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JUST IN: Owners of local, independent bookstore apply for beer & wine license

A locally owned and independent bookstore and cafe would like to be able to serve something a little stronger than just coffee or tea to its customers.

>> Dave Chappelle throwing another epic party in Yellow Springs this weekend

The owner of the Storybrooke Cafe at 8381 N. Main St. in the Randolph Plaza in Clayton applied last week for licenses to serve beer and wine at the bookstore cafe. 

 >>  PHOTOS: A sneak peek inside the new Branch & Bone brewery

The bookstore cafe, which opened in early 2017 at 556 S. Main St. in Englewood, sells books for all ages, and serves specialty beverages and treats. 

>> RELATED: Cozy local cafe enchants with literary magic, Harry Potter drinks

Storybrooke owner Natalie Lowry said the store’s move from Englewood to the Randolph Plaza has allowed for greater flexibility and more space, so she intends to increase the number of special events that the store hosts.

>> Dayton is the setting of new Stephen King novel about ‘the mind of evil’

“Our guests have considerable interest in expanding our specialty line of drinks to carry specialty beers and wines,” Lowry said.

>> 7 ways to celebrate Memorial Day in (and around) Dayton

Plans call for changing Storybrooke’s name, and the store’s customers have been brainstorming and voting on their favorite new names on social media, the business owner said.

JUST IN: Retail store closes at the Dayton Mall after more than a decade

A retail store that has served customers chocolates, coffee and wine for more than a decade in front of the Dayton Mall shut down permanently this week, its franchise owner confirmed to this news outlet today.

>> Both Dayton-area Zoup! restaurants shut down abruptly

The final day for Winans Chocolates + Coffees — which sold chocolates, coffee and wine — was Monday, May 21, according to Ben Czajka, the franchisee who oversees the Dayton-area stores for the Piqua-based Winans. 

>> NEW TODAY: Local gamer bar Cardboard Crowns to shut down after 7 months

Czajka said the move represents a consolidation.

>> Kettering business asked to leave shopping center after 25 years

“The lease at the Dayton Mall location — it was a 10 year lease — has been up for over a year now, and we recently, about a year ago, opened (a shop) on Feedwire Road, so that gave us three locations in the Centerville area,” Czajka  said. The third location is on Far Hills Avenue in Washington Twp. just north of Centerville.

>> Winans wins national award for product innovation for Easter candy

The Feedwire location across from the Cornerstone of Centerville development “is seen as a better location in a growing area with better parking and visibility,” Czajka said. “So we are still growing, just repositioning. All of the employees are still with us;  they either transferred to Far Hills or Feedwire.”

>> PHOTOS: Did we spot you sipping wine at Carillon Park’s Fleurs De Fete?

Laurie Winans Reiser, co-owner of Winans, said the closure was “based on the changing retail climate around the 725/741 corridor.”

>> COSI announces plans for EPIC new science festival

Reiser said Winans “just completed a very successful new store opening in Wapakoneta, our 18th store. And we are excited about our newest store in downtown Columbus and its growth.”

>> 3 restaurants have closed at this high-traffic location

The chain traces its roots to the late 1800s, and is now under the fourth generation of family ownership of Joe Reiser and Laurie Winans Reiser.  

Both Dayton-area Zoup! restaurants shut down abruptly

Both Dayton-area Zoup! restaurants have shut down permanently, its franchise co-owner told this news outlet today, Tuesday May 22.

>> NEW TODAY: Local gamer bar Cardboard Crowns to shut down after 7 months 

Zoup franchise owners opened their first Dayton-area restaurant adjacent to Whole Foods on Ohio 725 in Washington Twp.,  and opened its second location at 5235 Cornerstone North Boulevard in the Cornerstone of Centerville development in Centerville just four months ago. Initial plans called for the franchise owners, Kevin Forrer and Brian Wood, to open two more Dayton-area locations.

>> PHOTOS: Did we spot you sipping wine at Carillon Park’s Fleurs De Fete?

