities like Dayton, they’re particularly vile and distinctly counterproductive. The reality is that there are 7 billion or so people in the world, about 300 million of which are legally authorized to live in the US. It turns out that amongst those 300 million people lucky enough (and let’s face, it’s dumb luck, we did nothing to “deserve” our citizenship status, especially the native-born) to be US citizens or permanent residents, very few interested in being residents of the city of Dayton–not enough to fill our housing stock, pay taxes, and so on. Fair enough; that’s their choice. But why should we be forced to simply accept the emptying out of our city, when the world is full of people who’d love to join us here, if our government didn’t hire lots of people with large guns and ICE prisons to prevent them from joining us? That a few of them manage to join us in spite of these obstacles, and make delicious food for us, is to be celebrated. Good for them! I wish the rest of them… Read more »

Civil Servants Are People, Too

Great to hear about positive energy at urban nights.  It’s a fun event.
Just wondering if the situation at Olive may be the result of the city’s contractor making a mistake?     Did anyone even ask who actually did the work before blaming the government?
Doubt it.

When Dayton Ruled

Tom, odd that you would mention eating “dicks” as the democrat party loving west side and liberals are the biggest supporters of that activity.  The biggest problem we have in your neighborhood is the black trash scumbags who tolerate drug dealers on their streets knowing they are destroying the lives of not only their own people but bringing down decent white people with them.  What great citizens wouldn’t support drug dealing on the streets of their neighborhoods, thanks obama voters.   

My guess is the Taqueria people do have illegals working there and I would just like to clarify if David supports businesses that hire illegals.  How can the city ever achieve its great dream of residents earning a fair living wage when businesses like Taqueria are not in compliance.  Are you not a believer in comprehensive immigration reform?  Cracking down on businesses that hire illegals is part of it just FYI.

There is no doubt however that if we could hypothetically replace the west siders with latin immigrants our city would probably be back on track overnight.  Maybe Dayton could start an exchange program where we give citizenship to a south of the border friend for each functionally illiterate never had a job obamacrat to permanently leave the country.  But, that would be the end of the democrat party base in this area and what fun would that be.     


Hey When Dayton Ruled – it isn’t odd that I mention a bag of dicks at all. It seems to be obvious that it is your “thing.” So, again, why don’t you eat one? I don’t know where YOU are, but in my neighborhood NO ONE tolerates drug dealers on our streets. Certainly not in the way I have seen in neighborhoods in East Dayton — and I know because I have BEEN there (while I doubt you have been over to the West Side much other than to buy your own smack for personal use and to look for black hookers to do blow off of at your “conservative” mixer). And I certainly don’t buy the “bringing down decent white people” bullshyte. In our numerous conversations with individual police officers while attempting to have any drug dealers we find arrested, we have found there are drug dealers on the streets of EVERY area of this city and the surrounding ones. Of all colors, shapes & sizes. According to said officers, it is VERY difficult to stop the drug dealers. Hard to compile compelling evidence to be used at trial. And, in some of their opinions, the City Prosecutor just doesn’t have the skills and ability to make the charges stick. THAT is the real problem, isn’t it? Bust a kid, a Wright State student, with a car trunk full of pills and other various drugs (far more than could POSSIBLY be for simple personal use) – obviously a dealer – and then have him walk away scott-free, because the Prosecutors office “might” lose the case. See, unlike you, I don’t blame generalities like “black trash scumbags,” alleged “illegals,” or “obama voters” & “obamacrats.” I am specific in my complaints about who I blame and the way I see it from my experience (which, not to boast, is extensive). ‘Cause if I DID do such a thing, I would not short-sidedly limit my complaints to THIS administration, or the enemies presented to me by a pamphlet from the gun show. You want to find illegal immigrants in this city? Is… Read more »

kimberly collett

David asked me to comment to the question regarding who took out our (olive, an urban dive’s) gas stop.

Georg Wood from the city (sidewalk and streets) came and admitted it was his crew, that his crew was supposed to ask before tearing out old stops completely, but the Wympee one was torn out without his knowledge. (they are clearing out old and abandoned gas stops throughout downtown, but are not supposed to leave a building without access). Once Georg saw that two weeks had gone by and no one was taking up the sidewalks (Vectren was saying the city had to do it and vice versa) George offered to let Vectren take up the sidewalk and street without penalty (usually it’s $1,000). Once we dug up the pipes, we realized we needed a bigger gas line anyway, the pipes underground were sized differently than Vectren’s records… so in the end it would have all had to be done anyway, but Vectren didn’t know that at the time, they were waiting on the city.

The shock was trying to turn on our gas and there being no curb stop. (City mistake) the engineering and time delays were due to Vectren and the insane amount of rain we were getting (and the folks that had emergencies) during those same four weeks. So it was a mix of a lot of things, and we posted every moment that City workers/inspectors came through for us, because a lot of them have been great to us, even as they have to do… what they have to do. Georg even came to check on us the day they finally got it done and is looking forward to his first meal at Olive!

Bubba Jones

Ms. Collett – You are being unbelievably patient and understanding through your entire restaurant restoration and opening project!  My hat’s off to you!!  I’m looking forward to word of your opening and making a trip downtown to get a meal.

kimberly collett

Bubba Jones:

Thank you and we can hardly wait to welcome you in! found this quote….

Patience is not passive; on the contrary, it is active; it is concentrated strength.

~Edward G. Bulwer-Lytton~

been holding on to it for dear life!  :)

Ice Bandit

…yessir dear David. Invitations to not just eating dicks, but bags of them no less. And threats to provide “cheerful” teeth extractions. This blog is getting a more “DDN Readers Comments” feel to it every day…..