Local Fazoli’s to host all-you-can-eat spaghetti contest

Published: Wednesday, April 19, 2017 @ 6:10 AM


            Fazoli’s CEO Carl Howard, who has led the Italian restaurant chain since 2008, is a native of Kettering and a 1983 graduate of Fairmont East High School. MARK FISHER/STAFF
Fazoli’s CEO Carl Howard, who has led the Italian restaurant chain since 2008, is a native of Kettering and a 1983 graduate of Fairmont East High School. MARK FISHER/STAFF

Only fast slurpers need apply.

Fazoli’s will host a spaghetti-eating contest from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 22 at its Sugarcreek Twp. restaurant at 6110 Wilmington Pike in front of the Sugarcreek Plaza.

Contestants will compete to eat the largest amount of spaghetti and marinara sauce within eight minutes. The winner will receive a $250 Visa gift card, free spaghetti at Fazoli’s for one year and a Fazoli’s T-shirt.

At the conclusion of the contest, Fazoli’s will donate 1,000 pounds of dried pasta to Feed the Children, a nonprofit organization dedicated to ending childhood hunger, a Fazoli’s spokeswoman said in a release.

RELATED: Fazoli’s chooses Dayton to launch new restaurant concept (March 2010)

Fazoli’s is hosting the pasta-eating contest as a way to kick off its Endless Pasta Fest, where diners can take advantage of unlimited refills on all pasta dishes for $6.99.

The restaurant chain recently announced that it has completely removed all artificial sweeteners, flavors, preservatives and colors from its food menu. Fazoli’s officials said the fast-casual Italian chain is the first national brand under 1,000 units and the third restaurant overall — behind Panera Bread and Chipotle — to offer a completely “clean” food menu.

“We know our guests love Fazoli’s spaghetti and signature marinara sauce, so we thought a pasta eating contest would be a fun way to celebrate our Endless Pasta Fest promotion while contributing 1,000 pounds of dried pasta to Feed the Children,” Donna Josephson, chief marketing officer of Fazoli’s, said in a release.

RELATED: Restaurant exec from Kettering wins national award (May 2014)

Fazoli’s CEO Carl Howard, a native of Kettering and a 1983 graduate of what was then Fairmont East High School, came back to Dayton three weeks ago to call attention to the clean-menu initiative and to call attention to a revamped menu.

“We eliminated more than 80 artificial ingredients from 61 different menu items,” Howard said March 27 at the Fazoli’s across from the Dayton Mall in Miami Twp. “Every step along the way, we’ve improved the food.”

RELATED: Fazoli’s CEO announces menu overhaul

The overhauled menu is now in place in all Fazoli’s in the Dayton area and in the Lexington, Ky. area, where the chain is headquartered. It will be in place by the end of June in all Fazoli’s company-owned restaurants.

Founded in 1988, the chain operates 213 units across 25 states, including seven restaurants in the Dayton-Springfield area.

RELATED: Fazoli’s Italian restaurant chain sold (July 2015)

The chain has been on the rebound under Howard’s leadership. Fazoli’s has generated 15 straight quarters of same-store sales growth, and same-store sales increased 4.9 percent in January, according to the trade publication Nation’s Restaurant News.

Howard is a bit of an anomaly in the high-turnover restaurant industry. He has led Fazoli’s for nine years, and even survived a corporate change of ownership: in July 2015, Fazoli’s was sold by Sun Capital Partners to Sentinel Capital Partners, which also owns TGI Fridays and which just last month sold its Checkers/Rally’s Drive-In Restaurants.

5 reasons you should go to District Day 2017

Published: Tuesday, August 22, 2017 @ 6:00 AM

The rebranded District Day in the Oregon District (formerly the Taste of the Oregon event) was a bustling affair full of great shopping deals, tasty treats, and cover-free live music from all the best Fifth Street shops and stops on Sunday, Aug. 28, 2016. PHOTOS BY TOM GILLIAM/CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER
The rebranded District Day in the Oregon District (formerly the Taste of the Oregon event) was a bustling affair full of great shopping deals, tasty treats, and cover-free live music from all the best Fifth Street shops and stops on Sunday, Aug. 28, 2016. PHOTOS BY TOM GILLIAM/CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER

The Oregon District is throwing a big party this Saturday, and you’ve got to be there.

