After a wave of new restaurants opening last month, the Miami Valley is grappling with the deaths of two well-known restaurant owners and several favorite restaurants closing their doors.
In our August Restaurant Roundup, we remember the legacies of Roger Glass and Tony Spaziani in addition to offering reports about five new restaurants, six restaurants coming soon and several others reaching major milestones.
If you know of a new restaurant coming to the Dayton area, email firstname.lastname@example.org with details.
- Marion’s Piazza CEO Roger Glass dies at 79
Roger Glass, president and chief executive of Marion’s Piazza, died Wednesday, Aug. 24, his family said.
He was 79 years old.
Glass — president and CEO of Marion’s for 16 years and an employee of the family-owned company for five decades — was the second-generation owner of Marion’s. His father, Marion Glass, founded the business in 1965.
“He will be greatly missed by his family, friends, employees of Marion’s, and his business and community associates,” the Glass family said in a statement.
Glass had been fighting a blood disorder, said RJ McKay, Glass’ nephew.
“It happened sooner than we thought‚” McKay said. “We thought he would have at least a few more years.”
- Owner of Giovanni’s in Fairborn dies at 74
Tony Spaziani, owner of Giovanni’s Pizzeria é Ristorante Italiano in Fairborn, died Monday, Aug. 29.
He was 74 years old.
His daughter, Cassaundra Spaziani, said he had a mild heart attack three weeks ago and died from complications.
Giovanni’s, known as one of the region’s longest-established restaurants, was founded in 1953. Spaziani purchased the restaurant in 1994 and had since doubled the restaurant’s dining space by adding a banquet room and opening an in-house bakery.
“He loved Fairborn. He loved Dayton,” Cassaundra said. “He was from New York and came here to go to college and chose to stay here. He loved the area and always wanted it to be better.”
- KJ’s closes in Germantown
KJ’s, a family-owned and operated restaurant in Germantown, announced on Facebook Saturday, Aug. 13 they are closing its doors.
“I am closing KJ’s as of today (Saturday, Aug. 13). I will try to get on soon and thank and acknowledge all those strong supporters through the years,” the Facebook post said.
The post has over 100 comments of customers wishing owner Kevin Hall the best of luck on his next endeavor and thanking him for years of great food.
- Angie’s Firehouse Tavern closes kitchen, bar remains open
A well-known neighborhood restaurant dating back to 1938 has decided to close its kitchen.
Angie’s Firehouse Tavern, located at 703 Watervliet Avenue in Dayton, told Dayton.com the kitchen’s last day was Sunday, Aug. 14, but the bar will remain open as they remodel.
The owner said they have plans to add more games as well as live local musicians.
He also noted he hopes the economy will return to normal and allow the restaurant to once again serve their famous cabbage rolls.
- The Heights Cafe closes after 12 years
The Heights Cafe closed its doors Saturday, Aug. 20 after more than a decade in business, according to a statement from the business.
Located at 6178 Chambersburg Road in Huber Heights, the Heights Cafe opened in April 2010. Throughout the years, the cafe has served breakfast, specialty coffees and lunch, touting products made from fresh, locally-grown ingredients.
The closure was announced on the business’ Facebook page.
In the closure announcement, customers were urged to “stay tuned for another locally owned coffee shop coming to you in the near future,” though no details were provided.
- The Sugar Guild closes on Wayne Avenue
A downtown Dayton restaurant serving breakfast and brunch on the weekends has closed, according to a post on Facebook.
“The Sugar Guild will be closing. We will not open this weekend,” said a post on the restaurant’s Facebook page Aug. 23. “This is both heartbreaking and unexpected. Not sure what the future holds, but we know it’s not over. TY (Thank you) Dayton.”
The Sugar Guild, located on Wayne Avenue next to Wheat Penny Oven and Bar, featured wood-fired ham and cheese omelettes, bubble waffles, French toast, roasted veggie flatbreads, gluten free biscuits and gravy and much more. The restaurant had several other gluten free and vegan options, all cooked up in a wood-fired oven named Rubi.
Chef DD Pearson told Dayton.com she is heartbroken about the closing, but if someone could build her a wood-burning oven she would love to cook breakfast and brunch for the community again.
- Reza’s to close in downtown Dayton
After three years in downtown Dayton, Reza’s will soon close its coffee shop on Wayne Avenue, but continue roasting in the space, according to a sign posted at the business.
“We will be closing the coffee shop side of the business at this location soon,” the owners of Reza’s Downtown wrote in a message to their customers. “Despite the many loyal customers who frequent this cafe, and despite the talented and hard-working baristas who work here, this cafe is just not sustainable. It has not been since Covid.”
