Beavercreek eatery is sweet with homestyle classics
By Brian P. Sharp
These cool fall days are perfect for feel-good foods like meatloaf or a pot of chili or even apple crisp. However, with our busy lives sometimes we just don’t have the time to make them ourselves. That’s a perfect opportunity to find little out-of-the-way restaurants with home cooking filled with fresh ingredients. One of those little “come as you are” places is just a quick drive to Beavercreek at 1241 Meadow Bridge Dr. Tucked behind the newest Kroger mega-store on Dayton-Xenia Road is a little strip center that houses a pizza place and the Cherry House Café. While it’s not about fancy art and table linens it is about great food.
I had heard so much about it from friends that I decided to take the short drive and see what this little gem was all about. When my friend Steve and I arrived the parking lot was full and so was the dining room — always a good sign! We seated ourselves in the overflow dining room off to the side of the main dining room. I had reasons for wanting to sit in the main dining room — mainly because of the case of fresh baked goods that you can eat there or take home. The specials board listed a fish dish and meatloaf as tonight’s specials. Tempting.
We took our seats and started to look over the menu. While the menu is not exactly huge, it does offer everything from breakfast to dinner items. This is certainly a restaurant that specializes in sandwiches. There are cold offerings, hot sandwiches and burgers as well as plenty of side options that include soup, salad, fries, onion rings and even broccoli cherry nut salad (a house specialty). Not exactly what I pictured for a dinner menu, but I was still willing to be optimistic.
We started with an appetizer of fried pickles – risky in some restaurants because they can be heavily breaded or even too hot to eat. These however were still crisp, breaded and seasoned lightly, served with ranch dressing. We are off to a great start. Then I chose the soup of the day which was Chicken Pot Pie and Steve chose a side salad. The soup was creamy and full of chicken and vegetables – just as you would expect from Mom’s chicken pot pie, but without the crust. The salad was crisp, topped with cheese, croutons, tomatoes, onions and cucumber. Nothing fancy, but the perfect small house salad to start the meal.
For our entrées we went with sandwiches. Now this selection didn’t really feel like dinner to me, but you don’t always need steak and potatoes to make a great meal. Sometimes all you want is a sandwich. I chose a cold sandwich – Cherry Apricot Chicken Salad. Just typing it makes me want it again. It was a creamy base – almost buttery – chicken salad, not full of mayonnaise but with little bits of sweetness as you would bite into a dried cherry or dried apricot. It was served on a fresh croissant (fresh, not frozen) with a side of housemade potato chips and a cookie (but only if you order the “basket”). Steve ordered a hot sandwich – the Reuben – another risky move when not ordering at a self-proclaimed “deli.” However, this was a decent example of a non-kosher reuben. Served on light rye the corned beef was topped with sauerkraut, swiss cheese and thousand island dressing. This too was served with housemade chips.
There are certainly dinner style options that are priced in the $8 range, rather than sandwiches, that vary from Pasta Primavera to Lasagna or even the features of the evening like Meatloaf or the fish special. The cold sandwiches vary from a basic turkey club or tuna salad to the chicken salad option mentioned above. All of the cold sandwiches are in the $6 range – for $7 you get the basket and for another $1 you can get the housemade chips. Not a bad deal for $8. The hot sandwiches too are $6 or $8 with all the trimmings – and vary from a cheesesteak to pulled pork BBQ to a “House of Blues” chicken that has grilled onions, parmesan, swiss and bleu cheeses. The burgers are also $6 and vary from the classic cheeseburger to a portabella burger, veggie burger or even the house specialty Cherry House Burger with cherry bourbon sauce.
After dinner, make sure to save some room for the café’s housemade cookies like chocolate chunk, oatmeal raisin and peanut butter – then there are some specialties like pecan sandy, cherry white chocolate, Heath Bar crunch and cherry “house” cookies.
Cherry House Café is a family owned and operated restaurant. Its owners Bill and Annette Mangan have well over 50 years experience in the food service industry. Previously, Bill and Annette owned the Peasant Stock Cafes from 1987 through 1996 with locations at both the Dayton and Salem Malls. From 1997 through 2005, they owned the Oasis Café in Xenia. The atmosphere is quite distinctive in today’s cookie-cutter franchise environment.
The menu served at Cherry House Café reflects years of experience working with some of the best chefs in the Dayton area. Daily specials allow Bill and Annette the opportunity to showcase the unique and flavorful dishes created over the years. In addition, the menu is updated regularly in order to offer new and appetizing selections to their customers.
Look for Bill and Annette at Cherry House Café, where the goal every day is to provide a charming and satisfying dining experience.
Who wants to join me for a cherry and apricot chicken salad croissant?
The Cherry House Café is located at 1241 Meadow Bridge Dr. in Beavercreek. Call (937) 320-6200.
Reach DCP food critic Brian P. Sharp at Theatre@DaytonCityPaper.com.