Free fries: Restaurant to thank customers with free food

Published: Tuesday, April 23, 2013 @ 2:44 PM
Updated: Tuesday, April 23, 2013 @ 5:42 PM

“Free fries Wednesday” doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, but I am guessing that won’t bother fans of Penn Station East Coast Subs.

The fast food chain with several Miami Valley locations will offer a free small order of its fresh cut fries to customers as a ‘thank you’ on Wednesday.

The fries cut from unpeeled Idaho potatoes and fried in free peanut oil are an undeniable hit.

“Our fries aren’t like anything else you’ll find,” Craig Dunaway, president of Penn Station Inc., said in a press release. “Our customers crave our fresh-cut fries, and we are excited to offer them to our customers and neighbors as a complimentary token of our appreciation.”

Founded in Cincinnati in 1985, Penn Station is known for its fries, lemonade and hot and cold subs.

The chain has more than 250 restaurants in Ohio and 12 other states.

All but two Penn Station locations are owned by franchisees.

The chain hopes to open 40 new restaurants in 2013 and 45 in 2014.

There are about 10 locations in the Dayton area.

Click link to find one near you.

The Skinny:

Fries 5.5 oz

Calories: 378

Saturated fat: 4.6 g

Sodium: 612 mg

Carbs: 33.8 g

Magic is so ‘Yummy’

Published: Friday, June 21, 2013 @ 6:00 AM
Updated: Friday, June 21, 2013 @ 11:52 AM

Michelle Fong and Connie Post are two of the Dayton Daily News’ Dining Divas. They are culinary thrillseekers who search out interesting eateries to save you time and money. Where should they go next? They welcome your suggestions at

The place: White Lotus, Dayton

Menu highlights: Thai cuisine and American sandwiches. Appetizers include springs rolls ($1.50 each or 3 for $4) and chicken or pork satay ($4.95). Thai specialties include Pad Thai and Pad Se-Ew ($7.95 each); Thai Beef Jerky and Lab Kai ($8.95 each); and Red, Yellow, Green or Massaman Curry ($7.95). American sandwiches include Yummy Burger ($4.95), Yummy Bacon Burger ($8.20), Yummy Extreme Double Burger ($9.20); Fish Filet ($4.95) and Pork Tenderloin ($4.95). Sodas, coffee and milk ($1); Thai coffee and tea ($2).

What we tried:

  • Spring roll, $1.50: Crisp and delicious. Served with homemade hot and sour sauce.
  • Yummy Burger, $4.95: At least a half-pound hand-formed patty cooked to perfection. We added cheese ($.25) and fries ($1).
  • Pad Thai, $7.95: We had ours with chicken. The dish comes with rice noodles, vegetables, two eggs and peanuts in homemade Thai sauce.
  • Thai tea, $2: Iced tea with a hint of star anise, also with Half and Half poured on top. Delicious and refreshing.
  • Thai coffee, $2: Iced coffee with a hint of almond and cardamom, with Half and Half poured on top. Distinctive and divine. This could become addictive. The coffee flavor is subdued, so those who do not like traditional coffee may enjoy this coffee.


Extras: The incredibly skilled and highly methodical Yang Sloop cooks, cleans, takes orders and handles the cash register all by herself in the tiny diner with only 16 bar stools. Do NOT expect your food in a jiffy. Do, however, expect it to taste wonderfully good.

It’s an intimate dining experience. The kitchen’s only a few feet away. We enjoyed sitting beneath a mobile of red Thai peppers and sipping our specialty drinks while watching Sloop put great care into each motion, from forming the hamburger patties to slicing tomatoes to sautéing chicken in squid sauce.

Her appliances are simple: a small grill, deep fryer, toaster, microwave, rice steamer, coffee maker and blender.

Sloop strives for perfection. While the petite lady is creating a culinary experience just for you, sit back and take everything in — the spices on the shelves, the bright green countertop, the photos of Sloop’s family on the mid-century refrigerator, the smells, the sounds.

We were mesmerized by Sloop’s performance artistry, which included some sort of sleight of hand. While we were watching her every move, our spring roll appeared on the counter, as if it materialized out of thin air. Sloop just looked at us and smiled. We called it pure magic.

The info: White Lotus, 327 E. 3rd St., Dayton; (937) 222-7030.

Hours: Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Closed Sunday.

Restaurant dazzles with donut, bacon burger and smothered chops

Published: Thursday, February 13, 2014 @ 11:29 AM
Updated: Monday, February 17, 2014 @ 3:57 PM

            The Diamond D’s signature beef burger comes with caramelized onions, three slices of bacon and pepper jack cheese on a sliced donut for $6.75. Staff video by Amelia Robinson.

Place: Diamond D’s Diner

Location: 2301 Germantown St., Dayton (Corner of Adelite Ave. and Germantown St.)

Sunday to Thursday noon to 8 p.m. and Friday and Saturday noon to 9 p.m.

Phone: (937) 268-3000

Website and menu

Diamond D’s Diner has a motto that its owner holds close to her heart: “fast food ain’t good and good food ain’t fast.”

Barbara Vinzant of Trotwood says that motto and all it encompasses has made the soul food restaurant at 2301 Germantown St. in Dayton successful.