>> ALSO NEW TODAY: COSI announces plans for EPIC new science festival

But Forrer said Tuesday that poor sales at both locations were the primary factor in the decision to close.

>> Kettering business asked to leave shopping center after 25 years

“Unfortunately, it just didn’t work out,” he said.

>> 3 restaurants have closed at this high-traffic location

The first Zoup! restaurant opened in Southfield, Mi., in suburban Detroit in 1998. The chain operates more than 80 locations across the northern half of the U.S.

>> RELATED: Zoup! sets opening date for its 2nd Dayton-area restaurant (January 2018)

>> 7 of our favorite soups

FOOD NEWS: Local restaurant chain named to national ‘Top 100 Movers & Shakers’ list

A Kettering-based restaurant chain scored some national acclaim over the weekend when it was named to Fast Casual’s “Top 100 Movers and Shakers” list.

It’s at least the second appearance on the list for Hot Head Burritos, which opened its first restaurant in Kettering in 2007. Hot Head was #54 in the 2012 Top 100 Movers and Shakers list, and earned #57 on the 2018 list, which was announced over the weekend at a national restaurant convention, according to Kelly Gray, Hot Head’s director of real estate. Hot Head co-founders Ray Wiley and Matt Curtis accepted the award with Gray.

>> RELATED: Hot Head Burritos has big plans — and they involve alcohol

The Top 100 list is selected by Fast Casual, a publication and web site that cover the fast-casual segment of the restaurant industry.

>> Your Guide to 2018 festivals in and around the Miami Valley

Hot Head’s rapid initial growth earned national recognition. In December 2011, the chain was named among the “Ones to Watch” by QSR Magazine, which monitors the “quick-service restaurant” category.

>> NEW TODAY: Festival to give away BIG prizes when it sells its 1 millionth famous chicken dinner

Hot Head now operates more than 70 restaurants in eight states. It has been renovating some of its older stores and has added alcoholic beverages, with an emphasis on craft beer and margaritas, at several of its Dayton-area locations. 

>> RELATED: Daytonian of the Week: Ray Wiley, co-founder of Hot Head Burritos and Rapid Fired Pizza

The Mexican chain isn’t the only restaurant chain with a Dayton-area presence to be recognized by the “movers and shakers” list. In 2016, Dickey’s Barbecue Pit, which opened its first Dayton-area location last November in Springboro, captured first place on on that year’s “Top 100 Movers and Shakers” list.

Newly opened coffee shop adds Young’s Jersey Dairy ice cream

A locally owned and independent coffee shop has added ice cream from Young’s Jersey Dairy to its menu, starting today, Friday May 18.

Grind House Coffee and Tea, which opened just last month at 313 W. Main St. in Fairborn, has been “test-dipping” cones from the iconic Yellow Springs ice cream shop this week, but formally launches Young’s ice cream today.

>> NEW DETAILS: Kettering shopping center owner says tenants told to leave for violations

"I came to Fairborn to share my passion of coffee with the community, and when the opportunity to sell ice cream presented itself, I was humbled to partner with well-known local producer Young's Jersey Dairy,” said Bill Miller Jr., CEO of Grind House Coffee and Tea.

>> The same local BBQ rub declared best, worst in America

The coffee shop’s hours are 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

>> NEW TODAY: Your complete guide to all the festivals happening in Dayton this weekend

Miller said all menu items, including ice cream, will be available for delivery via Doordash starting today.

JUST IN: Burger King to open 4 more Dayton-area locations

A Dayton-area Burger King franchisee is planning to add four more restaurants in the region over the next 12 to 18 months, starting with a new location in Clayton. 

Matt Carpenter, CEO of TOMS King Services based in Palatine, Illinois, said he is very bullish on the Dayton-area market — and that’s why his company is significantly expanding its franchise footprint in the region. TOMS King owns and operates more than 100 Burger King restaurants across Ohio, Illinois, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Virginia, making it one of the 10 largest Burger King franchisees in the country.