The owners said they have tried everything and given it their all, but there was just not enough business walking through the door.
The owners said they will continue operating their Beavercreek coffee shop at 1474 N. Fairfield Road and described business as “thriving.” Reza’s will continue their wholesale business as well.
- Basil’s on Market Dayton closes
A downtown Dayton restaurant overlooking the Great Miami River that was known for its all-you-can-eat Friday night crab special has closed its doors.
Basil’s on Market, at 312 N. Patterson Blvd., closed for a variety of reasons on Aug. 20 including short-staffing and rising costs, according to co-owner Jeff Finkelstein.
“When the pandemic hit, we were never able to recover,” Finkelstein said. “We couldn’t staff the place. Nobody wanted to work.”
Another contributing factor included some area businesses never returning to in-person work after the coronavirus pandemic.
Business will continue as usual at the Beavercreek and Troy locations.
- Brown Street restaurant closed due to tax concerns
A restaurant on Brown Street near the University of Dayton has had its vendor’s license suspended by the Ohio Department of Taxation, according to a sign posted on its door.
The vendor’s license for Back Home Tavern & Table is “under suspension” and the restaurant is “prohibited from making retail sales at 1151 Brown Street” on or after Aug. 10, the sign read.
Gary Gudmundson, tax department spokesman, explained the sign posting can occur when the vendor fails to file or pay a return for two consecutive months or three filing periods over a 12-month window.
Dayton.com has reached out to the owners to see if the restaurant will reopen but has not heard back.
- Beavercreek bakery closes
After almost five years in Beavercreek, RachelBakes & Co has closed its doors to move to the Cross Pointe Shopping Center in Centerville.
According to a post on their Facebook page, the bakery will reopen at 10 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 1.
Bakery owner Rachel Owens previously told Dayton.com she was moving to the shopping center for more space. When she opened her business on North Fairfield Road, Owens recalled the space was already too small.
RachelBakes & Co is moving to the building that previously housed Fortis College, 101 E. Alex Bell Road. The bakery will take up about one-fifth of the building.
RESTAURANTS COMING SOON
- New Dayton tap room expected to open in September
A popular Athens brewery is expected to open its second location in downtown Dayton this month.
Jimmy Stockwell, co-founder of Little Fish Brewing Co., told Dayton.com in early August they were waiting on their final building inspection and hopefully will open in September
Little Fish Brewing Co. is located at 116 Webster Street in a former railroad warehouse in downtown Dayton’s Webster Station Historic District.
Stockwell explained that Dayton craft beer lovers are most likely already familiar with their brand. Little Fish Brewing Co. has distributed beer to craft beer-centric bars, breweries and bottle shops in the area.
- New pizza business proposed in Miamisburg
A new Domino’s restaurant is planned for Miamisburg.
A concept layout plan submitted for the nearly 1.5-acre property at 88 S. Gebhart Church Road proposes for a nearly 1,800-square-foot Domino’s on the site. A single-family home previously there was demolished in 2013, according to the city. The site has since remained vacant.
Located at the northeast corner of South Gebhart Church Road and Ohio 725, the site had been planned for a medical office building, but that project is no longer moving forward.
“We have a store that’s on Central (Avenue in Miamisburg) and ... we need a bigger location,” said Chris Schlater, a franchisee of 19 Domino’s locations in Southwest Ohio and in Indiana. “That (storefront) is about 1,000-square-foot store and it’s probably 30 or 40 years old, so it’s time for a new look and a new location.”
- New restaurant planned at Austin Landing
The Park Grille & Bar, a new restaurant, is in the works at Austin Landing.
The restaurant will reside in the former spot of Bar 145 and Reset Bar, Kim Bowman, property manager at Austin Landing, confirmed on Aug. 15.
According to the Ohio Division of Liquor Control, Kaboom Bros LLC applied for a liquor license on Aug. 10 for The Park Grille & Bar, located at 10259 Penny Lane in Miamisburg.
The new restaurant is next to Austin Landing’s 12-screen cinema multiplex and the former Bar Louie, which declared bankruptcy in Jan. 2020.
- Crumbl Cookies to open Huber Heights store
It’s official! Crumbl Cookies is coming to Huber Heights.
Cassidy Salisbury, a PR Strategist for Crumbl Cookies, said they are “very excited” to join the Huber Heights community.
The new store will be located in the vacant, south corner space next to Premier Health Urgent Care in the North Heights Plaza at 8288 Old Troy Pike, said Donald Millard, code enforcement manager for the city of Huber Heights.
