As a kid, I grew up on Chef Boyardee’s Lasagna. You know the kind. It came in a box with a can of sauce, powdered cheese, and lasagna noodles. It was fast, easy, and not terribly delicious. When my parents wanted real lasagna, we drove to Lebanon and ate at the Tavern. It was the best lasagna in town. It was a single serving in a metal pan, covered in tons of melted stringy cheese, bubbling with housemade sauce and it arrived with a mini loaf of french bread doused in garlic butter. My parents loved this place and I loved the lasagna.
I found it! We are surrounded by great Italian food here in Dayton.
Starting south of town I worked my way across the county and here is my report.
Great lasagna isn’t far away. In Kettering, we have an abundance for every taste. While locals are divided between Jimmy’s Italian Kitchen on Woodman or Troni’s on Dorothy Lane, one thing is clear, the sauce is fresh and full of flavor. $8.99 gets you enough lasagna to demand an afternoon nap. Troni’s has a great salad and house dressing for their lunch special, Jimmy’s serves soup alongside their lunch. Troni’s delivered with pasta that was cooking perfectly and sauce with spice. Order extra garlic knots. Jimmy’s sauce is chunkier, which I like, and the rolls are soft and buttery, but I wanted the garlic and didn’t get it.
I drove past Mamma Disalvo’s on the way to these two stops. The lasagna there is 100% Mama’s. The sauce is thicker, sweeter, and made with love. Mama’s lasagna is like my grandmas. The ricotta is noticeable and the pasta is cooked perfectly and still has a bite to it. It is covered in mozzarella and baked off to perfection. Order extra bread, you don’t want to leave any of that sauce on the plate.
For folks up north you aren’t far from great layered pasta and cheese either. Folks know Giovanni’s in Fairborn for their pizza and subs. Skip the pizza, order the lasagna. Portions large enough to share, you won’t want to but you could, and dinner prices make it so you can get the antipasto plate beforehand. Dinner is $13.00 with salad and housemade Italian bread.