Local restaurant relocating to former Canal Street Tavern

An Oregon District restaurant owner is poised to breathe new life into the former Canal Street Tavern space at 308 E. First St.

Rob Strong, founder of the 5th Street Wine and Deli at 416 E. Fifth St., will shut down the deli shop this fall and move it to the East First Street location, where it will become the Canal Street Arcade and Deli, Strong told this news outlet this morning.

“We have been on Fifth Street for 10 years, and we will miss our neighbors,” said Strong, who also is co-founder of Thai 9 restaurant in the Oregon District. “But we need more space for what we want for the business.”

The new name is part of a revamped business model that will include as many as 20 classic arcade games and pinball machines. The games “will be free to play with purchase of food or drink,” Strong said.

Here’s how Strong described the menu at his new venture:

“We will have all the same sandwiches and salads, and we will be offering an extended menu of sandwiches and personal sized pizzas. And we will have a full bar with specialty cocktails, wine, and craft and mainstream beers on 14 taps”

As for music, the new Canal Street Arcade & Deli will host some performances, “but not as frequently as previous businesses at the venue,” Strong said.

>> Photos of Canal Public House, formerly Canal Street Tavern, through the years

The project will bring more jobs to downtown Dayton. The existing wine shop and deli employs six, but Strong said the new arcade and deli will open with 20 to 25 employees.

Strong said “major renovations” will occur in the space, including new bathrooms and larger kitchen. Plans call for updating the exterior by re-installing the original windows to replace the existing glass-block windows, and repairing the upstairs windows.

“If everything goes as planned, we hope to open in November or December,” Strong said. “But it could be sooner or later than that.”

The 5th Street Wine & Deli shop will remain open until a week or so before the Canal Street Arcade & Deli opens.

The East First Street space is surrounded by multiple development projects, including the Water Street project a couple of blocks to the east and north. And the Dayton Dragons’ Fifth Third Field is just down the street. But the building itself has been vacant since March, when the Canal Public House music venue was stripped of its liquor license because of unpaid sales taxes.

The space developed its following and reputation as a popular music venue from 1981 to 2013, when it operated as Canal Street Tavern. Its founder, Mick Montgomery, sold the business in April 2013.

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