A longtime, family-owned restaurant in Beavercreek has confirmed it will close its doors next week.
The Wellington Grille, located at 2450 Dayton-Xenia Road, has been serving the community since 1998.
Mary Miller, who owned the restaurant with her brother, Ray, told Dayton.com the restaurant’s last day of operation is Tuesday, June 21.
Born in China, Miller moved to Hong Kong as a child, then emigrated with her family to Canada when she was 13. She attended community college in Michigan before finding a job in an Asian restaurant in suburban Cincinnati, where she learned the restaurant business from the bottom up.
After settling in Dayton, Miller opened her first restaurant, The Barnsider, in 1975. The restaurant closed in 2016 to allow Miller to spend more time with her family and focus on her other restaurants.
Since then, Miller and her family have continued to own and operate three other restaurants in the area: The Wellington Grille in Beavercreek, Harrison’s in Tipp City and the Blue Berry Cafe in Bellbrook.
“I would like to express my gratitude to the public,” Miller said. “Since 1975 they’ve been supporting me, my staff and all of my restaurants.”
Miller said she decided it was time to close The Wellington Grille because she is 81 years old and has been dealing with staffing shortages since the coronavirus pandemic. She explained at one point she had four to five cooks. Now the restaurant only has two. There have also been times when she has had to step in to do the dishes.
“It’s a struggle,” Miller said. “That’s why we closed down to only open from Tuesday through Saturday. Most of my restaurants are open seven days.”
On top of a worker shortage, Miller said they have also had to deal with food shortages and price increases. She has witnessed this firsthand as she still continues to go to local grocery stores every morning to find fresh produce for her restaurants.
“It’s just much harder to do business with no help and then things are so expensive,” she said.
Miller told Dayton.com she has no plans to close Harrison’s because owning a restaurant gives her structure and a purpose in life.
“I enjoy my work,” she said. “(It) is why I want to have a restaurant even at my age.”
She said her guests and employees make owning a restaurant “worthwhile.” Over the years, she has enjoyed staying in contact with her former employees and watching them get married and have their own families.
Miller also said on behalf of herself, brother and all of her staff, she wanted to express how much they appreciate the community’s loyalty.
“I’m glad we sold (the building), but at the same time it’s very sad that (there are) some people I won’t see,” Miller said.
As Miller was gearing up to tell her staff about the closure, she said her biggest fear was that her employees would leave when she announced they were closing. However, all of her employees at The Wellington Grille are staying until they have to go and are even helping her move and clean up. According to Miller, some of the employees at The Wellington Grille will work at Harrison’s.
The Wellington Grille will be open from 4:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. today, Friday, Saturday, Monday and Tuesday. Miller is encouraging customers to use their gift cards over the course of these final days. If they are unable to do so, Miller said she will honor the gift card at Harrison’s, as long as they have their receipt to show how much the card is worth.
For more information about The Wellington Grille, visit the restaurant’s Facebook page or website.