Fifth Street is known for its great nightlife, but it’s more than just a destination for drinks. The Oregon District is full of great shopping, incredible restaurants, and is a go-to spot for movie goers, coffee drinkers, music lovers, and everything in between.

>> What we love about 5th Street in Dayton

Now the Oregon District wants to celebrate its vibrancy and diversity with you. Their second annual Block Party, known as District Day, will be held from 1-6 p.m. this Saturday, Aug. 26. Here are the top 5 reasons to check it out.

>> PHOTOS: District Day 2016

1.) An awesome lineup of music

Believe it or not, Dayton’s music scene is one of the best in Ohio. Since Dayton is the birthplace of Funk, District Day will feature live music and dance performances from some big local names. The afternoon will kick off with WYSO’s own Basim Blunt, who will be spinning tunes like he does on his radio show “Behind the Groove.” The rest of the day’s lineup includes local bands Salvadore Ross, Zane and the Sway, and Subterranean as well as a dance performance from the Funk Lab Dance Center, and a set from Comedian John Wing. 

The rebranded District Day in the Oregon District (formerly the Taste of the Oregon event) was a bustling affair full of great shopping deals, tasty treats, and cover-free live music from all the best Fifth Street shops and stops on Sunday, Aug. 28, 2016. PHOTOS BY TOM GILLIAM/CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER

2.) You can drink local

The party will be going on the corner of 5th and Pine Street, where music will be playing and beer will be flowing. The Bier Garden will feature all local beer from Warped Wing, Toxic Brewing Company, Dayton Beer Company, Yellow Springs Brewery and Rhinegeist. How often in can you say you were drinking out in the open in the Oregon District? Saturday is your chance!

The rebranded District Day in the Oregon District (formerly the Taste of the Oregon event) was a bustling affair full of great shopping deals, tasty treats, and cover-free live music from all the best Fifth Street shops and stops on Sunday, Aug. 28, 2016. PHOTOS BY TOM GILLIAM/CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER

3.) Fun for the whole family

This is not just a party for adults. This is a family friendly event, one where you can feel good about bringing your kids. There’s a separate area dedicated for the little ones to let them play. There will be lots of fun games, like Connect 4, Cornhole, Jenga, and large-scale Checkers! The Gem City Tattoo Club will have a table set up for face painting. So no need to get a sitter, pack up the stroller and bring your whole gang! 

The rebranded District Day in the Oregon District (formerly the Taste of the Oregon event) was a bustling affair full of great shopping deals, tasty treats, and cover-free live music from all the best Fifth Street shops and stops on Sunday, Aug. 28, 2016. PHOTOS BY TOM GILLIAM/CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER

4.) Retail shops and restaurants are setting up for you

Just like last year’s event, Oregon District’s fabulous shops will be setting up sidewalk sales, and the restaurants will be selling speciality items in the bier garden. Lily’s Bistro, Corner Kitchen, and District Provisions will have tables set up with some of their tasty treats, as well as Sweet P’s Handcrafted Pops to cool you down. Brim will be featuring some of their stylish hats and sunglasses. 

The rebranded District Day in the Oregon District (formerly the Taste of the Oregon event) was a bustling affair full of great shopping deals, tasty treats, and cover-free live music from all the best Fifth Street shops and stops on Sunday, Aug. 28, 2016. PHOTOS BY TOM GILLIAM/CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER

5.) The Oregon District’s only party, besides Hauntfest

The Oregon District is known for Hauntfest, but halloween isn’t your only chance to come down here to party. You’ll be able to avoid the massive crowds, and spooky costumes when you come down this weekend. They’ll be parking available, shops will be open and you’ll get to experience an authentic energy of the District without a parade of goblins and ghouls! District Day is about fun for everyone, not just a wild party! 

>> PHOTOS: Hauntfest 2016

The rebranded District Day in the Oregon District (formerly the Taste of the Oregon event) was a bustling affair full of great shopping deals, tasty treats, and cover-free live music from all the best Fifth Street shops and stops on Sunday, Aug. 28, 2016. PHOTOS BY TOM GILLIAM/CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER

The Oregon District is so excited to celebrate the vibrant neighborhood with unique and diverse vendors and restaurants this weekend! Grab a bite, grab a beer, get down to some funky tunes, and do a little shopping. Thanks to District Day’s event sponsor, and the support from Wiley’s Comedy Club, this is an event that you won’t want to miss.

