Dayton’s first indoor bike park to host grand opening bash

Published: Wednesday, June 28, 2017 @ 2:40 PM
Updated: Friday, July 14, 2017 @ 6:00 AM

A look at Dayton's new indoor bike park.

Though Mike’s Bike Park, located at 1300 E. First St., has already been open since June 30, the first Dayton facility of its kind will host a grand opening celebration on July 22.

The park announced the party, which will feature live music, bike demonstrations from the Dayton Police Department and food from the S & S  Meat House food truck on its Facebook site. The event begins at noon and lasts until 11 p.m.

>> Inside the future home of Dayton’s new bike park

The park started as a labor of love last fall for owner and operator Mike Bisig. He was able to repurpose an abandoned, run-down building with the help of investors and an army of volunteers both in and outside the cycling community. 

>> Dayton’s indoor bike park set to open before summer

“We have the best volunteers,” Bisig said. “It has been a long time coming, but absolutely worth the wait!”

>> NEW DETAILS: Dayton Arcade wins $5 million in state tax credits

The facility features two full floors for riders of various styles, including mountain, street and BMX. It also comes equipped with its own pro shop for repairs or to assist bikers in upgrading their equipment. Those not riding can take advantage of the lounge area while they wait for cyclists.

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Bisig believes the year-round biking option will eventually generate more positivity in the Dayton area.

"Mike’s Bike Park will help bring the community together as a whole," he said.

Here’s a look at the Facebook Live we did at Mike’s Bike Park:


What: Mike’s Bike Park Grand Opening

Where: 1300 E. First St., Dayton

When: Saturday, July 22, 12 p.m.-11 p.m.

Cost: Riders are $20 (13 and older), $10 (12 and younger). Non-riders are free.

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Plan the perfect picnic in Dayton: where to go

Published: Saturday, April 18, 2015 @ 6:00 AM
Updated: Thursday, May 17, 2018 @ 1:04 PM

Finding the perfect place to BYOB (bring your own basket) is a breeze with our favorite parks to spread out that blanket and relax with good friends and good food. (Video by Tabatha Wharton)

It’s the perfect time of year to plan a picnic — whether it’s with your love, your friends or your family. 

Our goal is to make picnic planning simple for you so you can relax and enjoy.

>> Wondering what to eat on your picnic? Here are some Dayton favorites

We’ve scoured the area to discover the most scenic, friendly, and fun places to set out your blanket and enjoy delicious food in the great outdoors.


Carillon Historical Park, 1000 Carillon Blvd., Dayton

Culp's Cafe, located on the grounds of the Carillon Historical Park, has a variety of sandwiches, soups, sides and ice cream treats. FILE PHOTO / LISA POWELL(Lisa Powell)

In 1950, Carillon Historical Park’s museum complex opened with the purpose of showcasing the region’s industrial innovations, transportation achievements, and Dayton’s contributions to world progress. Since construction first began on Deeds Carillon in 1940, the dreams of Edith and Edward Deeds have evolved into a beautiful 65-acre campus — designed by the Olmsted Brothers (the famed landscape architects responsible for Central Park) — containing dozens of museum buildings, countless artifacts, and picturesque green space perfect for a relaxing picnic. 

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John Bryan State Park, 3790 Ohio 370, Yellow Springs

Emily Blair and Aaron Wheeler, both of Springfield, look at a map of John Bryan State Park while out for a hike on Wednesday, April 23. CHRIS STEWART / STAFF(Chris Stewart)

John Bryan is the most scenic state park in western Ohio. The 752-acre park contains a remarkable limestone gorge cut by the Little Miami River which is designated as a state and national scenic river. A portion of the gorge itself is designated as a national natural landmark. With both reservable covered picnic areas, a day lodge, and picnic tables available at all campsites, there are plenty of places with remarkable views to enjoy a bite with your buds and besties.

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Lincoln Park Civic Commons, 675 Lincoln Park Blvd, Kettering

The City of Kettering is in the process of removing and replacing ash trees near the Fraze Pavilion at the civic commons. Many of the dying trees are still standing. Lindsay Arway walks her dog Onyx through Lincoln Park where a few of the trees are almost bare. TY GREENLEES / STAFF(Ty Greenlees)

Nestled around the Fraze Pavillion, this master-planned outdoor space in Kettering offers the perfect picnic atmosphere with all the modern convenience of a professional venue. Check the schedule for the Fraze to see what events coordinate with your picnic plans — or just bring a blanket and grab your meal from Ernie’s concession stand.

