Daytonian of the Week: David Hulme, owner of the Pine Club

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Daytonian of the Week: David Hulme, owner of the Pine Club

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David Hulme, owner of the Pine Club. SUBMITTED

When Tastingtable.com named the Pine Club one of the best steakhouses in the nation earlier this year, the website’s editors explained the selection this way: “Serving the best steaks in town since 1947, The Pine Club… has remained virtually unchanged in its 70 years in business, and that’s why we love it.”

Pine Club owner David Hulme appreciated the sentiment. Hulme said at the time that he has worked hard during his 40 years of ownership to make sure the Pine Club meets his customers’ high expectations while also maintaining its ambiance and values.

“Change for the sake of change doesn’t make any sense at all,” Hulme said.

Hulme is no stranger to national — and even international —recognition for his restaurant. In June 2015, the Pine Club was included in an episode of the Food Network’s “Top 5 Restaurants.” In December 2013, it was included in a list of “10 of the World’s Greatest Old Dining Institutions” by a writer for T Magazine, the New York Times Style Magazine, joining restaurants in Paris, London, and New York City.

The Pine Club will quietly mark 70 years in business this year at 1926 Brown St. in Dayton, but in true Pine Club fashion, no formal celebration is planned.

We caught up with this week’s Dayton.com Daytonian of the Week to find out a bit more about Dave Hulme and the iconic restaurant he owns and operates. Here’s what he had to say.

Q: What’s your favorite spot in the Dayton area (other than the Pine Club!)?

A: Our go-to restaurant when we can get out is The Winds Restaurant in Yellow Springs. From their beginning in 1977, they identified their brand and have focused on that vision and continued to improve over forty years. Funky, innovative, honest, imaginative, skilled restaurateurs, true to themselves and their vision; all apply to The Winds. This is where we take visitors and celebrate special occasions.

Q: What do you love about life in the Dayton area?

A: As a result of my business, we have the opportunity to play a small role in the fabric of the community. Seventy years of wonderful customer friendships make you appreciate and understand Dayton and the people who live here. That is the very best.

Q: How have you been able to compete so effectively against national chain restaurants and other local steakhouses?

A: Friendships generated over seventy years with loyal, wonderful Pine Club customers and the invaluable support of so many longtime, dedicated Pine Club employees who understand and work hard to practice our goal of providing a consistent, predictable, value, and attempting to establish an honest, personal relationship with each customer, gives us a unique competitive advantage against the Dayton restaurant industry.

Q: What is the significance to you of the Pine Club’s 70th anniversary this year?

A: More than anything; the most remarkable aspect of The Pine Club’s 70 years in Dayton is recalling and celebrating 70 years of friendships, relationships and experiences shared with so many Daytonians and countless visitors to our community. Priceless!

Q: What is your guilty pleasure?

A: I’ve got to admit it; Ben and Jerry’s ice cream — and lots of it.

Q: If you could change or bring one thing to Dayton, would it be?

A: A lake. Or better yet, an ocean.

Q: What do you think Dayton will look like in 10-15 years?

A: I have been especially impressed with the recent growth in upscale and affordable downtown housing options. Retail businesses will follow those new residents and downtown neighborhoods will develop bringing pride and commitment to downtown living. However, good city schools must be part of the formula.

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