New Bellbrook bake shop keeps ‘decadence’ in the family 

Published: Thursday, February 08, 2018 @ 6:00 AM

Jackie Fuller (center), her mom, Adonica Collins-Smith (right) , and mother-in-law, Debby Fuller (left), opened Simply Decadent in August at 108 West Franklin St. in Bellbrook. They are pictured with Jackie's newborn baby, Aria.
Jackie Fuller (center), her mom, Adonica Collins-Smith (right) , and mother-in-law, Debby Fuller (left), opened Simply Decadent in August at 108 West Franklin St. in Bellbrook. They are pictured with Jackie's newborn baby, Aria.

A trio of baking superwomen are churning out sugary decadence inside of one of the Miami Valley’s newest bakeries. 

>> 5 must-try cupcake shops in Dayton

Jackie Fuller, her mother Adonica Collins-Smith, and her mother-in-law Debby Fuller opened Simply Decadent on Aug. 29 at 108 West Franklin St. in Bellbrook.

It is truly a family affair. 

The day we visited the shop, Jackie’s husband, Ian, was there with their newborn daughter, Aria

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Like her grandmothers and mom, the baby donned a “Simply Decadent” apron for a photo.

It was borrowed from her 3-year-old brother, Grayson.

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Debby Fuller said everything is from fondant to filling is customizable and made in-house at the bakery, which is located just doors down from Dot’s Supermarket.

Their baked goods were in demand. The shop is the result. 

“We’ve been decorating cakes for a long, long time for friends and family and just had more and more people asking us to do things,” Debby Fuller said. “And we get to do it with family.” 

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Jackie Fuller, her mom, Adonica Collins-Smith, and mother-in-law, Debby Fuller, opened Simply Decadent in August at 108 West Franklin St. in Bellbrook

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The bakery specializes in sugar, its owners joked. 

It can handle anything from cake pops and cookies to five-tiered wedding cakes and the 10-foot-long cake dragon Collins-Smith made for an Asian Pacific islander month celebration at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. 

Simply Decadent is also able to make vegan and gluten-free treats.

>> These bakeries were voted Best of Dayton

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Want to go?

What: Simply Decadent

Where: 108 West Franklin St., Bellbrook 

Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday to Friday; 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. Closed Monday and Sunday. 

Phone: 937-545-2614

Info:  Facebook

Jackie Fuller (center), her mom, Adonica Collins-Smith (right) , and mother-in-law, Debby Fuller (left), opened Simply Decadent in August at 108 West Franklin St. in Bellbrook.

Jackie Fuller, her mom, Adonica Collins-Smith, and mother-in-law, Debby Fuller, opened Simply Decadent in August at 108 West Franklin St. in Bellbrook

Jackie Fuller, her mom, Adonica Collins-Smith, and mother-in-law, Debby Fuller, opened Simply Decadent in August at 108 West Franklin St. in Bellbrook

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LOCAL RESTAURANT CLOSING: Try this deliciously saucy burger before it’s too late 

Published: Monday, February 19, 2018 @ 9:00 AM

One Eyed Jacks in Fairborn is closing. Video by Amelia Robinson

After a decade of slinging burgers and booking bands, a well-known Dayton area restaurant is closing up shop for good.

>> Best of Dayton 2017 Winners: Food & Dining

One Eyed Jacks, located at 2638 Colonel Glenn Highway in Fairborn near Wright State University, will permanently close on Saturday, Feb. 24, co-owner Bill Mangan said. 

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The decision was made not to renew the lease after a satisfactory agreement could not be reach with the building’s owner, he said. 

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One Eyed Jack's will close permanently February 24. Photo: Amelia Robinson(Photo: Amelia Robinson)

“We did really well there for a long time, but it’s been waning there for the last two years,” Mangan said. 

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The last night will include local entertainment from a yet-to-be announced group of local musicians. 

One Eyed Jack’s last show will be the “Jacks I Love Hip Hop Farewell Show” from 9 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. Friday, Feb. 23. 

Vast Aire of Cannibal Ox will headline the free show. V.I.P admission is $15. Ages 18 and up only. For more information, visit brownpapertickets.com

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Mangan said he was happy to provide a venue where local musicians of various genres could meet and perform. 

“Until you get a chance to perform in a live venue, you don’t know what you are capable of doing,” he said. “We were a launch pad for a lot of bands.”