>> Here’s where to find the perfect food for your picnic

Carriage Hill MetroPark, 7800 Shull Rd, Huber Heights

Two donkeys at Carriage Hill Metropark graze in the pasture surrounded by a split rail fence and brilliant fall colors in October 2015. The picturesque farm park has been a popular place for family photos. TY GREENLEES / STAFF(Ty Greenlees)

Head to the Cedar Lake Shelter for a lake view, fishing (no license required) and nature trails. With a historic farm just a short walk down the road, there are plenty of great spots to scope out.

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Eastwood MetroPark, 1385 Harshman Rd, Dayton

The scene on Eastwood Lake at Eastwood MetroPark, Monday, May 30, 2016. JOHN BEDELL/STAFF

The River View Shelter overlooking the Mad River Run area at Eastwood is the place to be with great views overlooking the Mad River and new kayak and river play area. This is a spot close to a playground and other park amenities. The Thompson Shelter in the North Park of Englewood MetroPark also provides an excellent picnic experience. There is a wonderful view from the shelter and the area includes fishing and water access as well as opportunities for wildlife observation. A picnic at Patty Shelter is close enough to let the kids play in the nature play area, and then head out on a short hike ½ mile hike along the purple trail to check out Patty Falls.

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Germantown MetroPark, 7101 Conservancy Rd, Germantown

Conservation Manager Michael Enright of Five Rivers MetroParks walks along the field of the current farmland that will be transformed into a prairie that will provide the food and nesting sites necessary for pollinators’ survival. Many of the plants will be milkweed, which is critical to monarchs since it’s the only plant on which they lay their eggs. The project is funded by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the Clean Ohio Green Space Conservation Fund. Protecting the dwindling monarch population is a priority for Fish & Wildlife, which is determining if monarchs should be listed under the Endangered Species Act. JIM WITMER/STAFF(Jim Witmer)

Head south of the Germantown Dam on the opposite side of the Creek from the main Dam Parking area. While you are setting up the picnic, let the kids hunt for fossils and splash in the water below the dam as long as water levels are low. Stone imprints from the Ordovician time period such as prehistoric snails, trilobites, and squid-like creatures with hard shells can all be found by the inquisitive and careful explorer.

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Hills & Dales MetroPark, 2655 S Patterson Blvd, Kettering

Hills and Dales offers great picnic amenities, especially for large groups. (Source: Five Rivers MetroParks)

The Paw Paw Shelter has an elegant Adirondack design, fireplace, electricity and ADA flush toilets. An alcohol permit can be purchased. This is a good spot for larger groups (it seats up to 100).

>> Go camping in a MetroPark this summer

Possum Creek MetroPark, 4790 Frytown Rd, Dayton

Animals graze in fields at the farm at Possum Creek MetroPark. Possum Creek MetroPark Edible Farm is striving to become a leader in promoting small-scale food raising for the local community. LISA POWELL / STAFF(Staff Writer)

Follow the purple trail through the enchanted Argonne Forest where remnants of a once-vibrant entertainment center is now currently intermingled with moss, vines and old trees. Stop at the ballroom dance floor, spread out a blanket and enjoy a picnic lunch. There’s also a Hickory Shelter with an Argonne Lake view, fishing (no license required), hiking trails and a smaller-more intimate shelter.

>> The top places to go hiking in and around Dayton 

Taylorsville MetroPark, 2000 US-40, Vandalia

courtesy of:

There is a small remote picnic area about 1.25 miles north of the parking lot located at 2005 U.S. Rte. 40. The picnic spot is located at the remnants of the village of Tadmore, which was once the busiest crossroads in Montgomery County. The village was situated at the intersection of The Miami-Erie Canal, the National Road, the Dayton Michigan Railroad and the Great Miami River. Hike or bike the 1.25 miles on the Great Miami Recreational Trail, which is relatively flat and mostly shaded. If you are looking for a slightly more adventurous walk, you can walk along the tow path trail that parallels the bikeway. There’s also the CCC Shelter, featuring a rustic, secluded atmosphere, stone fireplace located near hiking trails.

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Twin Creek MetroPark, 9688 Eby Rd, Germantown

Twin Creek can be a destination for a romantic picnic for two or a fun, inexpensive day out for the whole family. (Source: Five Rivers MetroParks)

The High View Shelter offers panoramic and scenic views of the Twin Valley, access to nature trails and fishing (no license required) at Dogwood Pond. It’s an intimate, location for a romantic picnic (seats 15 max.) with great views. Up for a little family adventure? Pack a picnic lunch, park at the High View parking lot and enjoy a hike along the 2.9-mile yellow loop, stopping at Dogwood Pond for lunch along the way.

