Just a 15-minute drive from the Dayton Mall in Germantown is a little restaurant and bar called Mudlick Tap House. You enter this restaurant from a charming patio. There is a cozy bar area and two dining rooms where you can relax around old barrels turned into tables with table tops made from old doors and reclaimed wood. Most of the seating is bar stools. 

Thanks to a commitment from Lee Anne House, this restaurant is keeping it local—the menu (which she designed) is diverse and many ingredients are from right here in the Dayton area. You can try items from Stardancer Creamery, A Bit of a Bite Salsa, HouseMade Sriracha, Ashley’s Pastry Shop, Smales Bakery, Dot’s Market, Hydro Growers, Ken Miller’s Eggs and Schearer’s Potato Chips without ever leaving the restaurant. 

My friend Ben and I happened into Mudlick Tap House on a Friday evening recently. Greeted immediately and seated in one of the casual dining rooms, we were offered a drink menu full of beer options (more local) and housemade cocktails. 

Drinks were ordered as well as a couple of appetizer options. The list of starters is lengthy and range in price from $5 to $12. Our choice was a housemade pimento cheese spread and crackers. Somehow pimento cheese spreads bring back memories of childhood with those little glass jars with metal lids that popped off (and later became juice glasses) of pimento cheese spread. This was certainly a kicked up version of an old favorite. This has a bit of a pickled edge and HouseMade Sriracha, and is served with crackers or celery and carrots (if you prefer a gluten-free option). This was delicious—I just kept going back for more. I’ve never met a schmear that I didn’t like! 

We also ordered pretzels and bier cheese. This version is made with Dayton’s own Smales Bakery soft pretzels and served with a side of housemade bier cheese. Certainly, between cocktails and these two appetizers, we could have stopped, but we didn’t. 

Other appetizer options include things like chips and salsa, meatballs, hummus, caramelized herbed onion dip and a dippin’ bruschetta. 

There are salad options, sliders, sandwiches and sweet options also on this menu.

Ben chose beef sliders—these were red wine braised beef with caramelized onion aioli and melted Havarti cheese served on local buns with the choice of a side. Ben chose the pickled jalapeño mac and cheese. 

My dinner was bourbon-braised chicken, braised in Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale with spiced aioli (which was amazing), Havarti cheese and sweet red slaw. The meal is usually served on an Ashley’s pretzel bun, but I needed to save any calories that I could since I also chose a side of pickled jalapeño mac and cheese. 

All of this said, this is a great little stop in a sleepy town to not just kick back and have a nice meal, but also support a lot of other local businesses.

I went to Mudlick Tap House hoping to see their chef Lee Anne House, but was both shocked (and thrilled) to learn that she had left (that was the shock) and has started out on her own venture with a food cart called Bad Dog. Lee Anne is doing this with Brian Johnson, with whom she is also working on the Night Market in downtown Dayton. Once again Lee Anne’s desire to keep things local shines through. She uses Keenoer all-beef hot dogs, Ashley’s Pastry shop buns and of course her HouseMade Sriracha sauces. You can find the Bad Dog cart making appearances all over Dayton, from The Night Market to the local Food Truck Rally. 

Lee Anne is no stranger to the kitchen and it shows, having grown up in a food family with ties to Oregon Express, the original Lincoln Park Grille and Thirsty Dog. 

So, if you feel like a casual sit-down dinner, take the short drive to Germantown and visit Mudlick Tap House (they also have a great Sunday brunch). If you are bit more adventurous, get on Facebook and “like” Bad Dog food truck. You can keep up with where you can find them.