A look inside Tony & Pete’s Groceries and Coldcuts now open in downtown Dayton

Dayton’s newest neighborhood market and old-school sandwich shop is now open in the Fire Blocks District.

Justin Simmons and Kathleen Roll, a husband and wife team, opened Tony & Pete’s Groceries and Coldcuts at 129 E. Third Street earlier this week.

Tony & Pete’s has a small, curated selection of staple grocery items including fresh produce, milk, eggs, beer and wine.

The 2,100 square-foot business also has multiple old-school sandwich counters. The couple said the menu includes mostly cold-cut sandwiches, a few warm sandwiches, salads and sides.

“I think what we’re most excited about is just to be able to be a part of the downtown Dayton community,” Simmons said. “To (not only) come back to a place that we always knew we would be coming back to for the rest of our lives in some compacity, but to be able to actively put our stamp on it.”

Roll was born and raised in the Dayton area. Simmons moved here in 2007 to attend Wright State University - that’s where the couple met. The couple said they lived and worked in downtown Dayton for a decade before moving to Chicago several years ago. Now, they are back in the Dayton area.

“This concept specifically was born out of the pandemic. When we were kind of pulled away in our apartment in Chicago, we were relying on small markets like this to feed ourselves,” Roll said.

Credit: Katie Blauser

Credit: Katie Blauser

The couple said they are hoping to work with local vendors to stock their shelves.

“There’s a lot of really incredible people making some delicious things in Dayton that we hope to highlight,” Simmons said.

The name of the business is a nod to Simmons’ dad, Tony, and Roll’s dad, Pete.

“We thought that their names were a great fit for a sandwich shop,” Roll said. “They’re just wonderful guys that we wanted to pay homage to.”

The couple said they are excited to find a space in downtown Dayton where there’s a lot of momentum.

The new market will be opening after years of rapidly developing downtown housing, which has brought hundreds of new residents, and therefore grocery shoppers, into the city core.

In recent years, the Delco Lofts, Centerfield Flats and Arcade opened with more than 100 units each, Water Street added more than 250 units, while smaller developments including multiple Simms condominiums and the Wheelhouse Lofts added new residents as well.

The Fire Blocks District, where the market will be located, also welcomed new residents into the Huffman Lofts and Elks Lofts. The area saw a variety of businesses come into its storefronts, such as Two Social, a bar with axe-throwing and other adult games; Jollity, a new restaurant with “elevated midwestern fare”; Bozacks Cocktail Lounge; and Third Perk Coffeehouse & Wine Bar.

“We’re really excited to be apart of the small business community in downtown Dayton,” Simmons said. “We really feel like this is a thriving community where everybody is genuine, neighborly and everyone is looking out for each other.”

“We were really hoping to fill a hole in downtown Dayton,” Roll added. “We’re really hoping the neighbors and people that work downtown can really gravitate towards what we’re doing here.”

The new market will join downtown Dayton’s existing grocery store, Stop N Save at 36 W. Third St., on the block with the Dayton Arcade. Additionally, member-owned Gem City Market opened in the city just under a year ago, along lower Salem Avenue northwest of downtown.

“We feel like we are providing a true amenity and we’re doing it with our own style fused throughout it,” Simmons said.

Tony & Pete’s Groceries and Coldcuts is open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. For more information about Tony & Pete’s, visit their Instagram or Facebook pages. For vendor inquires, email hello@tonyandpetes.com.