Want to go?

WHAT: District Day

WHEN: 1-6 p.m. Saturday, August 26

WHERE: Fifth Street in the Oregon District, downtown Dayton

COST: Free admission

5 beers you have to taste at this year’s AleFest

Published: Monday, August 21, 2017 @ 6:00 AM

Both AleFest and AleFeast will have new venue this year

Dayton Beer Week will culminate in a fantastic finale on Saturday, Aug. 26 from 3 to 6 p.m. -- or you can go in an hour early with VIP tickets.

How big is this annual bash? How about more than 400 curated and hand crafted beers from all over the world big? As a beer fan, there’s always a few I like to spy and make a beeline to when this annual festival opens. 

>>7 amazing Dayton Beer Week events you need to know about

BLUE POINT TOASTED LAGER

Lagers are typically no frills, and that’s what I love about them. No wacky concoctions to dance all over your palate, just good ol’ beer. Blue Point, based in a place called Patchogue, New York, says this is their most popular beer.

But it’s a bit of an exception to the no-frills lager rule, with six different grains and special lager yeast to give it its flavor.  It’s receiving mostly positive reviews among beer drinkers at both Beer Advocate and Untapped.

Find it in draft form at Heidelberg Draft Trailer 1. 

Toasted Lager is Blue Point Brewing Company's most popular beer.(Contributed)

LONG TRAIL ALE

The first beer produced by Long Trail Brewing Company when they started out in the basement of an old mill in Vermont under the name “Mountain Brewers” in 1989, Old Trail Ale is brewed in the style of an altbier.

Altbiers are top fermented and originated in the German region of Westphalia, near Düsseldorf. It’s a darker, full-flavor beer with a 5-percent ABV, so it won’t overpower you. Notes of carmel and citrus also come through.

Find it at Table 69.

>> Oregon District restaurant under repair, offering sandwich special

Long Trail Ale, introduced in 1989, is brewed in the style of altbiers.(Contributed)

ALESMITH HAWAIIAN SPEEDWAY STOUT

This is why we have Uber. At 12-percent ABV, it won’t take too many of these before you’re feeling no pain. This stout combines coconut with vanilla and Ka'u coffee for a beer like I’ve never had before. Beer afficionados rave up this rich and chocolaty stout.

Find it at Table 64 (but don’t wait long -- it’s likely to run out).

Behold! AleSmith's Hawaiian Speedway Stout.(Contributed)

STONE CITRUSY WIT

I’m an unapologetic witbier fan, and this one intrigues me. Stone Brewing Company has been putting out great stuff since their inception in 1996. They’re changing things up here by doing more than just adding some orange peel to their batch.

Citrusy Wit also has kaffir lime leaves, which add to the citrusy flavoring. The leaves are considered rare and aren’t particularly cheap.

Find this refreshing beer at Table 24.

>> Yellow Springs Brewery is releasing a new beer this Friday

Stone Brewing Company didn't skimp on the citrus flavor for this beer.(Contributed)

>> FigLeaf brewery in Middletown confirms it’s going statewide

DESCHUTES PINE DROPS

If you like hoppy beers, you’ll like this offering from Deschutes in Bend, Oregon. A blend of FIVE different kinds of hops go into the crafting of this IPA. The brewmasters wanted to simulate a nice long walk in a pine forest, so there are hints of pine and citrus. 

Pine Drops is also made from a Pilsner base malt, giving you a lighter beer taste, but still delivering the hop actions.

You’ll find this at Table 8.

Want a hoppy beer with a lighter finish? Pine Drops is a good answer.(Contributed)

11 solar eclipse watch parties in Dayton

Published: Thursday, July 27, 2017 @ 6:00 AM
Updated: Thursday, August 17, 2017 @ 12:20 PM

An explainer video on what exactly is a solar eclipse.

Every few years, word of some “rare” eclipse spreads and most likely, it comes and goes without much attention at all. This eclipse, however, is different.

