Restaurant owner says lack of revenue, disagreements doomed art institute partnership

The chef and manager of Leo Bistro says a lack of revenue and disagreements with Dayton Art Institute officials led her and her fellow restaurant owner to part ways with DAI earlier this week.

Dana Downs, co-owner of Roost Modern Italian restaurant in Dayton’s Oregon District who teamed up with the DAI to open Leo Bistro in February, said she had several ideas on how to improve the bistro’s profitability, but could not get cooperation from DAI officials.

DAI officials did not respond directly to Downs’ statements, but DAI Executive Director Michael R. Roediger said, “The needs and priorities of both organizations have changed since the bistro opened, and we mutually agreed that it was in everyone’s best interest to move in a new direction.”

Leo Bistro remains open for lunch Tuesday through Sunday under the direction of Elite Catering while the art institute evaluates its options, DAI Associate Director Jane Black said.

“We are talking to all of our partners, along with some other experienced restaurateurs, about what kinds of food and service they might provide,” Black said.

Catering services already scheduled for weddings and other special events will not be affected, DAI officials said.

Downs, who opened Roost Modern Italian in 2011 with co-owner Beth Hirschbach, said the split from DAI will have no adverse impact on the Oregon District restaurant.

“Actually, it will make it stronger, because we’ll be able to focus our efforts on Roost,” she said.

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