Inside Dining

 Inside Dining

Miami Valley restaurants are keeping it local.

By Brian Sharp

Sometimes it seems like keeping it local just means supporting restaurants or businesses that aren’t part of a national chain. However, some of these local folks take that one step further and they too keep it local by using suppliers that are also local. We are lucky to have a number of those restaurants in the Dayton community and the Miami Valley area. 

Some of the restaurants that come to mind immediately are Rue Dumaine in Centerville, Lily’s Bistro in the Oregon Historic District, Butter Café on the Brown Street corridor by University of Dayton and Meadowlark in Kettering. 

So what does keeping it local mean to these great restaurateurs? Well, on the Rue Dumaine website Executive Chef and owner Anne Kearney lists 15 local farmer/artisans with whom she works to provide a farm-to-table experience. In fact, last summer Rue Dumaine hosted a mid-summer night’s dream where the celebration of harvest was held with the local vendors. The public was invited to join in the celebration. 

At Butter Café their website says, “We support sustainable cooking—ingredients consist of food that is healthy for consumers and animals, does not harm the environment, is humane for workers, respects animals, provides a fair wage to the farmer, and supports and enhances rural communities.” While eating in the quaint restaurant you can hear conversations about helping and partnering with local farmers. 

Lily’s Bistro, located in the Oregon Historic District in downtown Dayton, lists the names of local vendors currently being used on a blackboard just beside the entrance in the dining room. It is always fun to see who is being used currently. 

Hawthorn Grill located in Kettering has been vocal about using local right from the start. This is another chef-owned restaurant that is serious about reducing the carbon footprint and using local farmers. Chef Candace Rinke talks openly about a farm in Xenia where she gets natural chickens and a farm in Bellbrook where she can get the freshest produce. Hawthorn Grill even has landfill-friendly carryout containers. 

More and more we are seeing the popularity for keeping things local grow. It has become important for us as diners to know not only that the food is fresh, and the service is great but that we are also supporting the community as best as we can. 

We even see an influx of shoppers at the Second Street Market in downtown Dayton and at the other seasonal farmers markets throughout our community. 

Why is it do you think? Have we gotten so tired of the “big box” retailers with their mega grocery departments and huge produce areas? Or have we heard the stories of farmers sitting in their trucks in the blazing heat in Bentonville, Ariz., all day, only to be told once they are moved into the yard that their produce has been in the heat too long and that their homegrown produce is now worth less? Does it make us feel good to support something and someone from our own area? I love walking in Dorothy Lane Market only to see produce with the names of the local farm from which it was purchased. 

While that is great—and should continue—hearing that the great chefs of the community are turning to local farmers and meat producers to supply their restaurants gives us yet another reason to keep it local.