DAYTON — Want to have dinner at the Pine Club? You may have to wait — just ask former President George H. W. Bush.
The long-time Dayton establishment doesn’t take reservations, credit cards or serve desserts. But going there is a time-honored tradition for many.
A steak house on Brown Street, the Pine Club opened in 1947. David Hulme purchased it in 1979, and has spent the past 32 years improving it, while maintaining its founding principles.
“Every single thing that we do has been thought out and modified and honed for 66 years,” Hulme said.
One of the Pine Club’s principles is that they don’t take credit cards. They only accept cash. However, if a diner doesn’t know this before eating and only has a credit card, the restaurant will start a Pine Club house account.
“I have just about 22,000 Pine Club house accounts,” Hulme said.
The majority of the house accounts belong to people outside of Ohio who were unaware of the credit card policy. The house account is set up by taking the diner’s information, and a bill will be sent to the diner’s house.
“It wouldn’t work everyplace, but it works here,” he said.
The Pine Club also doesn’t take reservations. Hulme said he believes that people need to be treated equally, no matter who you are or when you come in. Even the first former President Bush and his wife, Barbara, had to wait when they came to the restaurant.
“Secret Service came in the front door and said, ‘George and Barbara Bush and their party of five want to come in and eat. What can you do for us?’ I said, ‘Well the wait is 45 minutes. Tell them to come on in,’ ” Hulme said.
One thing that has changed is that the Pine Club now takes online orders. Customers can order boxed steaks, salad dressings and stewed tomatoes at www.thepineclub.com.
“Whoever would have thought that the Pine Club would have an online presence?” Hulme said.
While adding technology has helped, the restaurant stays true to its founding principles of good food and good service.
“This is our livelihood, and we take great pride in doing it.”
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