Eunice Kim and Steve Crandall, founders of Flyboys Deli
Photo: Contributed
Photo: Contributed

Founders of Flyboys Deli open up on how restaurant was born

Steve Crandall and Eunice Kim are our Daytonians of the Week as they work to open new location in downtown Dayton

Steve Crandall served as a self-described “flyboy” long before he and his wife Eunice Kim moved to Dayton from Maryland a decade ago. 

Crandall, a retired Air Force colonel, and his wife, Eunice Kim, who worked in and managed deli-style restaurants on the East Coast for 15 years,  decided shortly after they moved to Dayton to combine their passions and bring Dayton a unique deli experience. Thus, “Flyboys Deli” was born in Oakwood in 2013, with a design and decor that celebrate Dayton’s aviation heritage and its history as a cradle of invention.

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A second location operated at the Mall at Fairfield Commons in Beavercreek until the end of 2019, but now the husband-and-wife founders of Flyboys Deli have signed a lease to open a new restaurant on the ground floor of a CareSource building at 219 N. Patterson Boulevard in downtown Dayton. Plans call for the new restaurant to open later this year.

Crandall and Kim are our Dayton.com Daytonians of the Week. We’ll let them tell you their story.

What’s a typical work day for you? 

We focus on our strengths. Eunice concentrates on the kitchen aspects and Steve focuses on the business needs. The “kids,” Paul, Eunice’s son, and Sean, our son-in-law, manage the day-to-day operations. 

What brought you to Dayton, and why you decided to settle in the area? 

In 2010, we moved from Maryland. Steve was working for SAIC, supporting Air Force programs. Eunice noted that in 2013 there weren’t many delis locally, so she asked, “Why don’t we start one?” Steve said, jokingly, “What’s that?” We decided to move ahead. Steve thought, why not, at least one of us knows what she is doing! 

What’s been your most recent professional challenge, and how did you push through the challenge? 

The decision to close our Beavercreek location. We loved serving the Beavercreek community, particularly the Air Force folks and those who support them. Steve knew many of them and even flew with several of them. He also worked with many of the offices on base. So it was a tough, but necessary, decision. 

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We had an offer from CareSource, who has become a wonderful partner downtown, that made it an easier transition. We are in the build-out phase downtown but are very excited about the new location. We look forward to opening our doors for business in the late spring. 

What are your favorite places to eat and/or drink in the Dayton area other than Flyboys Deli? 

Tokyo Sushi, Troni’s Italian Restaurant, Asian Gourmet and North China. 

What’s your guilty pleasure – recognizing, of course, that you already have some delicious temptations in your restaurant? 

We love cake, ice cream and Milk Duds! 

What inspires you about the Dayton area? 

Eunice grew up reading about The Wright Brothers in history books in Korea. When we talked about moving to Dayton, she got so excited because the famous Wright Brothers were from Dayton! We both love recognizing two of the most influential people of all time, the Wright brothers, and all the rich heritage of aviation right here in Dayton. 

Much of our menu and décor pays tribute to some of the world’s greatest minds from Dayton, Ohio. From the cash register, to pull-top cans, to aviation, Dayton changed the world through its inventions (and its inventors).

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We strive to reflect the spirit of these inventors at Flyboys. We also love the friendliness of Dayton! We are family-friendly and we especially love kids and grandpas coming to experience Flyboys!

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