Last night Dayton’s newest restaurateurs, James and Cammie Harris, hosted a small open house for their neighbors at the St. Clair Lofts (and me) to christen downtown Dayton’s newest business. Setting up a table of homemade baked treats that included an assortment of cheesecakes; a triple chocolate, lemon curd and apple strudle, as well as a spice crumb cake and strawberry whoopie pies. Tables and booths lined the south side of the business, with art from local artists adorning the walls. A large counter backed with shelves to be lined with home baked goods take up the northern side of the building, with the kitchen behind.
Over coffee and pizza, Cammie shared with us that when she and James lived in Evansville, she’d operated a wine bar and pastry shop and James shared that his first restaurant was a BBQ joint. The Harris family moved to Dayton when James got a job with Dayton Public Schools, but after leaving that job, James considered some east coast offers, but the family ultimately decided that they liked Dayton and the restaurant business and thus Serendipity Bistro was born. It’s evident that this will be a family business, as son Noah and daughter Ella were on hand to help great the guests and bus tables. James told us that at one of his previous restaurants Noah figured out that people would give him money for clearing plates and a young entrepreneur was born.
Serendipity will be starting out slowly, and will open this week at 25 S. St Clair Street just for lunch from 11am – 2:30pm serving :
- Fresh Spinach, Mozzarella & Mushroom
- Margherita – Mozzarella & Tomato
- Caprice – Olive Oil, Minced Garlic, Mozzarella-
Fontina Blend, Fresh Basil, Roma Tomato
- Spinach, Feta, Olives, Sundried Tomato
- BBQ Chicken with Caramelized Onion
- Veggie Delight – Seasonal Selections
- Goat Cheese, Bacon, Mushroom
- Sausage, Red Onion, Mushroom
- Spicy Pesto, Tomato, Mozzarella
- Parmsean, argula and prosciutto.
- Tomato & Mozzarella
- Turkey and Provolone
- Ham & Cheese
Classic Bistro Sandwiches
- Roast Pork with Provolone
- Honey Ham and Swiss
- Smoked Turkey with Paprika Mayo and Roasted Bell Peppers
- Grilled Cheese
- Homemade Chicken Salad
- Southern Club
- Turkey and Cranberry Chutney
- Italian Hoagie
The menu lists 9 homemade soups, and Cammie shared with a laugh, “My husband didn’t consult me when he put all those on the menu, we may start with just a couple of soups, since I have to make all those.” She looks forward to when their wine license arrives in a week or so and they’ll be ableto invite guests to join them before or after the theatre or a movie. They’ll also host wine tasting, acoustic music nights and even poetry slams. While Cammie is the baker in the family, she said they’ll also be looking to work with other local bakers to help fill the retail shelves in the the store so customers can grab and go. Their first partnership is with Langford’s Gourmet Cookies, with a display retailing oatmeal walnut raisin. chunky chocolate chip and nutty peanut butter cookies as well as a sour cream poundcake.
For now Serendipity Bistro will be open for lunch, then eventually they’ll add early morning hours and eventually dinner. Stop by and welcome them to the neighborhood by grabbing a quick bite. To keep up with their progress, be sure and like their page on Facebook.
UPDATE- Tues 11:30am: Just spoke with James, he says they will actually open up at 7am Wed morning serving coffee, sweet rolls and muffins, followed up by lunch service until 2:30pm.