Donatos Pizza has rebuilt on the same site and will reopen this spring in Harrison Twp.

#DAYTONSTRONG: Restaurant destroyed by tornado gearing up to reopen

Donatos Pizza in Harrison Twp. will be ‘brand new from curb to curb,’ franchise owner says

The franchise owner of a Harrison Twp. restaurant heavily damaged by the Memorial Day tornadoes is putting the finishing touches on a completely rebuilt eatery that is on course to open this spring.

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The Donatos Pizza store at 5120 N. Main St. had to be demolished because of the damage sustained last year, when parts of the structure collapsed. Employees of the store said they took cover inside the pizza shop as the tornado struck, and emerged with no serious injuries despite parts of the building collapsing around them.

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Todd Rogers, president of The Viking Group, Donatos Pizza’s franchise partner for the Columbus-based chain’s Dayton-area stores, made the decision quickly to rebuild on the same spot. A sign erected in front of the new store that is still under construction reads, “Donatos Pizza proudly rebuilding! Serving Harrison Twp. again soon!”

Tyon "Red" Gillis was working at Donatos Pizza in Harrison Twp. when it was hit by a tornado on Memorial Day 2019, May 27. Several businesses around the pizza restaurant were also damaged. Gillis helped his coworkers and workers at the nearby Wendy's.
Photo: Photo by Judy Damewood

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The new restaurant design, similar to Donatos locations in Beavercreek and Huber Heights, fit into the dimensions of the previous structure, which was built in 1994, Rogers said. But it will give diners more room in the 16-seat dining room, and will offer one other important amenity: a call-ahead pickup window.

The changes will help the store’s employees to more efficiently handle peak ordering and dining times, Rogers said.

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Other improvements will come from clearing and landscaping the area surrounding the restaurant.

“It’s basically going to be brand new from curb to curb,” the franchise owner said. “It’s exciting.”

Interior work is still underway. 

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“It looks like we will open in late March or early April,” Rogers told this news outlet Wednesday. 

This new Donatos Pizza is gearing up to open in late March or early April 2020, replacing the Donatos that was destroyed by the Memorial Day tornadoes of 2019.
Photo: Mark Fisher

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