We have vendors offer to take us out to lunch once in a while at work and it seems that after they visited Milanos once for lunch, they question quickly changed from "Do you want to meet for lunch?" to "Wanna grab a sandwich at Milanos?". The point of this is that I know several people who love grabbing a bite at Milanos while they are in town. And I agree, never had anything bad there whether it be a sub, Pizza, or Calzone.
I am not a fan of Spinoza's at all. Yeah, the beer selection is good...but the couple of times I have been there has been highlighted by bad service and sparsely-topped pizzas. I also haven't been impressed for a decade by Old Hickory.
Places I like? For burgers I like Tanks. BBQ? Hickory River in Tipp City (not sure if it's independent or not). Artisan's Cafe in Englewood is rather awesome, especially for healthy fare. Steaks at the Pine Club and Oakwood Club are still top-notch.
Dayton isn't the best place for awesome, independent cuisine...but there are some diamonds in the rough.
I have never heard of Hickory River...Is it a sit down spot?
S_beckerle...yeah, Hickory River Smokehouse is a sit down joint right off of 75 in Tipp City. I'm pretty sure it's in an old Arby's or something. They've updated it though, and the Texas-style BBQ is ridiculously good. Oh, they rock a drive-thru as well.
Troni's in Kettering is a great little place for Italian food. Great ambiance to take someone special.
If you like Mederterranian food, try the Pasha Grill at the Greene. It's mostly Turkish cuisine and is quite good! They have a great lunch special for $10 for a 3 course meal. I'm a big eater and I'm stuffed after their lunches. They also have a Turkish beer called Efes that's pretty good.
Also Mederterranian is the newly opened House of Kabob on St. Rt. 48 in Centerville. It's just a couple of doors down from Bill's Donuts, across from Incarnation Church. I ate there a few nights ago and it was pretty good as well (although not as good as Pasha Grill).
If bar food is more your style, then head to Miamisburg! Just head West on St. Rt. 725, away from the Dayton Mall.
TJ Chumps is a great place to go in the Summer. They have a great patio area to hang out and they have huge fans that keep the air moving. Their burgers are really good and they have great wings! Their beer selection isn't the best if you like "craft beers" but they have a good selection of domestics.
Also in Miamisburg is Bullwinkle's Bistro. Again, a limited selection of craft beer but they do have nightly specials. Monday is $1 burger night so you and your sig other can eat a couple of burgers, with sides and each have a drink or two for around $20. I think Wednesday is all you can eat ribs for $20. They have a patio too but it's pretty small.
Ron's Pizza in Miamisburg has pretty decent pizza although they're not my favorite. I haven't had anything else from there. They also have a patio but when we went there it was full of smokers and, unlike Chumps, they had no fans to keep the air moving.
If you like beer, head to Chappy's in the West Carrollton area. They're located on W. Alex Bell Rd, just about a 1/3 mile east of Rt. 741 (by the Meijer store). Awesome selection of craft beer!! But they're proud of that selection and you can run up a hefty tab in a short period of time.
Chappy's has good ribs (although not as good as Hickory River and City BBQ). I think the best thing on their menu is their fried chicken. OMG!! The batter is very light and is awesome!! A 4 piece fried chicken dinner with 2 sides will set you back about $15.
Another place that's surprisingly good for BBQ is the BBQ Hut on Wilmington Pike in Kettering. They're close to the intersection of Wilmington and Stroop. I had a filet there a couple of months ago that was out of this world. And it was only like $12 for the meal. They don't serve alcohol anymore (sold their liquor license) but don't let that stop you.