Popular drive-in J&E Rootbeer Stand being brought back to life

Butler County stepsisters plan to reopen establishment next month, offer same menu.

MIDDLETOWN — A popular drive-in restaurant that has been closed this year will reopen next month, according to the new owners.

Brooke Solomito, 24, and her stepsister, Cortney Vitori, 35, have purchased the J&E Rootbeer Stand building and property at 6301 Germantown Road and hope to have it open by the middle of October.

Solomito’s father and Vitori’s stepfather, Dr. Joseph Solomito, a Middletown cardiologist, was trying to reach the owners to see if they were interested in selling. When he couldn’t locate them, he drove by the business one day after working at Atrium Medical Center and a woman was cleaning the parking lot.

“Right place at right time,” the doctor said.

The woman said there was another potential buyer, but when that deal fell through, they talked and eventually agreed on a price, Dr. Solomito said.

Brooke Solomito called working with her stepsister “a match made in heaven.”

Solomito recently earned her bachelor’s degree in organizational leadership from Wright State University and Vitori worked for six years in the Madison Elementary School cafeteria. Vitori will oversee the kitchen while Solomito will be in charge of customer service.

Dr. Solomito said the women’s skill sets will “complement each other.”

Solomito, a 2016 Madison High School graduate, said she has studied the differences between “a bad business and a good business” and has determined hiring and retaining satisfied employees are the keys.

“They have to feel as much a part of a family as part of a team,” she said. “You have to provide the best place for them to work so they feel valued, appreciated.”

J&E Rootbeer Stand, which has been open for more than 35 years, was a seasonal business, but the new owners plan to be open year around. But they’re not changing the menu. Customers can expect the same tasting footlong hotdogs, French fries and root beer and possibly some new items, they said.

“We want to keep the tradition going,” Vitori said. “Keep providing what the customers know and love.”

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