Think if you've had one burger you've had them all? Take a look at at these and up your burger eating game. (Video by Tabatha Wharton)

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Mangan, also the owner of Cherry House Cafe, a deli at  1241 Meadow Bridge Dr. in Beavercreek, said he was thankful for the customers that supported One Eyed Jacks.

“We look forward to serving them at Cherry House if they come up this way,” he said. 

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WHAT ABOUT THE FOOD?

One Eyed Jacks became known for its chicken wings and the burgers patties made daily by “Big” Ben Mangan, Bill Mangan’s son.

Burger Fast Facts

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At the urging of Dayton sandwich lover Nick Warrington, a Wright State alum and the university’s assistant director of  alumni, I gave One Eyed Jacks Bloomin’ Onion Burger a try. 

Nick raved about the restaurant’s tatonka sauce in a Facebook message:

“As a sandwich guru, I hope you have tried their sandwiches with their ‘famous tatonka sauce,’” he said in a message.

One Eyed Jack's will close permanently February 24. The restaurant's Bloomn' Onion burger and fries are pictured. Photo: Amelia Robinson(Photo: Amelia Robinson)

As Bill Mangan later explained, the sauce -- which is also served on the restaurant’s Veggie Zaffer black bean burger -- was inspired partly by Buffalo-style hot sauce. 

>> Your ultimate guide to the best burgers in Dayton

He kept the spicy secrets to the creation to himself. 

My burger came out fresh and topped with layers of onion rings, tomato, lettuce, provolone cheese, onion and One Eyed Jacks creamy tatonka sauce with its slight kick.

The thick cheeseburger was well-seasoned with juices that melted into the sesame seed bun it came between. 

My lunch came with a mound of crispy, munchable seasoned fries for $9.95.

Each of One Eyed Jacks nine special burgers are eight ounces and cost $8.95 with house made Saratoga potato chips and a pickle spear. 

 >> FISH FRY GUIDE: The best places to get deep-fried, crispy, delicious fish in Dayton

LAST CHANCE

Until it closes on Feb. 24, 2018, the restaurant is open 11 a.m. to 2:30 a.m. Monday to Friday and noon to 2:30 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. 

One Eyed Jack's will close permanently February 24. The restaurant's Bloomn' Onion burger and fries are pictured. Photo: Amelia Robinson(Photo: Amelia Robinson)

 

One Eyed Jack's will close permanently February 24. Photo: Amelia Robinson(Photo: Amelia Robinson)

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Why now is the perfect time to visit Table of Contents Cafe

Published: Monday, February 19, 2018 @ 6:00 AM

A tuna melt with Tillamook cheddar and a bowl of homemade cream of tomato soup taken surrounded by books at Table of Contents Cafe. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY ALEXIS LARSEN
A tuna melt with Tillamook cheddar and a bowl of homemade cream of tomato soup taken surrounded by books at Table of Contents Cafe. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY ALEXIS LARSEN

XENIA — With the announcement last month that Blue Jacket Books in Xenia would be closing, my first thought was simply just how sad it was.

One more local bookstore to disappear. Another mom and pop operation that’s closing its doors.

>>MORE: Independent bookstore in Xenia going out of business

With a single visit to this homey independent book store it quickly became clear you were in a place that was built on a deep-seated love and commitment to the written word. It was always a nice place to visit that was warm, comfortable and offered voracious readers plenty to dig into.

My next thought went immediately to Table of Contents Cafe.

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Lawrence Hammar and Cassandra Lee, husband and wife and co-owners of the bookstore and cafe, have created a really sweet stop in Xenia to peruse 50,000 used, rare and out-of-print books and grab a bite to eat right in the middle of the store.

Table of Contents is a cafe inside Blue Jacket Books at 30 S. Detroit in Xenia. Specializing in used books, the store has 50,000 books. CONNIE POST/STAFF(Connie Post)

The bookstore, now in its 11th year of business, opened at its current location, 30 S. Detroit St., in 2013 while Table of Contents Cafe, run by Lee, opened a couple of years ago.

Hammar announced in a Jan. 30 Facebook post that May 12 will be the store’s last day. Table of Contents Cafe and the other businesses that share the space, including Our Family Soap and Yellow Dogs Pet Supplies will stay open.

That news welcomed a sigh of relief when I read it.

The cafe, tucked away a few rooms back from the front of the bookstore is surrounded by handwritten signs directing book lovers to the subject matter they might be in search of.