A group of students view a partial solar eclipse at a school in Bogota, Colombia, Friday, April 8, 2005. (AP Photo/Zoe Selsky) **EFE OUT**(ZOE SELSKY/AP)

On August 21, 2017, The Great American Eclipse will sweep across the United States, and only the United States. 

The last time that an eclipse “touched only American soil was June 13th, 1257,” according to eclipse2017.org, and the next time won’t be until January 25th, 2316. 

>> The absolute best places to see the Great American Eclipse

Basically, this is super rare. For a few minutes, the bright sunlight of about 2:28 p.m. will fall into a dim twilight as the moon covers 89% of the sun. 

>> Dayton horror artist’s T-shirt is turning heads 

The total solar eclipse is seen from the island of Kastellorizo, Greece, on Wednesday, March 29, 2006. As the moon covered the sun, the temperature dropped quickly, as the sun blackened and a fiery rim surrounded it, and the sky turned an dark blue. (AP Photo/Marios Papadakis)(MARIOS PAPADAKIS/AP)

So don’t be ‘shady’ on August 21. Join one of these local watch parties to make sure you don’t miss an out-of-this-world spectacle. 

1. Washington-Centerville Public Library watch party

Where: 111 W. Spring Valley Rd, Centerville

When: August 21st, 1- 4 p.m. (2:30 p.m. peak)

More info

>> 7 things to know about the rare 2017 solar eclipse

2. Winters-Bellbrook Community Library watch party

Where: 57 West Franklin Street, Bellbrook

When: August 21st, 1-3 p.m.

More info

>> Explaining the total solar eclipse

3. Cedarville Library watch party

Where: 20 S. Miller Street, Cedarville

When: August 21st, 1-3 p.m.

More info

4. Fairborn Community Library watch party 

Where: 1 East Main Street, Fairborn

When: August 21st, 1-3 pm

More info

5. Boonshoft Museum of Discovery watch party

Where: 2600 Deweese Pkwy, Dayton

When: August 21st, 1- ? p.m.

More info

6. Milton Union Public Library

Where: Milton Union Public Library, 560 S. Main Street West Milton

Info: 937-698-5515 | www.mupubliclibrary.org

Safety for Viewing the Eclipse
6:30 p.m. Aug. 17th
Amateur astronomers Ron and Joann Wagner will speak on safety for viewing the eclipse. 

Solar Eclipse Open House 
12:45-4 p.m. Aug. 21st
The library will host an open house for the clipse, offering a livestream of the eclipse indoors, as well as eclipse viewing glasses for outside viewing. The viewing glasses were obtained through grants. 

7. Tipp City Library’s Great American Eclipse Viewing Party

Where: The lawn of Zion Lutheran Church, 14 W. Walnut St., Tipp City

When: 1-2:30 p.m. Aug. 21st

8. Eclipse Float on the Great Miami

Where: meeting: 1995 E Ross Rd, Tipp City

When: 12:30 p.m. August 21st

More info

9. Fraze Pavilion Viewing Party

Where: 695 Lincoln Park Boulevard, Kettering

When: noon- 4 p.m. Aug 21st

More info

10. Cedarville University's Dept. of Engineering and Science’s observatory watch party

Where: Cedarville University, 251 N. Main St, Cedarville

When: 2- 3 p.m. Aug. 21

More info: Call 937-766-8800

11. Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park watch party & Junior Ranger Program

Join us at the Wright Dunbar Interpretive Center or the Huffman Prairie Flying Field Interpretive Center to obserfve this amazing cosmic event and take part in other solar related activities. Free eclipse glasses will be avilable while supplies last for viewing the eclipse. 

Where: Wright-Dunbar Interpretive Center, 16 S. Williams St., Dayton; and Huffman Prairie Flying Field, 2380 Memorial Road, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base

When: Noon- 4 p.m. Aug. 21

More info: Call 937-225-7705

Know of a watch party we missed? Email sarah.franks@coxinc.com with details and we’ll add it.

7 amazing Dayton Beer Week events you need to know about

Published: Thursday, August 17, 2017 @ 6:00 AM

Dayton Craft Beer Rally/ Dayton Brew Week
Photo submitted by Brian Johnson
Dayton Craft Beer Rally/ Dayton Brew Week(Photo submitted by Brian Johnson)

It seems there’s about 365 special days commemorating beer in one way or another. But Dayton has devoted an entire week to brews of all kinds with Dayton Beer Week. It runs from Aug. 20-26, conveniently leading right up to this year’s AleFest.

