Dayton or surrounding area - where do I have to go.
In from Dallas and wanting a place for dinner that is truly Ohio (something I would not be likely to find in Texas). Price is no object but welcome good dive recommendations. Have a rental so willing a to drive. Show me Ohio!
My brother who was raised here and lives in Dallas now always wants to go to Marion's Pizza when he comes home to visit. There are several; the closest to downtown is probably the one on Patterson and Shroyer. Thin crust, square cut. They offer dine-in and have beer and crappy wine. It's my husband's favorite, too. If you go, ask for yours to be cooked in the "old" oven.
As for Ohio-unique, Cincinnati chilli comes to mind. It's really more like a sweetish spaghetti sauce, Greek in origin, with cinnamon and cloves in the mix. Folks order it "3-way" (or 4 or 5 way) which means, I think, with beans, cheese, and onions. I'm not a fan, but there are Gold Star Chilli places around Dayton
My favorite restaurant in the area is the Winds, in Yellow Springs. It's probably a 30 minute drive from downtown Dayton, and is unique. Fresh, local food, seasonal menu, excellently prepared. Our local foods will be different from TX, but not sure if this is what you have in mind.
If you are downtown, Jay's Seafood is good and the bar is lovely. Just south of downtown is the Pine Club, which has been mentioned in Saveur and is on the Stern's list of iconic steak houses. It's where Presidents dine when they visit town (don't know if Obama and Biden will be there tonight since they are in town). Food is good but it's a steakhouse. Cash only.
One of the things I think the Dayton area does best is bar food. In the Oregon district (near downtown) you can try Blind Bob's, but my current fave is Bucking Donkey on Wilmington Pike, about 15 minutes from downtown. Closer to downtown and still good is Tank's on Wayne Ave. Good burgers and GREAT fried mushrooms (they batter fresh shrooms to order and fry them; none of that frozen stuff!)
Good luck and let us know where you end up!