Geez Grill & Pub to make its first move in 26 years, and it’s a big one

Family-owned restaurant signs lease for former Ruby Tuesday in the Washington Square Shopping Center

Nick Giallombardo has a good feeling about his difficult decision to move the restaurant that he and his parents founded — its first move in the neighborhood pub’s 26-year history.

"It seems that this was just meant to be," Giallombardo said Monday night of signing a lease to relocate Geez Grill & Pub at 5841 Far Hills Ave. to a slightly larger — but much more prominent — location in the former Ruby Tuesday restaurant at 6061 Far Hills Ave. in the Washington Square Shopping Center.

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The existing restaurant is tucked deep into a retail center with no street visibility, and Giallombardo said it outgrew its kitchen years ago. He has had his eye on the Ruby Tuesday space for a couple of years, wondering whether it may close. When it did, Giallombardo started talking with Norman and Calvin Mayne, co-owners of Dorothy Lane Market and of the Washington Square Shopping Center, which includes the former Ruby Tuesday restaurant space.

Those talks culminated Monday with Giallombardo signing a five-year lease, renewable for up to 20 years, to relocate Geez a little over a quarter-mile south on the busy State Route 48.

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Norman Mayne, CEO of Dorothy Lane Market, said Geez will be a great fit for the Washington Square Shopping Center.

“They’re locally owned, and they have provided wonderful service for the last 26 years,” Mayne said. “We share the same values and, in many cases, the same customers. It’s great to have Geez in the same shopping center as us.”

Credit: Geez Grill & Pub

Credit: Geez Grill & Pub

Giallombardo plans to continue to operate Geez at its current location while making improvements to the new space, then relocate the restaurant, perhaps as soon as early September.

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“I’m shooting for the Tuesday after Labor Day,” Giallombardo told this news outlet Monday night.

The pub owner said the strong loyalty of Geez customers made the upcoming move possible.

“We have some people who come in twice a day,” Giallombardo said. “It’s really like a Cheers atmosphere. Everybody knows everybody. Good food, good people, good times. And that’s what we’ll do at the new location.”

The new restaurant’s seating capacity during the social-distancing requirements hasn’t been set, but it will be slightly larger than his current space, Giallombardo said. And he will be applying to Washington Twp. to add a small patio with six or eight tables to boost outdoor dining choices.

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Geez is very much a family operation. The restaurant was founded by Steve “Poppa G” Giallombardo, who passed away in 2017 at the age of 89; his wife Maxine, the matriarch of the family that included nine children; and Nick, who is the second-youngest of those nine children. Multiple members of the family work at the restaurant.

Italian specialties served at Geez, including the tomato sauce, meatballs and lasagna, are based on his mother’s and grandmother’s family recipes, Nick Giallombardo said. The restaurant also serves a broad menu that includes burgers, chicken, pizza and more.

>> RELATED: Ruby Tuesday shuts down permanently after 15 years on Far Hills Avenue

Geez currently employs 50, and Giallombardo said he expects that number to rise to about 70 over time.

Ruby Tuesday shut down the Far Hills Avenue restaurant on March 30, 2020, ending a 15-year run at that location. The national chain later closed another Dayton-area location on Milller Lane in Butler Twp.

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