>> Local food truck rises from the dead

Carpenter confirmed to this news outlet that his company has signed a lease to build a new restaurant at 7151 Hoke Road in Clayton. If all goes well with with permits and other regulatory requirements, the new restaurant will be under construction by mid-summer, and is scheduled to open before the end of the year, the TOMS King CEO said. The City of Clayton Planning Commission is scheduled to consider a request for architecture and landscape review of the project on Monday, May 21. The new store will create 45 to 50 new jobs, about half of them full-time.

>>PHOTOS: Sneak peek inside Salar as it makes a comeback after devastating fire

Another three to four new Burger King restaurants are in various stages of planning and development in the Dayton region, Carpenter said. TOMS King is still negotiating leases and other details of the new stores, and Carpenter declined to disclose their locations.

>> PHOTOS: Did we spot you at the Vintage Ohio South wine festival?

TOMS King isn’t the only Burger King franchisee in the Dayton area, but it is growing quickly. The company opened a new restaurant at 9189 Dayton-Lebanon Pike (Ohio 48) in Washington Twp. south of Centerville in March, and just a month later, opened a newly built restaurant at 60 S. Broad St. in Fairborn.

>> RELATED: Burger King opens on fast-food strip in Washington Twp. 

>> RELATED: Burger King opens Monday on former Flying Tiger Chinese Restaurant site

“We’re excited about the Dayton market,” Carpenter said. “We think it is under-served.”

The Dayton area’s municipalities and townships and chambers of commerce are more business-friendly than many other markets TOMS King operates in, Carpenter said. “Some places make it pretty difficult to do business,” he said.

>> Local beer distributor announces bold move to secure its future

The Dayton area’s real-estate and leasing prices are comparatively inexpensive, and its employment environment is strong, the franchisee company CEO said.

>> The largest international festival in Dayton and Ohio is back for a 45th year

Oregon District restaurant rising from fire and readying for brand new chapter

An Oregon District businesses woman is fighting the uncertainty her business is facing after damage from a fire with food.

Margot Blondet, the owner of Salar Restaurant and Lounge at 400 E. Fifth St., is planning a three-part chef’s dinner at her home to help support the business and its plan to reopen.

>> Restaurant owner vows to reopen after devastating fire

Blondet has been working to reopen Salar since a devastating New Year’s Eve weekend fire. 

>> Salar owner after fire: ‘My heart is broken for my people’ 

WHY HAVE DINNERS?

She has made progress, but the business will remain closed for months to come as the restaurant and its building are remodeled and permits are obtained.

“It can be June or July, but what happens if it’s August?” Blondet said. “We are doing these events to survive.  I am hoping that we don’t need more.”

The restaurant has insurance, but financial pressures are often exacerbated the longer a business is closed. 

>> PHOTOS: Progress inside of Salar after fire 

ABOUT THE DINNERS

Margot is hosting a series of three pop-up dinners at her home May 19 and June 9 and 23. 

Seating is limited to 35 people for each of the five-course meals. The cost for each meal each date is $99. 

Guests will be able to sample and rate dishes that may appear on Salar’s menu when it returns. 

Blondet, who recently returned from a trip to her hometown Lima, Peru, said some Salar favorites will also be served. 

She said she is thankful for the support the community has shown to her and her staff. 

“They are so excited to see us and to eat the food,” Blondet said. “People are waiting. We are too.”

THE NEW SALAR

Diners can expect an entire new look to the restaurant  Blondet, a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu in Lima, Peru, opened Salar in 2013 at the former site of Sidebar.

>> 10 restaurants that opened locally in 2013

Blondet was Sidebar’s executive chef.

Blondet is again working with industrial designer Mitch Perry on Salar’s new, lighter and softer look for the restaurant and its patios.

 “We are saying bye to the black,” she said. “It is going to be so pretty.” 

Changes have already been made to the bar area, floor and other parts of the restaurant. 

