It’s been several months of hard work for managing member Howard Mason and others involved in the founding and development of Sporty’s Taphouse & Grill, but the region’s newest sports-themed restaurant and its 60 beer taps and 18 televisions are happily serving sports fans.
The restaurant opened on Sept. 6. The sports pub is located at 5202 N. Main St. in Harrison Twp., in space that formerly housed iconic restaurant The Barnsider, and later, Liquid Sports Club.
The restaurant seats as many as 250, and will employ about 36, Mason said.
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Mason wants potential customers to know one thing up front about Sporty’s:
“We are not a nightclub,” he said.
The restaurant has placed tables and chairs on what was previously Liquid Sports Club’s dance floor, Mason said. It will have 18 flat-screen televisions and a strong emphasis on food, the managing member said.
The kitchen will be overseen by William Tucker, who has decades of experience in Dayton-area restaurants, including stints in the kitchens of several now-defunct fine-dining establishments such as King Cole, l’Auberge and Thomato’s. More recently, he has worked at J. Alexander’s and Another Broken Egg. This is the first time Tucker, a graduate of Sinclair Community College’s culinary arts program, will be the lead chef overseeing a restaurant kitchen.
Tucker and Mason said the Sporty’s menu will initially offer a classic sports-bar menu items such as pizza, burgers and wings.
“But we won’t get stuck in that rut,” Mason said. Plans call for expanding the menu over the coming weeks to include grilled chicken and fish options and other dishes that aren’t found on most other sports-bar menus, including jambalaya, pasta dishes, and grilled salmon, Mason and Tucker said.
“We may not have a signature dish, but we’ll serve food that goes with beer,” Mason said. Tucker said he expects a sausage sandwich served on a pretzel bun to become an early customer favorite.
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And diners can suggest new menu items — or even new beers — through the new restaurant’s suggestion page at sportystaphouse.com/feedback.asp. The pub will open with about 30 national, regional and local beer offerings, and will fill the remaining taps over the coming months based on customer feedback and suggestions. Sampler boards of smaller pours of four separate beers will be available.
Mason was part of a group that won the bid at an auction for the real estate and building, paying $188,000 for the property. Total investment in startup costs have reached $300,000, the managing member said. He had been looking to lease space near the Northwest Plaza in Dayton, but ultimately decided it would be better to purchase. He liked the former Barnsider’s location and said he believes he can compete effectively with chain restaurants and sports bars in and around north Dayton and Harrison Twp.
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Barnsider had been a popular gathering spot and destination for prom dinners, rehearsal dinners, family gatherings and special events for four decades, serving families and communities in north Dayton and in northern Montgomery County. It shut down in May 2016.
A grand opening for Sporty’s Taphouse & Grill is tentatively planned for Oct. 31. The restaurant is open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.