Here is a list of Dayton-area craft beer purveyors and what their plans are for those seven days of sacred suds loving.

1.) DAYTON CRAFT BEER RALLY

Who better to kick the week off right Aug. 20 than the people at the Yellow Cab Building? This brand new festival is free to enter, with drink tickets being sold inside. Food trucks, live music and more will also be a part of the celebration. 

You can get tickets to the rally, which runs from 2-6 p.m., by going to this website.

Brewing beer at Hairless Hare Brewery in Vandalia.

2.) HAIRLESS HARE BREWERY

The Vandalia brewery, located at 738 W. National Rd., has something planned for every day of this holy week. Monday, Aug. 21 will be the release of New Holland Brewery’s Three Quarter Porter with your first pint costing 75 cents (three quarters, get it?). Tuesday will feature four varieties of Dragon’s Milk on tap. Cold War Imperial Stout will be Wednesday’s feature with Raspberry Lambic getting the spotlight on Thursday.

Hairless Hare Brewery in Vandalia has a special planned for every day of Dayton Beer Week. Staff photos by Mark Fisher(Mark Fisher)

However, Friday is a little extra special as Hairless Hare releases its collaboration with Springboro’s Crooked Handle Brewing CompanyWileymelon Gose and Hairless Hare’s own Cherry Gose.

Saturday will feature a special collaboration with Xenia newcomer brewmasters Devil Wind in the form of Devil Hare IPA.

>>FigLeaf brewery in Middletown confirms it is going statewide

3.) EUDORA BREWING COMPANY

Eudora, the Kettering brewery specializing in allowing customers to brew their own beers, isn’t about to wait for Dayton Beer Week to start. 

On Friday, Aug. 18, they will have a special tapping of the 2016 Hullabaloo English Barleywine at 4 p.m.

Eudora Brewing Co. will test your beer knowledge with Beer Trivia during Dayton Beer Week. PHOTO / TOM GILLIAM

They’ll be taking part in the Dayton Beer Pride Parade on Aug. 20 leading up to the aforementioned Yellow Cab Craft Beer Rally. The parade starts at 1 p.m.

Eudora will test your beer brains with Beer Trivia on Wednesday, Aug. 23 at 7 p.m., before celebrating the bottle release of Chai Samsara at 4 p.m. the next day.

>> Must-try Ohio beers at Jungle Jim’s Buckye Beer Bash

>> Dayton Beer Company closes its original taproom in Kettering
4.) CROOKED HANDLE

In addition to their collaboration with Hairless Hare Brewery, the folks at Springboro’s Crooked Handle, at 760 N. Main. St., have some special things planned for the week.

On Aug. 20 they will host a bottle release of the Bombs Away Double IPA beginning at 5 p.m. There is a two-bottle limit.

Springboro’s Crooked Handle Brewing Co. is part of a three-way collaboration with local brewers Dayton Beer Company and Lucky Star Brewery. Submitted photo

Thursday, Aug. 24 is a tap takeover at Heather’s Coffee and Cafe at 505 S. Main St. in Springboro. Customers can choose from four different beers and keep the pint.

5.) THREE-BREWERY COLLABORATION

There will be a special collaboration beer tapping involving Crooked Handle, Dayton Beer Company and Lucky Star Brewery (Miamisburg) on Wednesday, Aug. 23. All three locations will begin serving Dayton’s Lucky Handle IPA at 4 p.m.

>> Owner of closed Cincinnati brewery breaks silence

6.) THE BARREL HOUSE

The Barrel House in Dayton, at 417 E. Third St., is having a special event on Aug. 24Land-Grant Brewing Company, based in Columbus, has been making some headway with local craft beer lovers as of late. The Barrell House will tap six Land-Grant beers while hosting a representative from the brewery to answer questions about the brand. This event starts at 5 p.m.

The Barrel House in Dayton will feature six beers from Land-Grant Brewing Company.PHOTO / TOM GILLIAM

7.) KINGS TABLE

Tuesday, Aug. 22 is a tap takeover featuring Jackie O’s at Kings Table in Beavercreek. Eight of the Athens, Ohio-based brewery’s creations will be fatured all day long.