The new franchise owner of Dayton’s Spaghetti Warehouse and the long-time manager of the restaurant say they have seen the groundwork laid all around them for the potential renaissance of downtown Dayton, including the new Levitt Pavilion down the street and the promising Arcade re-development plans around the corner. And now, they want to do their part.
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Michael Kim of Dallas, Texas, who took over ownership of Dayton’s Spaghetti Warehouse as well as its sister restaurants in Toledo and Akron in December, is launching multiple renovation projects that he says will improve the restaurant experience for both customers and employees. And he’s doing it because he likes what he sees happening in downtown Dayton and in other Ohio cities.
“It’s an amazing comeback story,” Kim said. “I’m sitting in Dallas, Texas, and I can feel it.”
“If all of these plans for downtown Dayton happen, it will up everyone’s game,” Kim said. “If we do something special here with Spaghetti Warehouse, we’ll play our part in this entire elevated experience that people will have when they come downtown.”
Kelly Byrd, the restaurant’s general manager, has worked at the restaurant for the last 10 of its 39 years, when the restaurant endured some of downtown Dayton’s lean times. The improvements underway around downtown, Byrd said, “will make staying here all worthwhile.”
Known for its trolley-car seating and towering lasagna, the Dayton Spaghetti Warehouse has operated at 36 W. Fifth St. since 1980, outlasting dozens of its peers as downtown’s fortunes ebbed and flowed. Plans are taking shape for a 40th anniversary celebration next year, Kim said.
But for now, renovations are underway or planned for 2019 that include modernizing the kitchen, renovating the restaurant’s bathrooms, giving banquet rooms a significant makeover, and re-designing and renovating the bar area. The investment will reach six figures just this year alone, Kim said.
The kitchen improvements, nearly completed, will enhance the quality of the restaurant’s food as well as the working conditions for employees, Kim said.
The kitchen makeover also has added flexibility: new menu items and specials are in the works, Kim said.