The former Green Lantern on Old Troy Pike (Ohio 202) traces its history back more than a century, and its new owners say they will take it in a new direction while respecting its rich and colorful past.
“Everything about this property just screamed at us — it just has so much potential,” said Sherri Zelen, who along with her husband Steve Zelen purchased the Green Lantern and the surrounding three-acre property at 3490 Old Troy Pike earlier this year. The couple plan to transform the former bar into the “Riverside Hideaway” sports bar and pizza restaurant over the next few months.
The Zelens, who live in Old North Dayton, talked about their plans for the building that has served as a local watering hole for many decades just north of the Dayton city limits. The Zelens said they are hoping to reopen the new business perhaps as early as February.
Their plans, the Zelens said, include indoor and outdoor dining, with a menu that includes Roman-style “Old Dayton Pizza;” live entertainment; a pool table and dart boards; a farmers market on Sundays; plenty of televisions for sports-watching; community-supported events and charity fund raisers; and outdoor events such as pig roasts and bike nights.
The couple lived in Florida before they “decided to shift gears” and move to Dayton in January 2018. They bought a home in the neighborhood across from Dayton Children’s Hospital.
“After living and working in the Dayton area over the past year, and since the Memorial Day tornadoes, we have observed a need in our own neighborhood and have been motivated to be part of the solution in making this Dayton area a better place to live and enjoy,” said Sherri Zelen, who grew up in northeast Ohio. “We absolutely love downtown Dayton and would like to extend some of that same vibe to Riverside and the surrounding communities.”
Steve Zelen has extensive restaurant-industry experience, including operating pizza restaurants in Florida. Zelen said the Roman-style pizza recipe that he developed in Florida will be unlike anything currently available in the Dayton area.
“The crust has the perfect ratio of crisp to chew,” he said.
The Green Lantern’s former owner, Marge Belme, died in April 2018, and the bar has been shuttered for several months. But the interior appears as if it hasn’t been touched since the Green Lantern shut its doors for its final night. And portions of the building suggest it was first built before 1900, the Zelens said.
“We love the history, and we have people stopping by daily sharing their memories of the previous Green Lantern and Marge,” Sherri Zelen said. “We plan to have a memory wall, so we would like to gather photos and stories to be observed and shared.”
Riverside Hideaway’s seating capacity is projected to be 40 to 50, and the large patio deck will open in the spring, the Zelens said. The sports bar and pizza restaurant will likely hire 10 to 12 employees initially, but that number could grow to as many as 30 when a delivery kitchen and curb-side pickup are added by the end of 2020, Steve Zelen said.
By the end of 2021, the Zelens hope to enclose the current patio to make more room for dining and live entertainment, and to add a new outdoor patio.
An overriding value of Riverside Hideaway, the Zelens said, will be to support the neighboring community, and to give people “a place to gather to eat good food and chat with their neighbors in a friendly, safe environment,” the Riverside Hideaway founders said.
To monitor the progress toward opening, check out the Old Dayton Pizza Riverside Hideaway Facebook page.