New ‘pop-up’ restaurant aims to be the ‘Zombie Dogz of Chili’

A new, family-run restaurant that is currently operating only on Mondays in downtown Miamisburg has much bigger plans for the future.

Clashmore Mike's Chili will be open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. today, April 10, at 105 S. Second St. in Miamisburg, following a "soft launch" last Monday, according to Brian Walusis, co-founder of the restaurant concept along with his father John, wife Diana, and sons Adam and Mark, along with business partner Tim Upton.

“We are doing a great interpretation of some iconic chili recipes, using fresh local ingredients to the greatest extent possible,” Walusis said. Local suppliers so far include East Dayton Meats and Smales Pretzels.

"Our vision is to become the 'Zombie Dogz' of chili," Walusis said, referring to the region's most celebrated food truck that last year opened a bricks-and-mortar restaurant on Brown Street near the University of Dayton.

The idea began in the late 1980s, when John Walusis won first place in a handful of local chili cook-offs with a home-style recipe. Brian Walusis said he is now a “card-carrying member of the International Chili Society, and Clashmore Mike’s will be participating in a nationally sanctioned cook-off this June in Charleston, West Virginia.”

The new restaurant also will offer seasonal dishes, including, Walusis said, “a cold Lithuanian Red Beet soup for the summer which uses my great-grandmother’s recipe that she brought from Lithuania over 100 years ago.”

Upton, a majority partner, has studied sausage-making. “Once we find a permanent home, he will be doing a custom grind for us using locally raised meat,” Walusis said.

"We are in this for the long haul, and we are passionate about our concept, which is creating a place for chili in the local culinary lexicon that it deserves as a truly 'American' food, right up there with barbecue or bourbon," Walusis said.

The South Second Street space currently houses Nibbles, a full-service restaurant that is not open on Mondays. Nibbles is scheduled to move to larger quarters and rebrand as Watermark in June or July, and Clashmore Mike's is negotiating to lease the space after Nibbles leaves.

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“Whether or not we pull the trigger depends on if we can negotiate favorable lease terms that make business sense for us,” Walusis said. “If this space does not work out we are exploring a multitude of options.”

The space seats 36.

For more information, check out the Miami Valley Chili Company Facebook page.

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