‘HIDDEN GEM’: Chef shocked that Ohio’s 2nd-oldest inn is still for sale

Ohio’s second-oldest inn has languished on the “for sale” list for more than a year, and that’s a surprise to a local chef who once served hundreds of diners from its kitchens.

The Florentine restaurant at 29 W. Market St. in Germantown has been on the market for more than a year. The 7,000-square-foot structure dates to 1816, marking its bicentennial last year.

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"I spent many good years working there — the Florentine for the right person would be a great investment," said Chris Cavender, who worked at the Florentine twice, the first stint from 2001-03, and who now oversees 1572 Roadhouse Bar-B-Q near Waynesville. "The classic rustic feel in there is awesome. I always had thoughts of owning it one day.

“It’s a hidden-destination gem,” Cavender said.

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The real-estate listing agent for the Florentine — Jeffrey Fannin, owner of RE/MAX Solutions Plus in Germantown — confirmed this week that the property has been on the market for more than a year. Fannin recently sent out a notice on the listing that "All cash offers will be considered." The asking price is $359,900.

"This full service inn has multiple dining areas, full-service kitchen with equipment updates, private party areas and plenty of off street parking," its real estate listing says. "The Florentine has been the center of Germantown's commerce for many decades. It is the historic anchor for downtown. Stand on the railed balcony where politicians like Henry Clay spoke to the masses. The owner is retiring and is ready to pass the torch of history to the 'New Caretaker of The Florentine Restaurant.'"

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In their 2007 book "A Taste of Ohio History: A Guide to Historic Eateries and Their Recipes," authors Debbie Nunley and Karen Jane Elliott note that the Florentine "has withstood the passage of time."

“That ornate iron balcony, fabricated at the ironworks in the Oregon District of nearby Dayton, still stands today. In fact, the entire structure looks almost identical to its earlier days. The barn-red clapboard exterior trimmed in taupe looks like something you’d find on the set of an old Western. I kept expecting Marshal Dillon and Miss Kitty to come walking out the door.”

Fannin said at least five potential buyers have been interested in the historic inn, but had difficulty obtaining financing.

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