>> After devastating fire, popular Oregon District restaurant poised to reopen -- with big changes

The DAMAGE DONE AND WORK AHEAD 

A fire door installed by Blondet prevented more serious fire damage to the front of the restaurant, but the smell of smoke damage lingered particularly in the restaurant’s back lounge  during this news organization’s recent visit to Salar.

Blondet said the smell will be removed. 

Several areas — the kitchen and a former office space included — are still without electricity. 

A prep and a pantry, an area where Blondet suspects the blaze began between floors, still needs significant repairs. 

>> Brunch Club owner says fire damage more extensive than first thought. When will the restaurant reopen?

About a half-dozen businesses were impacted by the fire Friday, Dec. 29, 2017. 

Spice Paradise and Hicks Barber Shop and Shave Parlor are among those that have already reopened. 

>> This beloved Oregon District shop is now open again after devastating fire

EVA CHRISTIAN: Divided Ohio Supreme Court keeps imprisoned restaurant owner’s appeal alive

By the narrowest of margins, the Ohio Supreme Court has agreed to take another look — its fourth, in total — at the long-running case of former Dayton restaurant owner and current prison inmate Eva Christian, whose criminal case has spent more than seven years in the judicial system.

>> RELATED: 7 things to know about Eva Christian and why she’s in prison

Christian — who owned and operated Cafe Boulevard (later Boulevard Haus) in Dayton’s Oregon District for 15 years — has spent nearly six years in the Ohio Reformatory for Women in Marysville of her nine-year sentence for multiple felony and misdemeanor convictions related to insurance fraud.

>> NEW TODAY: Downtown beer house now serving cocktails on tap

The legal issue that the supreme court has agreed to hear could potentially shave one year from Christian’s nine-year sentence, moving up her release date from its current May 8, 2021 to no later than May of 2020. 

Montgomery County prosecutors brought charges against Christian in 2011, gained a conviction in 2012, and have worked to uphold the conviction and its full nine-year sentence ever since during a long and circuitous appeals process.

>> RELATED:Eva Christian wanted to ‘blow up’ Dayton Mall restaurant

Earlier this year, prosecutors urged the state’s highest court to re-examine the decision handed down late last year by a three-judge panel of the Ohio 2nd District Court of Appeals that would effectively shorten Christian’s sentence from nine years to a maximum of eight years.

>> Fifth Street Brewpub’s Tanya Brock on her guilty pleasures and the future of Dayton

Prosecutors claimed the precedent that the appeals court decision set could have widespread impact on other cases. “The court of appeals has created bad law that could adversely affect numerous re-sentencing hearings,” Assistant Montgomery County Prosecutor Heather Jans wrote in the appeal.

Their arguments were successful on convincing the state’s highest court to take another look — but just barely. Online state records show that the vote to accept the case for review was 4 to 3.

>> RELATED: Prosecutors appeal Eva Christian decision to Supreme Court

The criminal case involved break-ins and a 2009 fire that Christian reported and which prosecutors said were staged in order to collect insurance money: a break-in at her Washington Twp. home and a reported vandalism and fire at what was then her second restaurant, Cena Brazilian Steakhouse in front of the Dayton Mall in Miami Twp.

RELATED: Restaurant owner renews fight to get prison sentence reduced (February 2017)

A jury convicted Christian in 2012 of five counts related to insurance fraud, filing a false report and running a crime ring. Since then, her appeals have bounced among the court of appeals, the state supreme court and the trial court.

RELATED: How a local restaurateur fell from grace

In the most recent appeals-court decision, judges ruled that Montgomery County Common Pleas Judge Barbara P. Gorman exceeded her authority when she re-imposed the full, original nine-year sentence to Christian after the severity of some of the five felony charges on which Christian was convicted was reduced on appeal. Prosecutors had argued that the judge was well within her sentencing rights and had urged appeals-court judges to keep Christian’s nine-year sentence intact.

