OPEN* Business Spotlight: Roost Modern Italian

Mike Colvin Downtown Event

Tell us a bit about yourself and your business. What made you decide to open your own small business and how long have you been in operation?

I’m Chef Dana Downs. I’d been working in the hospitality industry for 20 years, and wanted to open my own fine dining restaurant. Initially, I started out with a pasta bar inside the 2nd Street Market. It was there that I grew my customer base and built the trust with them that allowed us to expand to the current location in 2011 and open Roost. I’m very thankful that Tom Tornatore sold the building to me in 2013, allowing me to plant roots in the Oregon District.

We are an upscale Italian restaurant featuring fresh pastas, seafood, steaks & chops.


What do you enjoy about working in downtown Dayton?

I enjoy being downtown because of the urban feel. I love the historic buildings, as well as the energy of the Oregon District.


Tell us something about your business that may surprise people to learn.

People may be surprised by the background behind the name, Roost Modern Italian. The name Roost came from the Italian government controlling Italy’s Chianti wine industry. Chianti has to have a black rooster on the label to be considered authentic in Italy. The name Roost references that we will give you the authentic experience. Many Italian restaurants don’t feature seafood, and that speaks to the true Italian cuisine. The “Modern Italian” part of the name references my passion for creating a modern twist on classic Italian dishes.


How is your business coping with the pandemic and how can people support you now?

We’ve done the best we can with social distancing, and are coping fine so far. The additional outdoor seating we were able to provide on Fifth Street through the Out on 5th program has helped. I feel very confident with the safety measures we have put in place – when you dine with us in person, you’ll still feel like you’re treating yourself while staying safe. The best way people can support us now is to come down and dine with us or buy a gift card.


Roost Modern Italian

524 E Fifth St.

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