The 74-year-old 1958 Dunbar High School grad said costumers are more than willing to wait for the made-to-order soul food that comes out of her kitchen.

Speciality include boneless, center cut pork chops that come fried, smothered in gravy (the way most regulars prefer them) or barbecue; peach cobbler and the thick sweet, salty and slightly spicy Diamond D’s Burger.

The signature beef burger comes with caramelized onions, three slices of bacon and pepper jack cheese on a sliced donut for $6.75.

Vinzant, a mother of three, grandmother to five and great grandmother of two, said younger clients gravitate towards the Double D’s Burger.

“They look at the picture and say, ‘that looks like a donut,’ and they try it,” Vinzant said and smiled.

The menu also includes a variety of sandwiches, chicken pieces (legs, breast, gizzards etc.) and collard greens, candied yams, chitterlings, buttered rice, BBQ rib tips, salmon patties and whiting fish.

The restaurant can seat up to 16. Vinzant said it delivers to as far away as Jefferson Twp. Many customers call in their order on the way home from work and pick up the meal. Senior citizens are one her chief demographic.

Vinzant said she and her son, Derrick, the business’ manager, have work hard to provide a quality serve to customers.

Some questioned Vinzant’s decision to open in the struggling neighborhood.

She said she would have it no other way.

“These are my roots. We try to make a difference in the community,” Vinzant said. “Just because I am in the ghetto does not mean I have to be a ghetto business.”

Vinzant also the owner of Vinique’s Beauty & Nail Salon and her family owns B&D Entertainment Store and Barbe’s Boutique. All three businesses are located near restaurant housed in a former Church’s Chicken.

The eatery was given Derrick Vinzant long-time nickname, his mother said. He has a diamond in one of his teeth.

Vinzant considers the decision to open the restaurant a leap of faith.

The building had not been used for 16 years.

Read: Restaurant that closed 16 years ago poised to reopen

She used advice from local contacts in the business from JJ Chicken and Fish and Moe’s Fish & Chicken when she opened and still sings their praise.

The retired federal courts manager said says she centers herself when times get tough.

Walk-in traffic has been slower this winter due to to the cold temperatures. Diamond D’s has relied more heavier on deliveries.

“Lord, you didn’t say it would easy, you said you would be with me,” Vinzant said.

This Fat Cat Burger is totally pounce-worthy

Published: Wednesday, June 22, 2016 @ 6:00 AM
Updated: Wednesday, June 22, 2016 @ 6:00 AM

You don’t need deep pockets to afford the Fat Cat Burger.

At McNasty’s Mobile Food Truck, you can get your paws on one for $8.50.

>>RELATED: The burger you’ll want to finish, but shouldn’t

The burger starts with a thick, hand-shaped patty. Add to that a half-inch slab of pastrami. But we’re nowhere close to done at this point. A blanket of oozy-melty Swiss cheese is so thick it starts running down the sides, covering up the double layer of meat. Then, a generous layer of caramelized onions adds a pleasant sweetness, purr-fectly counterbalanced by a final topping of Dijon mustard.

>> RELATED: No wimpy nachos at this food truck

This is a mountain of a burger – not enough to feed a small litter of friends, but at least enough to share with a buddy. I spilt the Fat Cat with my colleague Michelle Fong, and hours later, neither one of us could entertain the idea of eating a bite of anything, not even leftover office doughnuts. Nada.

“Eating that burger has made me sleepy,” Michelle said, grabbing her empty coffee cup and heading to the breakroom.

Indeed, a cat nap would be good about now.

>> RELATED: Dayton food truck events you simply cannot miss

And let us add one finicky little quibble: The Fat Cat is the equivalent of two normal-size burgers, and the structure of the bun is compromised by the sheer weight of the goodies. If there has ever been the need for an industrial strength bun, this is the sandwich, which comes with a generous side of chips. We admit we're being picky -- the bun issue is nowhere close to cat-astrophic.

Want to go?WHAT: McNasty’s Mobile Food Truck
WHERE: McNasty’s food truck travels throughout the area
INFO: or 937-367-1518

You MUST taste this under-the-radar food truck’s crispy, delicious tots for yourself

Published: Wednesday, May 24, 2017 @ 6:00 AM

Call us “Crazy,” but these tots just may change your life.

We may have stumbled upon some of the most AMAZING tots you’ll ever taste.

We stopped by the Crazy Redhead Canteen food truck during the Miami County Food Truck Competition and Rally last weekend and discovered deliciousness. 

>> MORE: Your guide to Dayton food trucks

>> MORE: Food truck events to add to your calendar NOW

The food truck specializes in gourmet grilled cheese and sandwiches made on fresh grilled Italian bread. 

But we heard people raving about the tater tots, and decided to try for ourselves.

We tried the Trailer Tots ($7), which are a large order of the most crispy tots you’ll find loaded with delicious pulled barbecue pork, cheddar cheese, sour cream and chives.

Three of us, each with our own fork, inhaled the basket of tots literally in a minute.

Another option for tot devotees? The Hot Totties ($7), which are topped with mozzarella cheese, homemade spicy ranch dressing, tomatoes, green onion and buffalo dust and topped with barbecue pulled pork for $1.99 extra. 

More info: Facebook | (614) 499-4552

>> MORE: The best tater tots you’ll find around Dayton

>> MORE: The best pulled pork around town