More than just beer: Downtown’s Lock 27


Lock 27’s Bacon Bites (left) with honey mustard and Pierogies with sour cream.

By Paula Johnson

It’s been more than three years since I reviewed Lock 27 Brewing’s original location on Main Street in Centerville. When I discovered that owner Steve Barnhart had plans to develop a location in the downtown Dayton area, I was delighted. Downtown needs restaurants to locate there, beyond the already jumping Oregon District. Lock 27 Brewing selected a location right next to Fifth Third Field, home of the ever-popular Dayton Dragons. The building houses not only a restaurant and bar, but the brewery, which offers some fun-sounding tours.

Parking Pain
The restaurant’s interior space is urban industrial warehouse in feel, with some private table seating and a lot of long family-style tables, as well as a large bar. The main problem with the new location was evident upon its opening, and it’s a big one: parking. Lock 27 doesn’t have its own lot (those small surrounding lots are private) and there’s a miserly number of street parking spaces available in the immediate vicinity. On an additional note, no signage exists on First Street, which is the restaurant’s address, but the entrance is on the north side of the Delco Lofts building (check the map on their webpage). As to the parking problem, there was talk of Lock 27 starting a valet service after a Facebook poll of patrons. Are they going to do it? “Unknown” was the
answer given.

So drinkers and diners be warned: it ain’t easy to find it or park, but trust me, it’s worth the challenge. PIP (Palate In Progress) and I arrived on a hopping Saturday night to find a 45-minute wait. I asked about eating at the bar, and our eagle eye hostess snagged us some spots after a brief few minutes. We gratefully settled in and were presented with menus, noticing most everyone around us was dining, too. I am happy to note that all the bar staff greeted us, and we received exemplary service from everyone, not just bartender Alyssa, who did an outstanding job of tending to us. (I’m putting Lock 27 on my list of places with a great bar to eat comfortably at.)

Rubbing Me Right
We discovered that the main menu is the same as the Centerville location, with daily dining specials and soups being the difference. I decided to go with some of my standby favorites (for quality control of course) and expand with a few new things. Lock 27’s wings are hands down my (and PIP’s) choice for best in Dayton. Theirs are smoked and dry rubbed for an outstanding sweet spicy taste and crisp skin texture, and I would have ordered them immediately, but Alyssa mentioned that same rub is what’s used on chicken for the Chicken and Waffles ($16.00). The chicken is a generous half bird with two delicious Leige waffles served with bourbon-infused maple syrup. Sold! That was for me, and a Keener Burger ($15.00) for PIP. Keener Farms furnishes beef to some of Dayton’s best dining spots. I like that Lock 27 supports local providers like Keener Farms as well as Boosalis Baking and Brezel’s Pretzels. And they make most everything in house, two important reasons they rank with me.

We began with a must order, Pierogies ($12.00), and something new, Bacon Bites ($7.00). I’ve long been a pierogie fan, and Lock 27’s cheesy, potatoey, doughy pockets are perfect. They top them with browned garlicky onions and bacon bits and serve them with sour cream. The Bacon Bites were tasty little nubbins of baked wrapped jalapeno cheese, with a house-made grainy mustard honey dipping sauce.

Sauce Boss
This brings me to one of Lock 27’s strongest suits—sauces, all house made and all worth exploring. Their excellent fries come with three sauces, a chipotle ketchup, sage pesto mayonnaise, and a cayenne spiced mustard. I saved the honey mustard from the Bacon Bites, and Alyssa brought over a Parmesan ranch style sauce to try. PIP and I were in sauce and French fry nirvana, with the cayenne mustard slightly edging out the pesto as our favorite.

Pierogies AND fries in the same meal? You betcha! The trade-off was not having room for the terrific oatmeal stout ice cream topped brownie or an adult root beer float, both of which I’ve had and loved.

Bottom line on Lock 27: It’s worth the parking pain, though I do hope for a valet service for more frequent hassle-free visits!

Lock 27 (Dayton)
Cuisine: 49/50
Value: 24/25
Service: 25/25
Total Rating: 98

 

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Paula Johnson
Dayton City Paper Dining Critic Paula Johnson would like every meal to start with a champagne cocktail and end with chocolate soufflé. As long as there’s a greasy burger and fries somewhere in the middle. Talk food with Paula at PaulaJohnson@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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