>> 7 sights to see within driving distance of Dayton

Wegerzyn Garden MetroPark, 1301 E Siebenthaler Ave, Dayton

Barb Bayliff of Harrison Twp. took this photo of a row of crabapples trees, showy in the Easter colors of purple and pink on April 12th at Wegerzyn Gardens MetroPark in Dayton.
Spend the day touring the formal gardens or visiting the Children’s Discovery Garden at Wegerzyn Gardens MetroPark. Make a day of it by staying for a picnic in the area that is available to the south of the gardens. A reservable shelter is also available.

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NEW DETAILS: Dayton restaurant up for sale

Published: Friday, May 25, 2018 @ 3:10 PM

Paradise Keys Cafe South  half a slab of ribs  dinner.
Paradise Keys Cafe
Paradise Keys Cafe South half a slab of ribs dinner.(Paradise Keys Cafe)

A Dayton restaurant that has closed may not be gone for good.

The owner of the recently closed Paradise Key Cafe location at 1060 Patterson Road in the Breitenstrater Plaza, is considering reopening it under a new concept or selling it, owner Larry Parr said. 

>> PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Dayton restaurant closes after less than 2 years

The asking price for the business is $75,000. 

“It is an option to sell, but we are still open to a new theme,” he said. 

Jennifer Lynn Jones, the restaurant’s chief executive officer, announced Thursday that the restaurant opened in December 2016 would close due to under performance. 

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“It didn’t matter what we tried to do; we just could not get the kind of party we had at our original location,” Jones said.

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The Key West-themed restaurant employed 13.

Jones said they have been offered jobs at the original Paradise Keys Cafe located at 3243 Needmore Road. 

The company began transforming the Patterson Road location into Paradise Key Cafe South from Cold Beer and Cheeseburgers  in October 2016. 

>> RELATED: New name, management changes coming to Dayton restaurant (Dec. 22, 2016) 

Parr said he hoped the location would be as successful as the Needmore restaurant, which is located near Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway

That business draws from nearby manufacturing companies. 

The Patterson Road restaurant never gained traction, said Parr, who is 71 and hopes to slow down.

“It wasn’t really performing up to our expectations,” he said. Our north store, across from the racino, it really cranks.”

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The former site of Cold Beer & Cheeseburgers, located at 1060 Patterson Road in Dayton, will soon become the Paradise Key Cafe South.(Contributed)


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Dayton restaurant closes after less than 2 years 

Published: Thursday, May 24, 2018 @ 3:14 PM

ARCHIVED PHOTO from 2011:  Bartender Dawn Booher, left, talks with co-owners Larry Parr, middle, and Eddie Holbrook, right, inside of  the Paradise Key Cafe  on Needmore Road in Dayton.
Teesha Mcclam/Dayton Daily News
ARCHIVED PHOTO from 2011: Bartender Dawn Booher, left, talks with co-owners Larry Parr, middle, and Eddie Holbrook, right, inside of the Paradise Key Cafe on Needmore Road in Dayton.(Teesha Mcclam/Dayton Daily News)

UPDATED: We talked with the owner of Paradise Key Cafe and learned about his plans to try to sell or reopen the business under a new concept. 

>> NEW DETAILS: Dayton restaurant up for sale

A Dayton restaurant celebrated for its chicken wings has closed one of its two Dayton locations. 

Paradise Key Cafe, 1060 Patterson Road in the Breitenstrater Plaza, has closed permanently. 

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A Facebook post from the restaurant’s chief executive officer Jennifer Lynn Jones reads as follows: 

“Public Announcement - With a heavy heart, I am sorry to announce that Paradise in Kettering has closed its doors due to under performance. When we took over, we had hoped to bring the party to this location, but we just couldn't quite get it to where it needed to be. I will miss every one of you deeply with all the laughs and good times and I hope that you will stop in, if not become a regular at our North Store which is still open. Who knows? Maybe we all can create better and more memories together there. Thank you to every one of you for being so loyal to us through all the troubles and I hope that you all will keep us in your hearts as I will surely keep you in mine.”

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The owners of the original Paradise Key Cafe located at 3243 Needmore Road in Dayton began transforming the Patterson Road location into Paradise Key Cafe South from Cold Beer and Cheeseburgers in late 2016. 

>> RELATED: New name, management changes coming to Dayton restaurant (Dec. 22, 2016) 

A message was left for management at the Needmore Road location seeking comment. 

Paradise Key’s original location is a former winner of the Miami Valley Restaurant Association’s Kickin’ Chicken Wing Festival at the Fraze.

