Tradition continues at Grub Steak
by Brian P. Sharp
Grub Steak has been a Dayton tradition since 1963. Originally one of a number of fine restaurants on the North Main corridor — restaurants like Brown Derby, Suttmiller’s and the Tropics — Grub Steak is the only one of that group to survive. Grub Steak is now tucked into a strip center on Alex Road in West Carrollton, serving the same traditions that were originally served in the North Main Street location just north of downtown Dayton.
Who could forget the stained glass window in the door at the back of the restaurant or the stained glass-backed fireplace you could see from the Main Street side of the restaurant? The restaurant evolved over the years into a full-service joint. The original owners developed what is known and patented as “Royal Ribs,” a house specialty. These Royal Ribs are all of the taste without the mess of barbecue ribs. Royal Ribs are a barbecue–topped entrée made of the finest pork loin and served on wooden skewers. Grub Steak still cuts all of its steaks on-premise. There is hot bread made from scratch and homemade salad dressings that can be purchased to take home. One of the other traditions that remain is Fred Fiebiger the ever-present manager since 1977. Fred and his wife Sheila purchased the restaurant in 1998 and then relocated the restaurant to its current location in 2009.
My friend Steve and I headed to Grub Steak for dinner. We were greeted and seated quickly. We were thrilled to be served by Tina, who has worked in other great restaurants. She, too, is a Dayton tradition. The atmosphere is comfortable with a full-service bar and a fireplace in the dining room.
The menu is full of options. Appetizer selections include fried cauliflower served with a plum sauce, shrimp cocktail, crab cakes, loaded potato skins and onion rings, and range in price from $3.95 to $7.95. Salads and soups vary, too – Caesar salad, chef’s salad and traditional green salad are complimented with a soup of the day or French onion soup. Soups and salads range in price from $2.95 to $8.95. There are many entrée options that vary from sandwiches to seafood. Entrée prices range from $8.95 for sandwiches to $25.95 for the 8 oz. filet, with many options in the $13 to $15 range.
Our selections were made. We started with appetizers. Steve ordered the shrimp cocktail while the French onion soup was my preference. The shrimp cocktail looked great, although the cocktail sauce was a bit mild for our taste, but no worries … Tina came to the rescue. She mixed up a hotter version herself and brought it to the table. Now that is service! The French onion soup was served with the cheese still bubbling on top, just the way I like it.
Our salads came next. One came with a creamy peppercorn dressing (homemade) and mine with creamy garlic, just as great as I remembered. The bread was served piping hot in a basket with a side of real butter. Yes, the good stuff. For our entrées, Steve chose the filet of beef and Royal Ribs dinner, I chose the combination Royal Ribs and Chicken Royale (served like the Royal Ribs on skewers).
There is a fine art to serving and not rushing. Tina has it mastered. She gave us the time necessary to casually finish our appetizers and salad before the dinner was brought to the table. The bus staff is quick to refill a drink or pick up a dirty dish.
Our entrées were served hot and full of flavor. The filet perfectly prepared and paired with the Royal Ribs. Complimented by a sweet potato and creamed spinach. The other entrée combination of Royal Ribs and Chicken Royale came with a bit of a twist; the Royal Ribs with barbecue sauce and the Chicken Royale with a Mandarin sauce. These were served with choice of potato or vegetable.
There are many options for sides with dinner and they range from potatoes, vegetables, stewed tomatoes and rice pilaf. There are other side options like corn fritters served with syrup that are a crowd pleaser and a great choice for dessert. Extra sides can be added for $1.95.
The flavors are rich and the service superb. If you haven’t been to Grub Steak since they’ve relocated, you really are missing out on a Dayton gem rich in tradition. Take the quick 15-minute drive from downtown Dayton to 2098 S. Alex Rd. in West Carrollton, just minutes from the Dayton Mall exit off I-75.
Who wants to join me for some Royal Ribs?
Reach DCP food critic
Brian P. Sharp at