>>RELATED: 7 soups to warm you up this winter

Hungry diners are only a few steps away from a wealth of knowledge on Ancient Greece and Rome, German and Russian studies, Psychology, The United Kingdom, Historiography, African American studies, Asian studies, Central America, Archeology, Native and non-native Americans and the United Kingdom.

Table of Content's Grilled Cheese (with tomato bits and scallions in the melted cheese) and a coup of Anjou Pear Soup hit the spot. The cafe is inside Blue Jacket Books at 30 S. Detroit in downtown Xenia. CONNIE POST/STAFF(Connie Post)

The Table of Contents Cafe menu is small, but mighty and often has changes with specials and updates. One thing always seems to be consistent — fresh, healthy, vegetarian-friendly, homemade soups, salads and sandwiches. Even the bread has been made fresh in-house.

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The cafe’s Facebook page is updated almost daily, so learn more about the specials and what’s being offered there if you are interested to see what’s being served up on a particular day.

Both businesses reflect the owners Pacific Coast roots and sensibilities, for a little touch of Portlandia in Xenia, Ohio.

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The food makes for a delicious and filling lunch that’s reasonably priced and good for you with plenty of heart-healthy options to choose from.

The menu at Table of Contents changes daily. The cafe is inside Blue Jacket Books at 30 S. Detroit in Xenia. CONNIE POST/STAFF(Connie Post)

This is not the place to go to if you are looking for soda or anything fried.

In fact, beverages you can choose from are hot coffee ($2.25), hot tea ($2.25) or hot spiced apple cider ($2.75). If that doesn’t float your boat, go with water because it’s the only other option.

>>MORE: 9 must-eat sandwiches in Dayton

The paleo-inspired salad plate on a recent visit in January featured deviled eggs, greens, sweet potato quinoa, coleslaw, black rice, mushroom lentils, carrot and couscous for ($9.75). The homemade soups served in a bowl with salad and fresh baked bread ($7) included cream of tomato, potato-kale and a white bean soup with ham.

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A tuna melt with Tillamook cheddar ($6.50) hit the spot on a blustery winter day with a nice cup of the tomato soup. The special was a pulled pork burrito topped with roasted poblano and sweet pepper spaces served with black beans, brown rice and lime coleslaw ($9.50). It was packed with meat and a great value for the size of the meal and the quality of the ingredients used.

Made-from-scratch Chocolate Cake and Meyer Lemon Cake at Table of Contents -- why choose when you can have both? The cafe is inside Blue Jacket Books at 30 S. Detroit in Xenia. CONNIE POST/STAFF(Connie Post)

This is a feel-good dining spot knowing there are no preservatives, everything is fresh and almost everything is made from scratch.

The business has a five-star rating on Facebook after more than 60 reviews. Probably because it does exactly what it says it is going to do and does it really well.

Last year a reviewer wrote: “Stopped on my way home from work and picked up takeout. I got soup, four types of salads, and two types of bread for $34. It fed four of us with enough leftover soup and bread for my lunch today! I had my food in 10 mins, it tasted great, and cost less than fast food for four!”

>>RELATED: 11 (more) sandwiches you must eat in Dayton

If you are into clean eating, there’s no doubt that this is a spot that can do what you are looking for. And if you are into books the Facebook post from Hammer said they will be selling everything in the store beginning in early March, so some great deals may be available for those willing to put in the time to look.

In the winter months, there is nothing better than curling up with a good book and this is a humble little spot to find your next book while you grab a bright, tasty meal.

Now is certainly the time to try out this little gem before they sell all of the inventory and the Table of Contents Cafe is no longer surrounded by Tables of Contents.

Table of Contents cafe is inside Blue Jacket Books at 30 S. Detroit in Xenia. CONNIE POST/STAFF(Connie Post)
Dayton Eats looks at the regional food stories and restaurant news that make mouths water. Share your menu updates, special dinners and events, new chefs, interesting new dishes and culinary adventures. Do you know of new exciting format changes, specials, happy hours, restaurant updates or any other tasty news you think is worth a closer look at? E-mail Alexis Larsen at alexis.e.larsen@hotmail.com with the information and we will work to include it in future coverage.

Want to go?

