The Fire Blocks District is the home to Paradox, a unique bar and restaurant with a one-of-a-kind menu. “We really wanted to dig deep,” said Eric Walusis, the co-owner and manager, when asked about coming up with the name. “We wanted to do something a little less common, with Dayton you always get something about the Wright Brothers and aviation.” The solution was found when Eric read the Paul Lawerence Dunbar poem “The Paradox” and was moved. Maria Walusis, the co-owner and chef, found inspiration for the menu. “It doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive to be delicious,” says Maria and that options are going to be an “elevated-twist on classic, approachable meals.” One delicious example was a grilled-cheese sandwich made with fougasse, which might become a Fire Block District favorite!
Maria and Eric Walusis aren’t new to the idea of concept-oriented dining, as they are the owners of the Watermark Restaurant in Miamisburg. Centered around The Great Flood of 1913 leaving a mark on their historic building, “We’ve been able to plant here and be a part of the growth and development of Miamisburg-- drawing people here” says Chef Maria. The couple is passionate with their ideas coming with them to the Fire Blocks District. “It’s going to help take Downtown Dayton to the next level,” says Eric.
Food is no longer merely sustenance. Food is also conversation.
Food is endless choice … but food is also a need.
Chef Maria Walusis has built her reputation by embracing paradox. The entire concept of “approachable fine dining” signifies this Zen-like idea. Old and new, classics re-imagined. Décor and atmosphere that embrace the apparent clash of historic and contemporary.
With her new venture, the principle becomes the concept. Just as Paul Laurence Dunbar – our inspiration – lived each day struggling with a life of duality, we plan to harness that idea and create a space that appeals to the questions we all ponder.
With an atmosphere that combines old and new, formal with industrial, and a menu that encourages guests to explore new combinations and seemingly unconventional pairings, we will embrace and celebrate the hallmarks of what make Dayton special.
Chef Maria's restaurants have ushered in a new era in Dayton dining, one with an eclectic mix of familiar and fine foods. Located next door to the acclaimed Century Bar – voted three years running as one of the Top Ten Bourbon Bars in America – Paradox will be in a cooperative relationship with one of the most popular destinations in the city.
The historic grandeur of the Elks Building provides the ideal backdrop for the eclectic menu. Unique lighting fixtures set against an exposed ceiling, tinted cement and restored antique tile creates an aura of both casual conviviality and celebratory elegance.
Many of the design elements will also derive from Dayton's historic past, including the lighting, a classic bar, sleek banquettes, and an updated approach evoking urban sophistication. In addition to the grand bar, main dining room and lounge, Paradox will also boast a large private dining space.