Millard explained this is a newly created unit for Crumbl Cookies with no prior occupancy.
Salisbury said construction has not started but an official opening is expected later this year.
- Edible cookie dough shop teams up with Frost Factory to open Austin Landing location
Two local businesses are teaming up to bring a unique combination to Austin Landing in Miami Twp.
Spoonful, an edible cookie dough shop, is partnering with The Frost Factory, a boozy and non-alcoholic slushy shop, to offer both treats in one space.
The Frost Factory and Spoonful will be located at 3633 Rigby Road, across from elé Cake Co. Bistro & Wine Bar.
The shop is expected to open in mid-to-late September, said Lyndsey Rhodus, owner of Spoonful.
- Outback Steakhouse on the horizon in Centerville
The Centerville Planning Commission met Tuesday, Aug. 30 to consider an application from Vantage LLC, on behalf of Outback Steakhouse.
An Outback Steakhouse is proposed near Interstate 675 and Wilmington Pike at Cornerstone North Boulevard in Centerville.
The planning commission previously considered the application during a work session in July. Vantage LLC had until early August to resubmit their plans to address items such as landscaping, a dumpster enclosure and rooftop mechanicals.
“There were no major alterations to the plan,” said Kate Bostdorff, the communications director with the City of Centerville. “The most significant is that they added a stone base to the principal building.”
After Tuesday’s meeting, Vantage LLC is able to apply for zoning and building permits to seek staff approvals for final construction documents, Bostdorff said.
- Shaq’s Big Chicken opens at Austin Landing
A fast-casual chicken restaurant founded by NBA Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal is now open at Austin Landing.
Not only is the restaurant its first location in Ohio, but it is the brand’s first location in the Midwest and its first franchise.
“We’re cooking up a lot of firsts right now,” Big Chicken CEO Josh Halpern said. ”We’ve been signing franchise deals all over the United States. We’ve started getting a lot of international interest. This is the first unit of almost 200 that have been signed. It’s a major milestone, but things are going to start happening really quickly for us.”
The restaurant offers crispy chicken sandwiches, popcorn chicken, chicken tenders, salads and “sidekick” side dishes, including Lucille’s Mac ‘n’ Cheese with a Cheez-It crust. They also have ice cream sandwiches and shakes.
- New Roosters restaurant opens in Beavercreek
Roosters Beavercreek, located at 2430 N. Fairfield Road where Primanti Bros. Restaurant and Bar was previously housed, opened Monday, Aug. 8.
Roosters’ menu features boneless and traditional wings with a variety of sauces including Donkey, Hot, Korean BBQ, Sweet Thai Chili, Garlic and Honey BBQ. The restaurant also has pizzas, sandwiches, subs, dumpster fries, wedges or tots and much more.
Founders Bob and Corrine Frick opened the first Roosters in 1988. There are now 30 other restaurant locations in Ohio, nine in Kentucky, one in Indiana and West Virginia, according to the restaurant’s website.
- Moeller Brew Barn opens in Dayton
Moeller Brew Barn is a new destination located across the street from right field at Day Air Ballpark.
“We built this for the people of Dayton,” said founder and co-owner Nick Moeller.
The brewery features a taproom with three bars and over 70 taps, an upstairs balcony overlooking the ballpark, an outdoor beer garden that is pet and bicyclist-friendly, and a kitchen serving food with an elevated take on ballpark fare.
The Dayton location will brew 40 to 50 percent of its own beer to be used in the taproom. The owners said those beers will have local names specific to the Dayton area.
Moeller Brew Barn also has plans to open taprooms in Monroe and Plain City.
- The Wild Banana has permanent location in Englewood
The Wild Banana, known for its all natural, mostly organic smoothie bowls and smoothies, now has a permanent location at the Englewood Fun Center in addition to its smoothie truck.
Jessica Benson, owner of The Wild Banana, told Dayton.com she was grateful for the opportunity to have a permanent spot.
She explained the owner of the Englewood Fun Center inquired about having her at their site where they formerly sold slushies in the Putter’s PAR-adise area. Benson said the owner was interested because not only had they stopped selling treats in the miniature golf area, but his wife and daughter are huge fans of The Wild Banana.
The smoothie truck previously stopped in Englewood twice a week, so collaborating with the Englewood Fun Center made sense.
- Blossom Juicy Bar opens fifth location in Dayton area
Blossom Juicy Bar, a bubble tea shop with multiple locations across the Dayton area, has opened its fifth location at 2607 Wilmington Pike.
“We opened our new location in hopes of reaching more people in the suburbs, so they would not have to go so far out to the mall or other areas to grab bubble tea,” said Oliver Santos, store manager at the new shop.