WHAT: Tables of Contents Cafe

WHERE: Inside Blue Jacket Books, 30. S. Detroit St., Xenia

MORE INFORMATION: 937-376-3522 or www.facebook.com/Tables-of-Contents-Cafe-409499402572427

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Why this old-school restaurant is one of the area’s best-kept dining secrets

Published: Monday, December 11, 2017 @ 6:00 AM
Updated: Friday, January 12, 2018 @ 12:39 PM

The New York Strip Steak at The Tavernette in Medway. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY ALEXIS LARSEN
The New York Strip Steak at The Tavernette in Medway. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY ALEXIS LARSEN

Tucked half-way between Springfield and Dayton in tiny Medway is a Clark County restaurant gem that residents from both cities should get to know.

The Tavernette Inn, established in 1939, is one of the area’s best kept restaurant secrets, boasting atmosphere and ambiance that goes on for days.

Here are just a few reasons you should plan a visit as soon as possible …

The vibe: Get ready for a time warp. The walls and cabinets full of old toys and kitschy antiques will transport you to another era. The hot orange chairs and turquoise booths add to the feel. This spot is a vintage feast for the eyes and provides a one-of-a-kind dining setting.

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The Tavernette in Medway is worth the visit. CONTRIBUTED PHOTOS BY ALEXIS LARSEN(Contributing Writer)

The specials: Tavernette specials are where it’s at — Tuesdays are a pizza special of the day. Wednesdays are fresh smoked BBQ ribs after 5 p.m., served with two sides ($18.95 for a half rack and $23.95 for a full). Thursdays is a chef’s choice surprise and Fridays and Saturdays feature a prime rib entrée after 5 p.m.

The food: The menu is a terrific companion to the throwback setting. The New York Strip ($23.95) is a great cut grilled to order and well worth it.

The Baked Meatloaf ($15.95), a newer option, made with onions, green peppers and bread crumbs and topped with house-made brown sugar glaze was savory, soft and comforting. The batter-fried walleye ($16.95) was a huge piece of crispy, golden-brown breaded fish that was perfectly fried and satisfying.

Other notable menu items: fried green tomatoes ($8.95), frog legs ($15.95), a Tavern Sticky Burger ($12.95) topped with bacon, pepper jack cheese, peanut butter and jalapeño jelly. The restaurant’s pork chops ($16.95), pizzas (various) and seafood dishes are also worth exploring.

Brunch: Brunch is available 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. every Friday and Saturday. Bonus: Free non-alcoholic drink with food purchase. The Tavernette’s sausage gravy and biscuits ($5.95) is a great place to start.

The pizzas: They come in nine, 12 and 16 inches. The garden veggie is topped with a house-made garlic butter cream sauce, sprinkled with a blend of mozzarella and cheddar cheese, topped with fresh diced red onions, red peppers, broccoli, mushrooms, and sliced tomatoes ($10.95, $15.95, $18.95). There’s a meat lovers, a Tavern Deluxe and the noteworthy Tavern Sticky made just like the burger with hamburger, bacon, pepper jack cheese blend, peanut butter, and jalapeño jelly ($11.95, $16.95, $19.95). I can guarantee you there’s no other place to find that particular combination on a pizza in town. Definitely a conversation piece amongst friends if you’re going out in a group.

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The Tavernette in Medway is worth the visit. Pictured is the bar. CONTRIBUTED PHOTOS BY ALEXIS LARSEN(Contributing Writer)

The drinks: The old-school bar cranks out the classic cocktails, wine and beer. The bar greets you when you walk through the door and sets the right tone for the evening.

The patio: Keep this in your memory bank: The patio at the Tavernette should be on your summer dining list. Overlooking woods, it offers a beautiful view and a great setting and is a great summertime destination.

The location: Just over 15 minutes from downtown Springfield and downtown Dayton, it offers a scenic drive and an adventure opportunity that isn’t a huge investment of time.

If you love vintage and crave opportunities to get nostalgic, look no further. The Tavernette offers great food in a setting that is powerfully evocative and a whole lot of fun.

>> Big city experience, small-town touch at this Springfield restaurant

WANT TO GO?

What: The Tavernette

Where: 111 W. Main St., Medway

Hours: Closed Sunday and Monday; 3-9 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday

Reservations: Call before 4 p.m. for reservations.

More info: www.thetavernette.com or 937-849-0423.

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ON THE MENU: You MUST try the pierogies and Asian pork sliders at this new restaurant in downtown Dayton

Published: Monday, November 20, 2017 @ 6:00 AM

The food at Lock 27 in downtown Dayton. Pictured: Lock 27's Keener Burger served with bacon and an egg added. Photo by Amelia Robinson
Photo: Amelia Robinson
The food at Lock 27 in downtown Dayton. Pictured: Lock 27's Keener Burger served with bacon and an egg added. Photo by Amelia Robinson(Photo: Amelia Robinson)

Trust us on this one: you’ll kick yourself if you don’t get past the beer menu at one of downtown Dayton’s newest brewpubs. 

