Wings Fly plans to return after fire damages building: ‘We didn’t get to start for it to finish’

The fire is still undetermined and it remains an open investigation, the Dayton Fire Department said.

Wings Fly, a family owned and operated restaurant, hopes to return to the Dayton region after a fire damaged the building and everything in it in March.

“The end goal is to come back,” said Sabrina Melhem, who owns the restaurant with her brothers, Laith and Ismail, and their mom, Najah. “We didn’t get to start for it to finish.”

Credit: Natalie Jones

Credit: Natalie Jones

The restaurant, specializing in wings with a variety of sauces, had only been open for about six months at 960 Patterson Road when the fire broke out.

What happened?

Around 2:38 a.m. on March 14, firefighters responded to the 900 block of Patterson Road near the Wilmington Avenue intersection for a structure fire. When crews arrived, they found heavy fire through the roof through the rear of the building, Dayton Fire Department District Chief Andrew Wiley previously said.

“It was in between a wing shop and a hookah lounge,” he said. “Crews quickly determined it was going to be too dangerous to enter the structure so we set up a defensive operation.”

Firefighters were able to stop the flames at the fire walls on each sides of the businesses.

Brad French from the Dayton Fire Dept. said the cause of the fire is still undetermined and it remains an open investigation.

Sabrina and her mom recalled being out of town when the fire happened.

“You just become so numb,” Najah said. “You just can’t believe it.”

The family had separated from their business partner after the first of year and insurance coverage was something they had yet to obtain. This means they will be rebuilding from scratch.

Putting their heart and soul into the restaurant

The restaurant was a longtime dream for the family. They said it took a lot to get it up and running from buying kitchen equipment and a POS system to maintaining inventory and creating a space for customers to call a second home.

“For us it wasn’t temporary,” Sabrina said. “It was a forever thing.”

They had plans to add a boba component to the restaurant and open multiple locations in the future.

One of the hardest parts of being closed the last two months has been not being able to see their customers.

“It just became one big happy family,” Najah said.

They wanted to thank their customers for the continuous support and said the love from the community is motivating them to reopen as soon as they can.

What’s next?

The family also owns Prince Auto Sales & More, located at 4100 N. Dixie Drive in Dayton. They plan to focus their energy on growing the car lot, which also has a tow truck, repair shop and detailing shop. Sabrina said they had maintained the dealership aspect of the car lot and put some of the other offerings on the backburner while operating the restaurant.

Sabrina said their goal is reopen Wings Fly as a fully functioning restaurant, but if they have to start by opening a food truck due to funding that’s what they will do to get back into the community. Wings Fly does have a GoFundMe page.

To stay up-to-date on what’s next for Wings Fly, visit the restaurant’s Facebook page.


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