Decorated cakes from ele' Cake Co. , which announced Sunday, March 22, 2020 that it would temporarily close down at the end of business on Monday, March 23 due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic and the statewide “stay-at-home” order set to go into effect March 24.
Photo: Lisa Powell
Photo: Lisa Powell

Some local restaurants, shops shut down carryout operations 

Ohio’s ‘stay-at-home’ order exempts eateries selling food to go and stores that sell alcohol, but some are making the decision to close for safety reasons

Some Dayton-area restaurants and shops that had been offering carryout and delivery during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic suspended operations entirely over the weekend, and the statewide “stay-at-home” order issued Sunday accelerated the rate of those temporary closings.

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Dozens of Dayton-area restaurants appear poised to continue selling meals to go. The stay-at-home order that is scheduled to take effect at midnight tonight, Monday March 23, specifically exempts restaurants selling prepared food for curbside pickup and delivery, as it also exempts beer-and-wine shops and liquor stores, many of which are staying open. And Ohioans are allowed to leave their homes to pick up food and beverages, alcoholic or non-alcoholic.

>> Which Dayton-area restaurants are offering carryout, delivery and curbside service?

But many of the restaurants and shops that announced over the weekend that they are shutting down their operations indefinitely said they were taking the action to help protect the health of their staff. Some also acknowledged that costs and disappointing sales contributed to their decision. 

Bunkers Sports Bar and Grill in Vandalia was among those announcing its temporary closure, “until the coronavirus pandemic is behind us,” the sports bar’s owners said.

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“Our #1 priority is the health and safety of our staff and customers,” Bunkers’ owners wrote on the bar and restaurant’s Facebook page. “As the pandemic continues to hit closer to home, our employees have expressed concern and an increased desire to self-quarantine with their families. We appreciate all your support through this difficult time and look forward to serving you in the near future when we can reopen our doors.”

The Barrel House beer bar at East Third Street and Wayne Avenue in downtown Dayton had remained open, selling beer and wine for carryout, after Gov. Mike DeWine ordered all bars and restaurant dining rooms to shut down March 15. But Barrel House owners Sara and Gus Stathes announced on the shop’s Facebook page Sunday that when the shop’s doors closed at 9 p.m. Sunday, “they will stay closed until the Stay-At-Home order has been lifted.” 

>> Local restaurant chain to add groceries to its menu during shutdown

“While we could legally stay open, we feel it’s in everyone’s best interest that we limit face-to-face social interaction as much as we can,” the owners said. “Our crew and our customers are our family, and we couldn’t live with ourselves if our decisions harmed their health.”

Spinoza’s  Pizza & Salads in the Mall at Fairfield Commons in Beavercreek also announced Sunday it was shutting down its carryout operations “in order to protect our staff and families.” 

The owners of “ele cake company” that operates in West Carrollton, Beavercreek and Miami Twp. announced on the bakery’s Facebook page Sunday their shops would close at the end of business today, Monday March 23.

“While baking has been outlined as being considered an Essential Business and Operation, we feel that is in the best interest of our employees and our guests to temporarily close our stores,” the cake bakery’s owners wrote. “This has been an incredibly difficult decision for us. We appreciate your patience and loyalty as we navigate this difficult path! We look forward to re-opening as soon as possible so we can all continue to celebrate the many special occasions in life!”

>> Dayton’s most popular bourbon bar hit hard but will survive, its co-owner vows

The Wandering Griffin brewpub in Beavercreek also announced Sunday it was shutting down its kitchens and carryout operations, although it will remain open to sell craft beer to go through carryout and drive-through options. 

"After exploring all options, including maintaining a skeleton crew this past week in giving carryout and delivery a shot, we are just not able to generate the sales volume necessary to justify the costs," David Jennings, head brewer for The Wandering Griffin, said on the brewpub's Facebook page. 

"Sadly, we have had to furlough our staff, which is the absolute worst part of this whole thing. Our employees are the lifeblood of this brewpub which makes it so hard to say goodbye, even temporarily. This is heartbreaking for me and my leadership team, and we are doing what we can to ensure our employees feel supported, comfortable and safe through this whole ordeal. ... Our goal is to rehire our employees as soon as we possibly can when this extraordinary episode ends."

On Saturday, prior to Sunday’s announcement of the stay-at-home order, Tiger Wang, CEO of China Cottage, which operates four restaurants in the Dayton area, issued a news release announcing the restaurants would temporarily “cease operations at all our locations” effective Sunday. The restaurants in Kettering, Springboro,  Washington Twp. and Trotwood had been selling carryout meals.

“Nothing is more important to us than the safety and well-being of our customers and employees,” the China Cottage founder said. “We are living through a great time of uncertainty, and it is only sensible for us to remain closed until further notice.”

Also late last week, the operators of Dayton History’s Culp’s Cafe and Carillon Brewing Co. in  Dayton notified this news outlet via email that they too were closing their kitchens, as did the owner of Salsas Mexican Restaurant in Riverside. 

Many local restaurants appear poised to remain open and operating for curbside/no-contact carryout following strict health guidelines.

Both Arrow Wine & Spirits stores in Kettering and in Washington Twp. will remain open for normal business hours, its owners said. “We may limit individuals in the store at one time, but we will remain open for business,” Arrow’s owners said on Facebook

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