Two heavy hitters in the Dayton festival world go head to head every year for attendance the weekend after Labor Day. These 2 festivals are the Greek Festival and the Italian Festival. Why do they both hold their big events on the same weekend? We don’t know, but we do know that when asked if they would move the festival to another weekend, both sides aren’t budging.
We decided to compare the festivals under our favorite topic.. FOOD. What happens when these two ancient nations and cultures collide in a battle of the culinary worlds? The food Adventures Crew asks you, Dayton…
Chef House, Hungry Jax and The Big Ragu have decided to put decades of eating experience at each festival to the test, with the most definitive and exhaustive comparison to date. Most of these foods only come around once a year, so our mouths have been watering for months.
Which festival is the better Food Adventure?
HERE’S THE SKINNY:
— Dayton’s Italian Festival, called the “Fall Festa” by the people at the Sons of Italy is held at Bella Villa Hall at 2625 County Line Road.
Friday, Sept. 11 – 6pm to 11pm
Saturday, Sept. 12 – Noon to 11pm
Sunday, Sept. 13 – Noon to 8pm
***Admission and Parking are free. Shuttle service available for parking from Reynolds & Reynolds lot.
— Dayton’s Greek Festival is held at the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church at 500 Belmonte Park, North (next to Dayton Art Institute)
Friday, Sept. 11 – 11am to 11pm
Saturday, Sept. 12 – 11am to 11pm
Sunday, Sept. 13 – 11am to 6pm
***Admission: Friday from 11 am to 5 pm admission is FREE (come for lunch). The rest of the weekend, admission is $2 per person, children 12 years and under are free, Parking is free on streets surrounding the church. Shuttle service available from Grandview Hospital, Shaw Avenue. Grafton Medical Center Parking Lot on Forest Avenue and Eye Clinic Parking Lot,Grand Avenue.
Time to lace up the gloves and put the napkins in your collar.. let’s find out who has the best food !
The Battle of the MUST EATS at the ITALIAN FEST vs. GREEK FEST HAS BEGUN !
*** ICONIC MAINSTAYS ***:
GREEK GYRO vs THE ITALIAN SAUSAGE SANDWICH
GREEK PASTITSIO vs ITALIAN CALZONES
GREEK MOUSSAKA vs ITALIAN MEATBALL SUB
GREEK PIZZAS vs ITALIAN PIZZAS
Chef House: Greece wins battle of the mainstays –
Big Ragu: Greece wins – The Gyro takes the cake and outshines them all
Hungry Jax: Italy wins battle of the mainstays – Meatball sub, please !
*** FULL BLOWN DINNERS*** :
ITALIAN STUFFED SHELLS DINNER vs GREEK LAMB SHANK DINNER
ITALIAN SPAGHETTI & MEATBALLS vs GREEK CHICKEN DINNER
Chef House: Greece wins battle of the dinners with the Lamb Shank choice
Big Ragu: Italy wins with Stuffed Shells all day long
Hungry Jax: Greece wins the dinner battle in a close one
***OFF THE BEATEN FOOD PATH***:
GREEK DOLMADES (STUFFED GRAPE LEAVES) vs ITALIAN WEDDING SOUP
GREEK TRIGONAS (SPINAKOPITA) vs ITALIAN CAVATELLI
Chef House: Greece wins, I love the Spinakopita the Dolmades are wonderful !
Big Ragu: Italy wins as Cavatelli has my heart !
Hungry Jax: Italy wins the off the beaten path battle. I want some wedding soup !
*** WINES, BEERS & MORE ***:
ITALIAN PERONI BEER vs GREEK MARATHON BEER
ITALIAN RED MORETTI BEER and GREEK ALFA BEER
ITALIAN WINES vs GREEK WINES
ITALIAN RASPBERRY SPARKLETINI vs OUZO
Chef House: Greece wins, fuller tasting beer, Ouzo and I love their wines
Big Ragu: Italy wins because of the Sparkletini but tell the boss that the Moretti regular lager is sorely missing
Hungry Jax: Italy wins the battle of the wines, beers and more…
*** DESSERTS AND PASTRIES ***:
GREEK BAKLAVA vs ITALIAN CANNOLI
GREEK LOUKOUMADES (HONEY PUFFS) vs ITALIAN TIRAMISU
GREEK PASTRY BOOTH vs ITALIAN COOKIE BOOTH
Chef House: Greece wins the dessert battle – the baklava and pastry booth is amazing.
Big Ragu: Italy wins – lock me in a room with Tiramisu and Cannoli
Hungry Jax: Italy all the way in the desserts and pastry battle
What is your take on who has the better food? Tell us with your comments below.
In the meantime here are 3 little known eats from each festival that are some of our favorites:
GREEK FEST –
BAKLAVA SUNDAE – Maybe the best thing at Greek Fest
GREEK FRIES – lemon juice drizzled with seasonings make this a nice treat
GREEK LEMONADE – Refreshing on a festival day – add a little alcohol to boot
ITALIAN FEST –
RASPBERRY SPARKLETINI CHAMPAGNE – this stuff is the most addicting thing at the festivals
PASTA FAGIOLI SOUP – Dark horse of good eats
SFINGI – Italian funnel cake – see if they will deep fry a cannoli for ya too !
On a non-food note, Chef House wants to make sure that the Greek Fest gets a shout out for the incredible dancers. The Big Ragu loves the band led by George Karras. Hungry Jax has been known to cut a rug at the Italian Festival to some traditional Italian American classic songs as well.
We learned one thing today – YOU CANT LOSE WITH A FOOD ADVENTURE TO EITHER FESTIVAL.. YOU JUST HAVE TO KNOW WHAT TO EAT !!
Browse the photos below for a full view of the festival foods !