RELATED: Appeals court reduces restaurateur Eva Christian’s prison sentence

The former restaurant owner is scheduled to be re-sentenced by Judge Gorman in January. The prosecutor’s latest appeal has no immediate impact on the re-sentencing hearing, a spokesman for the prosecutor’s office told this news outlet.

>> ‘Secret’ Dayton restaurant now delivering piping hot, golden-crusted empanadas

“The trial court must still follow the mandate of the Ohio 2nd District Court of Appeals,” the spokesman said. “The trial court could (postpone) the sentencing until a decision is made by the Supreme Court, but it is not required to do so.”

‘Secret’ Dayton restaurant now delivering piping hot, golden-crusted empanadas 

You can now get (or will soon be able to get) piping hot, golden-crusted empanadas delivered to you.

The owners of La Embajada Underground, an Argentinean-style eatery that offers “secret dining,” have launched an empanada delivery service for the Miamisburg, Centerville, West Carrollton, Kettering and Oakwood areas. 

The company recently purchased a food trailer specifically for empanadas and expects to use it to expand its delivery service to the rest of Montgomery County in a few months. 

>> We take you inside Dayton’s first underground restaurant 

“I know we are going to be the place to come for empanadas,” Monica Fabregat, who owns La Embajada with her husband Jorge, told this news organization.  

>>MORE: Dayton’s 1st ‘Underground Restaurant’ to host dinner event — somewhere (Oct. 27, 2016)

The couple has been in communication with fans who have eaten at their restaurant or eaten their empanadas at local farmers markets where they operated as La Embajada. 

Fabregat said there is a minimum purchase of a half-dozen empanadas for delivery and a $3 delivery fee. Six  empanadas cost $12. 

>> The 12 best restaurants in Dayton

Restaurants in Argentina sell up to 15 types of empanadas, said Fabregat, a native of Buenos Aires.

Her restaurant sells seven including beef, chicken, spinach, vegan spinach, soy beef, corn and a German-style blood sausage empanada. 

Jorge is perfecting a spicy empanada and one made with seafood, she said. 

Varieties are ordered in sets of three.

Customers will be able to place orders through La Embajada Underground’s Facebook page. 

Fabregat said a menu and order button will soon be added to the page. Right now, direct message the business on Facebook to inquire about delivery.

Iconic restaurant near Ohio State closing after nearly 80 years 

One of the state’s most well-known hangouts announced it is closing its doors permanently. 

The Blue Danube Restaurant, a tavern opened 78 years ago at 2439 N. High St. near Ohio State University, announced on Facebook that its last day in business will be Father’s Day, June 17. 

>> These Dayton restaurants opened in April 

The establishment, known as the Dube, posted the following on Facebook on Monday: 

“There is no easy way to break the news, but the time has come. After 78 years of service, the Blue Danube will be closing its doors. The official last day of operation is set to be June 17th. Those of us that work there would like to thank everyone for allowing us to provide such a comfortable meeting space for so many. We've loved being a part of your lives from the everyday mundane to the most life changing of moments. Thank you for coming to us with your engagements, your celebrations, your goodbyes, your need for safety, or even just to hang with people and decompress. The Dube family will be hanging in there until the end, and will be welcoming back some familiar faces to work some rockstar shifts in order to ensure everyone has time to say their goodbyes. Please feel free to share your thoughts and memories with us. We would love to hear them! Join us in celebrating The Dube and all of the shenanigans it's been a part of.”

According to a Columbus Dispatch report, the bar’s landlord plans a major renovation of the building that it occupies. 

“Essentially, (Danube owner) Bob (Swaim) told us he is done, the ’Dube is closing, and that’s the end,” assistant general manager Lindsey Heyob told that newspaper.>> Meadowlark owner’s new sandwich shop plans off the table — for now

The Blue Danube serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. 

It is the latest locally-owned establishment to surrender as developers polish the commercial area near Ohio State’s campus and attract national chains with deeper pockets, the Dispatch reports.  

>> RELATED: The 12 best restaurants in Dayton

>> Readers say these restaurants and bars are the best 

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