Dayton tavern closing, new life coming in February

Angie’s Firehouse Tavern closed its doors Jan. 17 at 703 Watervliet Ave. in Dayton’s Belmont neighborhood but new life is on the way.

For decades the neighborhood-friendly restaurant has been a spot where generations of families gathered for a home-cooked meal.

DeLov and Shawn Ledbetter, the new owners, said people can expect “the same great food with a touch of Nashville” in early February after they complete a remodel. The couple owns Lov’s Whiskey Barrel Saloon, located at 939 N. Keowee St. in Dayton, and plans for the Watervliet site to be their second location.

Credit: Submitted Photo

Credit: Submitted Photo

“Lov’s Whiskey Barrel Saloon is an old school, honky-tonk straight out of Nashville,” Shawn said.

“It’s Dayton’s number one honky-tonk,” DeLov added.

The couple opened the bar in May 2020 because of their love for country music and Southern rock. They said when they were growing up in East Dayton there were several establishments with a honky-tonk vibe but that trend diminished in recent years.

“Bars weren’t the same as they used to be,” DeLov said. “We wanted a place that we enjoyed going to.”

The couple said they had been looking for a second location for about a year and are excited to have a spot in their former stomping grounds.

The tavern dates back to 1938 when it was called Angi’s. Patrick Reed, owner of Angie’s Firehouse Tavern, previously explained that back then the locals were unable to pronounce the name of the restaurant, so they simply called it Angie’s. The Angi family primarily served Hungarian-style food and had a reputation of having the best cabbage rolls in town. Reed said the tavern is still known for its cabbage rolls and he has been told the cabbage rolls are “spot on” compared to decades ago.

As Reed prepares to close a chapter in his life, he’s proud that Angie’s had a good run but acknowledged he is tired after 13 years in the restaurant industry and 30 years in the fire department.

“I feel good because we breathed some life back into this old girl that had been here since 1938 and provided jobs for a lot of the local people,” Reed said. “It was an opportunity for me to give something back to the city that provided me a good living on the fire department for 30 years. This place was inches from the wrecking ball when I took over.”

He said he will miss “the comradery of the people that worked here and the loyalty of the customers.” He described his customers as “really good people” and added he will miss them sharing stories of coming to restaurant decades ago.

“I’m going to miss them, but it’s time to move on,” Reed said.

The new owners said customers can expect new additions to the menu like barbecue ribs, Saturday and Sunday breakfast, live music, bar bingo, karaoke and much more. Renovations begin Friday with an expected opening of Feb. 1 or Feb. 3, Shawn said.

For more information on what’s to come, visit Lov’s Whiskey Barrel Saloon’s Facebook page.

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