Lance Stewart is our Daytonian of the Week, so we picked his brain a bit about his restaurant — which, by the way, captured first place in the "Best Fine Dining" category in Dayton.com's Best of 2016 — and more.
Q: What’s your favorite spot in the Dayton area?
A: I like Carillon Park, Hills and Dales, and the Dayton bikeways.
Q: What do you love about life in the Dayton area?
A: It’s a great place to raise a family!
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Q: How have you been able to compete so effectively against national chain restaurants and other local independent steakhouses?
A: The Oakwood Club has loyal employees who take pride in their work, consistency, high quality products, and service.
5 things you ought to try on the Oakwood Club’s menu
Q: Were there times you considered not taking over the restaurant and doing something completely different?
A: Yes, I do not think a day went by that I didn’t question my decision to enter the business. I then went to train in the kitchen and found the challenge absolutely rewarding!
Q: What is your guilty pleasure?
A: Red wine, of course!
Q: If you could change or bring one thing to Dayton, would it be?
A: Dayton has a shortage of trained high tech workers, we need better training to fill jobs that will help propel Dayton’s economy.
Oakwood Club celebrating its 50th year (June 2012)
Q: What do you think Dayton will look like in 10-15 years?
A: I hope that the downtown condo revival continues, with small independent groceries serving the residents who live there, and I hope Dayton continues to attract manufacturing and high-tech companies.
Dayton.com’s Best of Dayton 2016 winners
Oakwood Club Timeline
• 1919: A grocery is operating at 2414 Far Hills Ave., and later adds a bar and restaurant.
• 1944: Winfield Kinney buys the restaurant, transforms it from a sandwich menu to a family restaurant serving lunch and dinner.
• 1950: After three more ownership changes, the eatery becomes the Oakwood Bar and Grill.
• 1962: Ray Stewart and a partner purchase the bar, renovate it and turn it into a fine-dining restaurant known as the Oakwood Club.
• 1992: Ray Stewart dies; his son Lance becomes owner and manager, and daughter Tina Stewart Cass serves as office manager.
• 2012: Oakwood Club celebrates its 50th anniversary.
• 2017: “The O.C.” turns 55.