The Lock 27 Brewing menu includes some of the finest pierogies south of Cleveland, and some Asian Pork Sliders with just the right kick. 

We will get to that in just a bit. 

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The downtown restaurant opened in September 2017, and is the second Lock 27 location from founder Steve Barnhart, a Chicago native.  

The food at Lock 27 in downtown Dayton. Pictured: Potato and cheddar pierogies topped with bacon, sautéed onions and garlic. They are served with sour cream. Photo by Amelia Robinson(Photo: Amelia Robinson)

The new gastropub at 329 E. First St. occupies about 12,000 square feet of the Delco Building’s basement and first floor in Dayton Dragons Plaza. 

The original Lock 27 at 1035 S. Main St. serves mostly the same menu as the downtown location.

>> FLASHBACK (Sept. 5): When Lock 27 opened in downtown Dayton 

ABOUT THE FOOD 

First: those pierogies. The pierogi dumplings are filled with a delicious mix of mashed potatoes and cheddar cheese. 
An order of five costs $12, and they come topped with thick pieces of bacon, sauteed onions, green onions and garlic.

The side of cool sour cream was a must, as many pierogie lovers will tell you. 

My dinner companion ordered dry rubbed and smoked chicken wings and couldn’t get enough of the Sriracha blue cheese. 

>> RELATED: Top 11 wing stops in Dayton

The restaurant’s friendly waitstaff recommended the Asian Pork Sliders ($12). We were not disappointed in the tender, spicy meat served with a plum sauce and a side of frites (French fries).

The meat on the trio of sandwiches was generous, and one bite reminded me of a backyard barbeque. 

The food at Lock 27 in downtown Dayton. Pictured: Lock 27's Asian Pork Sliders served with French fries. Photo by Amelia Robinson(Photo: Amelia Robinson)

>> Dayton’s 6 most unique and yumtastic French fries 

The sandwiches are served with the frites and sage pesto mayo, chipotle ketchup and/or spicy mustard. The mayo and spicy mustard impressed. 

Lock 27 pays respect  to  Keener Farm CSA’s grass-fed beef with its Keener Burger. For just $2 more, we added bacon and an over-easy egg to the cheddar cheese burger. 

DETAILS

Lock 27 Brewing is located in the Dayton Dragons Plaza, 329 E. First St., downtown Dayton.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday and Tuesday (kitchen closes at 10 p.m.); 11 a.m. to 11 a.m. Wednesday and Thursday (kitchen closes at 10 p.m.); 11 a.m. to midnight  Friday and Saturday (kitchen closes at 11 p.m.) and 11 to 9 p.m. Sunday (kitchen closes at 9 p.m.).

The food at Lock 27 in downtown Dayton. Pictured: Lock 27's Asian Pork Sliders served with French fries. Photo by Amelia Robinson(Photo: Amelia Robinson)

The food at Lock 27 in downtown Dayton. Pictured: Lock 27's sage pesto mayo, chipotle ketchup and spicy mustard. Photo by Amelia Robinson(Photo: Amelia Robinson)

The food at Lock 27 in downtown Dayton. Pictured: smoked chicken wings with a sriracha blue cheese and a hot sauce. Photo by Amelia Robinson(Photo: Amelia Robinson)

The food at Lock 27 in downtown Dayton. Photo by Amelia Robinson(Photo: Amelia Robinson)

The food at Lock 27 in downtown Dayton. Pictured: Potato and cheddar pierogies topped with bacon, sautéed onions and garlic. They are served with sour cream. Photo by Amelia Robinson(Photo: Amelia Robinson)

The food at Lock 27 in downtown Dayton. Pictured: Lock 27's Keener Burger served with bacon and an egg added. Photo by Amelia Robinson(Photo: Amelia Robinson)

The food at Lock 27 in downtown Dayton. Pictured Lock 27's Mouth Breather and Lock Tender. Photo by Amelia Robinson(Photo: Amelia Robinson)

The food at Lock 27 in downtown Dayton. Pictured: Lock 27's Asian Pork Sliders served with French fries. Photo by Amelia Robinson(Photo: Amelia Robinson)

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