Joe’s Pizzeria a decades-long tradition for owners, customers in Dayton, Riverside



RIVERSIDE — Joe’s Pizzeria has been in business for more than 60 years due in large part to a loyal customer base content to travel to the locally-owned operation.

Joe’s doesn’t offer delivery and — other than its website — it doesn’t advertise, said Mike Peterson, who now owns the 4313 Airway Road site with his wife, Debra.

“It’s just always been word of mouth,” he said. “If you like our product, please come and get it.”

Opened by Robert and Bettie Stanchek in 1959, the eatery has been a family tradition for both owners and patrons alike.



In between the founders and the current proprietors, from 1996 to 2011 it was owned by the Stancheks’ daughter, Linda, and her husband John Schearer, Mike Peterson’s cousin.

It’s “family by love and not by blood,” Debra Peterson said. “We’re just carrying on a tradition.”

The business on Riverside’s edge near Smithville Road may be one of the last buildings drivers pass before entering Dayton.

But it’s the first place many current and former residents of East Dayton and what is now Riverside think about when hit by a pizza craving.



“It was such a part of the fabric of my childhood,” 1990 Wright State University grad Brian Clark said in an email from Florida.

“Even now, I live in Tampa and every time I go (to Dayton) I eat at Joe’s at least once,” he added.

Kettering resident Tammy Jayne said a unique aspect of Joe’s pizzas is “the little crispy cupped pepperonis,” which she’s enjoyed since the 1960s growing up in Mad River Twp. long before Riverside incorporated.

“Joe’s Pizza has a very special place in my heart,” she said. “Every Friday night Dad would order Joe’s … been eating it since the ‘60s, and it is, in my opinion, the best in Dayton.”

Jayne’s not alone. Joe’s is commonly among the finalists in this organization’s Best of Dayton voting. Aside from pizza, its menu includes a variety of sandwiches and a la carte items in a no-frills atmosphere that seats more than 60.

Joe’s currently employs 18 workers, several of whom have been on the job for more than 20 years, Debra Peterson said.

The recipes, Mike Peterson said, originated in Italy and made their way to Dayton via New York City.

“We still make everything the same way we did back in the day … we refuse to change,” he said.

“If I couldn’t afford the product — the quality we put out here — we would close the doors. That’s just how dedicated we are to continue this legacy,” Peterson added.

“We haven’t changed anything and we have no intentions to. It’s just been Joe’s, always the same way,” he said. “People come in and say ‘I haven’t had one in three years,’ and it’s just the same as they remember it. That’s what we try to do.”

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