For 11 years, this popular spot has been serving consistent, satisfying cuisine whose quality and execution have remained consistent despite so many disruptors in the restaurant industry and the world at large. It’s easy to take for granted that a special local restaurant like this is able to do that day-to-day, week-to-week, month-to-month, and year-to-year.
“I am proud that we have come through Covid and very uncertain times. As a family business, you can only rely on yourself. We attribute our survival to a fantastic support team, consistently providing a quality dining experience and wonderful community support,” said Sue Brandell, who owns and operates it with her husband Jimmie Brandell. “Increasing overheads have been a challenge for us, like everyone else. We strive to provide the same level of excellent food and service as we have for the past 11 years.
The restaurant has long maintained its dine-in hours and continues to be open seven days a week, which is certainly not the standard in the restaurant industry nationally or locally.
They’re probably best known for their amazing paisano pasta chips ($13 for a full order, $10 for a half order) which look like a version of Italian nachos with fried lasagna noodles topped with provolone and mozzarella cheeses, onions , peppers, Italian sausage and sun-dried tomatoes, then baked and covered in an asiago cream sauce. Decadent, delicious and worth the calorie burn.
The expansive menu is packed with dishes – almost 100 in total – that are not to be missed. In addition to familiar favorites, they also offer daily specials which can be found on the restaurant’s social media account as well as cocktails and seasonal dishes.
“This year, we’re donating a portion of every meal served to Disabled Veterans of America on our anniversary, which is Veterans Day,” said Nick Brandell, son of Jimmie and Sue and general manager of the restaurant.
Nick’s brother Jason is a trained chef who runs the kitchen and develops seasonal menus. It is definitely a family business filled with passion, love and pride.
Here are 11 reasons to go to Jimmie’s Ladder 11 when you get the chance:
1) Owner Jimmie Brandell. Let’s just say he’s a legend in the Dayton restaurant industry. He started in the restaurant business at the age of 16 and worked his way up to manager of the Upper Krust restaurant under the guidance of his mentor, Jack Rouda. Rouda was the founder of the Upper Krust restaurants, well known for their overloaded deli sandwiches. In 2004, Brandell opened Jimmie’s Cornerstone Bar & Grille at 1001 Brown Street in Dayton. It was a place known for good bar food and late night entertainment. He moved across the street creating Jimmie’s Ladder 11 on November 11, 2011. Jack’s Special on the menu is a sandwich honoring Rouda featuring oven roasted beef, tomato, coleslaw and Russian dressing on a grilled hoagie roll ($12)
2) Family Owned and Exploited. The next generation is now helping to pick up the slack with Brandell’s sons now working in the kitchen and behind the bar.
3) The map. Jimmie’s Ladder 11 has something for everyone. Its menu includes five full pages filled with fantastic options for all types of eaters. They aim to please and they do that with a fun menu to explore.
4) Sharables. There are great appetizers that are perfect for sharing with friends. Start with the aforementioned Paisano Pasta Chips or Creole Cheesecake ($14), a savory mix of andouille sausage, smoked gouda, cream cheese, onions and red peppers served with warm pita chips and go from there.
5) New fall features. They include an orchard salad consisting of mixed greens topped with sliced apples, blue cheese, red onions and dried cranberries ($8 for a small and $13 for a large), onion soup ($7) , potato and cheddar pierogies topped with caramelized onions and applewood smoked bacon ($12) turkey and ham fondue ($12) topped with cheddar cheese and stewed apples served on toasted wheat bread and a butternut squash ravioli entrée served with a side salad and garlic bread ($16, add chicken or sausage, $3).
6) Hours. Jimmie’s is open seven days a week, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
7) Beautiful historical structure. Jimmie’s Ladder 11 was named for the former fire station it is located in and the firefighters serving Dayton. The building housed Engine House #11 which was completed in 1892 and was one of the last horse-drawn businesses in Dayton.
8) Large with plenty of seating inside. The two-story structure with 6,000 square feet of space can accommodate approximately 85 people.
9) Excellent drinks. From draft beer to wine to seasonal cocktails, it’s a great place to relax and grab a refreshment. The restaurant has two stainless steel draft systems – one inspired by the Silsby horse-drawn steam engine and the other created from an early 1900s fire hydrant. For their 11th anniversary , they will feature beers from Branch and Bone Brewery, Warped Wing Brewery and New Belgium Brewery.
10) Classic dishes. Examples include Momma Lucy’s Meatballs ($13), Ladder 11 Lasagna ($20), and Ladder 11 Sandwich ($14), which is grilled corned beef, grilled pastrami, coleslaw and Russian vinaigrette served on rye or hoagie bread.
11) Varied selection of excellent sandwiches and salads. This is a fantastic place for a casual lunch or dinner. My favorite salad is Dr. Saidel’s salad ($11 large, $8 small) with a bed of greens topped with feta cheese, Greek olives, tomato, onions, cucumber and parsley served with a garlic dressing and the sandwich Ladder 11 ($14) is not to be missed.
But really, it’s all good and that’s the main reason why Jimmie’s Ladder 11 is worth a visit.
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How to get there
What: Jimmie’s Scale 11
Where: 936 Brown Street, Dayton
More information: www.jladder11.com or 937-424-1784
Jimmie’s Greenhouse, an 1877 home located at 24 Park Drive behind the restaurant opened in 2016. It rents for a minimum of $300 for three hours with a minimum food budget of $25 per person plus tax and tip with a minimum of 20 guests . The space can accommodate 30 to 50 people depending on the season. The fee includes staff, a bartender and cleaning. Hosts can create a personalized appetizer or dinner menu. The home features catering by Jimmie’s Ladder 11, a custom bar, covered patio, indoor and outdoor seating, a pool table that converts to a banquet table, a living room with a game table, a full kitchen, and free Wi-Fi. The restaurant makes reservations for parties and events. Jimmie’s Upper Floor seats up to 80, To check availability, reserve or visit, email [email protected] or call 937-424-1784