OId Dayton Dixie Style Fried Chicken could reopen later this year at a new location, perhaps in Kettering, its owner says.
Photo: Allegra Czerwinski
Photo: Allegra Czerwinski

Dayton restaurant that served Parkmoor-style fried chicken closed but seeks new location

Owner vows to look for new location later this year after returning from hurricane relief work

A Dayton fried-chicken restaurant that was forced to change its name after running afoul of another restaurant’s trademark shut down in February, but its owner, who is involved in hurricane relief in Florida, says he will seek to reopen in a new location this fall.

Customers of Old Dayton Style Dixie Fried Chicken at 2920 Wayne Ave. in Dayton were greeted in late February with a sign that reads, “We are closing. Please look forward to our new location in the spring.”

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The restaurant’s owner, Gary Keller, told this news outlet he would like to open a successor restaurant “in about six months, probably before the fall.” He will look first in the Kettering area, Keller said.

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A combination of factors led to his decision to close, Keller said. He owns a disaster-recovery business and is providing hurricane relief in the Panama City, Florida area, doing mold-remediation work and water-damage repair to structures in the area damaged by last year’s Hurricane Michael. And business at the Wayne Avenue restaurant was slow, and was not sufficient to sustain the business, Keller said.

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“Our food was excellent, but it was the location,” Keller said. “There was no parking. It was not a good business deal.”

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The restaurant triggered a trademark dispute when it initially hung a sign proclaiming itself “Ms. Pam’s Parkmoor Style Dixie Fried Chicken” in December 2017, just as it was opening. That restaurant name prompted a swift “cease-and-desist” order from an attorney representing Fricker’s, the local restaurant and pub chain that has taken steps to register and protect the “Parkmoor” name for fried chicken, Ms. Pam’s founders said.

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As a result, Keller capitulated by covering up, with duct tape, the “Parkmoor” name on the sign in front of the restaurant near Belmont High School. The restaurant eventually morphed into Old Dayton Style Dixie Fried Chicken.

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In December 2017, Keller made it clear in an interview at the restaurant that he still believed his fried chicken tastes better — and more true to the flavor of the original recipe served at the Dayton-area Parkmoor restaurant chain — than any other version that he had tasted. But he said he would do as the cease-and-desist letter demanded, to avoid a legal battle.

This sign didn’t last long in the form you see here at the Dayton restaurant now known as Ms. Pam’s Old Dayton Style Chicken. This photo was taken in early December 2017, before the restaurant opened, and before its founders received a cease-and-desist letter. MARK FISHER/STAFF
Photo: Staff Writer

“I didn’t want to spend $60,000 in court and lose,” Keller said at the time. “They have the rights to the name, and there’s nothing we can do about it.”

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In its heyday in the 1960s, Parkmoor operated more than a half-dozen restaurants in the Dayton area, and at least 10 more elsewhere in Ohio and in Michigan and Indiana. The fond memories of Parkmoor chicken is evident in a long, nostalgia-filled thread of comments on DaytonHistoryBooks.com.

The Frickers restaurant in Huber Heights started serving Parkmoor Chicken in 2009, according to a Dayton Daily News column by Dale Huffman published in August of that year.

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The restaurant’s 2,000-square-foot space previously housed Oaked and Smoked, a deli that specialized in smoked salmon; a New York Pizza shop; and Tony’s Italian Sausage.

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