‘Diamond in the rough’ neighborhood restaurant celebrates 45 years in Dayton

Hank’s Local, a hole-in-the-wall bar that was recently updated and transformed into a restaurant with elevated bar food, darts and live music, is celebrating 45 years of being a part of the Dayton community.

Christopher Shay became the owner of the restaurant and bar nearly four years ago after the original owner, Hank Duff, decided to retire. Shay explained that Duff’s nephew, Mike Mantia, had been helping her run the bar in recent years.

Shay and his sons, Chadd and Jesse, used the extra time they had during the coronavirus shutdown to revamp what was formerly a dart room into a kitchen serving made-from-scratch comfort food, unique sandwiches, pizza and more.

Credit: Natalie Jones

Credit: Natalie Jones

“We have a lot of cool stuff that highlights the history of the area,” Chadd said. “I’m really proud of being from Dayton.”

Chadd, who serves as general manager, explained he graduated from The Ohio State University, moved to Denver, but ultimately returned to his hometown to breathe new life into the long-standing establishment.

The menu features several dishes like the Dayton Triangles (nachos), the Wright Bros. Pastrami or the Patterson Pulled Pork Sandwich highlighting the city’s history. Other menu items include wings, salads, burgers, specialty macaroni, sirloin, salmon, stone-fired hand tossed pizzas and more. The restaurant also serves Dayton and Cincinnati-based beers in addition to their high-end scotches and bourbons.

“It’s a diamond in the rough,” Chadd said. “It’s one of those places where you walk in from the outside, you don’t know what to expect and you walk in and you’re amazed.”

He explained the establishment went from a dark, hole-in-the-wall bar to a warm and inviting restaurant “with a really cool, hip vibe where you feel like you’re almost part of a speakeasy.”

Shay said the establishment fits several niches from a sports bar to a social club.

One aspect the family is really proud of is their ability to promote and support local businesses. For example, Shay said their bread and pretzels come from Big Sky Bread Company in Kettering.

In the future, he said they are planning to enclose their patio, update the exterior, host more private events and parties and offer pizza delivery using a newly, renovated truck.

Credit: Natalie Jones

Credit: Natalie Jones

“We just want to grow the business to where we satisfy the community,” Shay said. “We want this place to feel like home.”

Hank’s Local, known previously as Hank’s Pub, has been a second home to many customers over the years including their longtime bartender Tammy Freeman who has worked at the bar for nearly 40 years.

“We have a lot of regulars who are here every single day no matter what,” Chadd said. “You know them by name. You know their life stories.”

The family said they are lucky to be involved in an establishment that has such a long-standing history in the Dayton area.

Hank’s Local, located at 2529 Patterson Road in Dayton, is open Monday through Saturday starting at 11 a.m. The restaurant opens early on Sundays for brunch starting at 9:30 a.m.

The family is planning to celebrate the establishment’s 45th anniversary next month with a special event. For more information on the restaurant and bar or a list of upcoming musicians and bands performing, visit www.hankslocal.com or its Facebook or Instagram pages.

Credit: Natalie Jones

Credit: Natalie Jones

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