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Beloved deli owners have retired, business has a new owner

Published: Friday, March 30, 2018 @ 5:16 PM
Updated: Friday, May 25, 2018 @ 10:26 AM

Must try sandwiches

The owners of a popular Dayton sandwich shop have hung up their spatulas and soup ladles. 

Rodney “Rod” Vangas said he and his wife, Becky, retired and sold Charlie’s Deli and Catering to Chris Raney of Dayton and his mother, Pat Jones of Beavercreek. 

“I’ve been doing this for 42 years. I want to retire. I am 63 years old,” Rodney said. “I don’t want to work anymore. My wife and I work six days a week. We are just worn out.”

He said he is leaving the business his father — the restaurant’s namesake Charlie Vangas — started in 1964 in good hands. 

The sale of the restaurant located at 429 Troy St. in Dayton was finalized Monday, April 2. 

The Reuben sandwich from Charlie’s Deli and Catering made with corned beef, swiss cheese, 1000 island dressing, Woeber horseradish mustard and sauerkraut, toasted and melted on rye bread. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY ALEXIS LARSEN

>> MORE: Dayton’s oldest deli will give you a Wild Willy, other gigantic sandwiches

Rod’s official retirement day was March 30, but he said he intends to consult Raney on Charlie’s.

“My wife and I are going to give these people our hard-earned recipes,” he said.

Those recipes include Rod’s sandwich creations, Becky’s soups and the 100-year-old cabbage roll recipe passed from Rod’s grandmother to his mother and down to Becky. 

Charlie’s Deli and Catering on Troy Street in Dayton. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY ALEXIS LARSEN

Raney, the former proprietor of Chris Cafe at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, said he is excited to continue and add to Charlie’s legacy in North Dayton.  

“These are big shoes to fill and I plan on filling them,” he said. “The people love to come to Charlie’s because they love Charlie’s.  I want them to continue to come.”

Raney, a 1992 Stebbins High School graduate, said he plans to keep Charlie’s menu and add a few sandwiches of his own creation. 

Four people, including the Vangases, currently work at Charlie’s.

>> 5 of the best Cuban sandwiches in Dayton 

Raney expects that number to remain the same.  

Eventually he said he hopes to add a full-service, sit-down breakfast. 

Married 36 years, the Vangases have barely taken any vacations due to their dedication to running Charlie’s.

Rodney said that is about to change.

“We’ve always worried about our kid and then we’ve always worried about our customers. Now it’s time to worry about us,” he said. 

Trips to visit their youngest son Craig in Atlanta are in the cards as are trips to visit Wichita, Kansas, to see Rodney’s brother and to St. Louis to visit Becky’s sister. 

The couple will be taking their grandkids to Monacan State Park and visiting a niece in Denver and a nephew in Raleigh, N.C. 

Rodney, a food lover, is particularly excited to visit a niece in Manhattan. He’s never had a chance to go. 

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“We’ve never been able to travel and visit anyone. They have always come here,” he said. “I can’t wait.” 

Rodney, the youngest of five siblings, bought Charlie’s from his father in 1982. 

He left behind his studies at Ohio State University 42 years ago when his dad became ill and said he needed help running the store. 

“I just stayed here,” he said. “I liked it.”

He and Becky started transforming Charlie’s into a deli and catering businesses in the early 1980s. 

Over the years, Charlie’s has won praise by the local media — the “Dayton Daily News” and included — and its loyal customers. 

Charlie’s won third place for Best Deli in the 2017 Best of Dayton people’s choice contest.

>> Best of Dayton 2017 Winners: Food & Dining

“It is incredibly satisfying when people say ‘that was the best sandwich I have ever had’,” Rodney said. “Things like that just keep your passion going.” 

He recalled the day a customer cried after hearing a rumor that the deli was closing. 

Charlie's Deli take on a Cuban sandwich(Photo: Amelia Robinson)

 Rodney said running a “mom and pop”  has required him and his wife to come in when they have been sick and “work hardest during holidays when everyone else is having fun.” 

He said he never wanted his sons to work in the deli. Instead, Rodney said he encouraged them to complete college and have professional careers. 

Chris Vangas, a Columbus resident, is a teacher and coach at Saint Mary School in German Village. 

Craig Vangas is a trade analyst in Atlanta, his father said. 

Rodney said he will miss Charlie’s. 

“It is kind of bittersweet that we are leaving, but we want to do things we’ve never done before like taking a vacation,” Rodney said. 

>> 9 must-try sandwiches in Dayton


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