photos by Sarah Parisi
When I talked recently with Charlie Carroll, co-founder of Dayton’s Table 33, a farmer walked in with a fresh load of produce for the kitchen, dirt still clinging to the beets and carrots. Around 70% of the restaurant’s ingredients come from local growers, including Keener Farm, a producer of beef, pork, and poultry featured in the documentary Farmers for America. Table 33 opened just two years ago, but its roots in the community already run deep.
“When it comes to our food, we want health to drive our concept without having to say it,” Carroll says. About 20% of the menu at Table 33 is vegan, and everything made in-house is gluten free. But the restaurant doesn’t peg itself as solely for vegan and gluten-free diners.
The focus on health extends beyond the menu. Carroll and co-founder Chris Harrison take the holistic well-being of their staff and community seriously. Through their nonprofit Miami Valley Life Alliance, they use Table 33 as a landing spot to employ individuals coming out of difficult life situations. They utilize a flat organizational culture that allows each employee, from host to executive chef, to recognize their own importance.
“Food is an opportunity. What does an environment have to be to bring creativity out of a person?” says Carroll, interrupting his thoughts repeatedly to give high fives or hugs to incoming workers. “It’s disingenuous to tell an employee to smile and be happy if we’re not treating them right.”
Table 33 serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and while some favorites like the broccoli feta quiche stick around, much of the menu rotates as ingredients come in and out of season. Paired with fresh-pressed juices and a thoughtful wine, beer, and cocktail list, a meal here warms both the body and soul. Vegan or omnivore, Carroll and Harrison like to say they set “a table for any and all.”
A professional writer and Certified Cicerone, much of his writing is about books and film (he is a National Book Critics Circle member), he writes a lot about beer too! David is a regular contributor to Craftbeer.com, PorchDrinking, Indiana on Tap, and Dayton City Paper’s beer section.