Palermo’s Italian Restaurant is being sold to a U.S. Army veteran.

Kettering Italian restaurant to get new ownership

An independent Kettering restaurant that was founded in January 2008 will get new ownership in August that intends to keep the name and build on the restaurant’s success.

Randal Fontana, a U.S. Army veteran, told this news outlet that he is still finalizing the transaction to purchase Palermo’s Restaurant at 2667 S. Dixie Drive. Plans call for a one-month transition period starting Aug. 1 for “cross-training to learn the business,” Fontana said. The restaurant’s Facebook page alerted customers to the transition over the weekend.

>> Local ‘Rolling Indulgence’ team is ‘living with a dream’ after competing in Food Network show

“We plan to update many aspects of the restaurant to keep Palermo's alive and well, and to continue and serve the community with a great experience,” Fontana said in an email. “We plan to implement dietary options into the menu, as well as add a few more Italian specialty dishes. We are going to re-decorate the interior as well as the exterior as far as the patio goes. We want to also begin a customer-rewards loyalty program to show our appreciation for our customers’ patronage.”

>> PHOTOS: Did we spot you at the Yellow Cab food truck rally? 

It will be at least a few months before many of the planned changes, including the addition of new menu dishes, will happen, Fontana said.

>> Local BBQ restaurant teams up with local sauce-maker for charity ‘Backyard BBQ’

“Our main goal is to not only improve in many aspects of the ongoing business, but to maintain the loyal customers of Palermo's.”

>> NEW EVENT: Five Rivers MetroParks to host ‘Small Farm & Food Fest’ this weekend

The restaurant previously was sold by its founder, Mefail “Meef” Demnika, to new owners in November 2017.

Palermo’s Restaurant in Kettering is under new ownership. MARK FISHER/STAFF
Photo: Staff Writer

>> PHOTOS: The famous balloon glow and fireworks at Middletown’s Ohio Challenge balloon

Demnika owned or operated Italian restaurants in the Dayton area for more than 15 years, starting with La Pergola on East Dorothy Lane in Kettering, which now houses an Arepas Colombian Comfort Food restaurant; and Toscani’s (later Arthur’s) on Bigger Road in Kettering, which now houses Seajax Tavern. 

>> RELATED: Palermo’s takes diners in a new direction (April 2017)

Look up the term "comfort food" in the dictionary, and there should be a picture of Palermo's Stuffed Shells. File photo
Photo: HANDOUT

In 2006, while he was operating La Pergola, Demnika’s pizza was crowned by the Dayton Daily News’ LeadBelly Boys the best in the Dayton area. He went on to open Palermo’s in Januaury 2008. 

>> PHOTOS: Construction and growth of the Schuster Center through the years

X