Santos noted customers will not only be able to order a variety of milk teas, fruit teas, yogurt drinks, and smoothies, but they can also sit down, hang out with friends, do work on their laptop or read.
The new location has a dining area that is in the works. Santos added they are planning to have food options like acai bowls and bakery items.
RESTAURANTS CELEBRATING MILESTONES
- The Pine Club celebrates 75 years in Dayton
Dayton’s iconic steakhouse is celebrating 75 years of being a dining staple in the Miami Valley.
Since 1947, The Pine Club has been serving mouth-watering filets garnished with onion rings and a classic side of stewed tomatoes.
Karen Watson, vice president and general manager of The Pine Club, has worked at the restaurant for nearly 44 years.
She said, “The stories are endless, and they all inspire me and remind me that this is really a special place.”
When asked why she thinks people continue to come back year after year, she said it was to get a really consistent steak.
“I think they want a good steak, and on top of that, they want the memory of that,” said Watson. “It’s a special place for people. It’s the food. People come in because they want a good dinner, and they have a genuine love for The Pine Club.”
- TJ Chumps celebrates 20th anniversary in the Miami Valley
A family-friendly sports restaurant that first opened its doors in Miamisburg and expanded to several other cities in the Dayton area is celebrating its 20th anniversary.
TJ Chumps, founded by Terry Brill and Jim Dunn in 2002, has become a go-to spot for lovers of ribs, salmon, burgers and beer over the past two decades.
“It’s really hard to believe we have been in business for 20 years now,” Dunn said in a release. “As I look back, I do remember many times when I wasn’t sure we were going to survive, but then, after many mistakes and numerous changes, we finally found a winning formula. The fundamentals of that formula revolve around good atmosphere, good food and great service.”
After opening its doors in Miamisburg, TJ Chumps expanded to Englewood, Fairborn and Huber Heights over the next 12 years.
- Mother-daughter duo purchases Ha Ha Pizza
B.J. Walters, former owner of Ha Ha Pizza in Yellow Springs, has officially passed the torch to a new set of owners after being part of the restaurant for 25 years.
Karen and Megan McDonald, a mother-daughter team, purchased the restaurant at the end of June.
“We’ve always been on the lookout for something more brick-and-mortar where we can open up and do it all year round,” Karen said. “Then we saw this and everybody loves Ha Ha. It has been here since the ‘70s so we thought it was a great opportunity.”
Karen, a Fairborn resident, said they previously owned a food truck called Cookie Mayhem. For about two years, they were able to share their love of baking with the community at local fairs and events.
Ha Ha Pizza had been on the market for four to five years, but many people did not know until Walters put a sign on the building earlier this year.
- Owner of Azra’s Mediterranean Cuisine looking for someone to take over business
Azra Kaurin, owner of Azra’s Mediterranean Cuisine at 2nd Street Market, is ready to retire and pass the keys of her business to a new owner.
“I’m very proud (of) what I did here,” Kaurin told Dayton.com.
Kaurin’s family is looking for someone to take over and continue her business with the same family recipes.
“People in this city deserve...to come in and have the same food and everything served like I did, homemade, traditional food,” Kaurin said.
She said she wants her customers to continue to have the opportunity to gather at the market and enjoy their favorite Mediterranean dishes made with fresh market produce.
- Joe Mama’s Taste of Dayton applies for liquor license to expand options
A restaurant in Dayton known for its “heavy hittas” and being open when other restaurants in the area have closed has applied for a liquor license.
Joe Mama’s Taste of Dayton, located at 115 Springfield Street, applied for a liquor license on Aug. 9, according to the Ohio Division of Liquor Control.
Owner John Gabriel said he decided to apply for a liquor license as a way to increase sales. He explained his food sells well late at night and a liquor license made sense.
The restaurant’s menu consists of classic foods like fresh-cut fries, cheesesteaks and double cheeseburgers.
- Pizza Bandit adds new kiosk location in downtown Dayton
The Pizza Bandit is once again making it easier for people in downtown Dayton to get their hands on an authentic slice of New York pizza.
The business is partnering with Black Box Improv Theater to add a kiosk allowing customers to order pizza with no minimum ordering requirements or delivery fees.
Brian Johnson, co-owner of The Pizza Bandit, described the kiosk program as a way to keep ordering simple and streamlined.
“It’s just like we’re baking onsite for the customer,” Johnson said.
The Pizza Bandit also has kiosks at other downtown Dayton businesses including The Barrel House, Two Social, Hole in the Wall and Connect E-Sports.