Vacant Kettering restaurant attracts city’s attention for wrong reasons

Former restaurant space in Kettering that was once a thriving regional destination has fallen on hard times and was the subject of a building-code enforcement notice from city officials earlier this month.

Kettering Police noticed that the former El Rio Grande restaurant at 2801 S. Dixie Drive was not secure from entry in the rear of the facility and notified the city’s building-code department. That led to the posting of an enforcement notice on the front door directed to the property’s owners, listed on the document and in Montgomery County property records as Pedro and Maria Torres of Amherst, Ohio, ordering them to secure the building to prevent unauthorized access.

Stacy Wall Schweikhart, spokeswoman for the city of Kettering, said the city had to bring in a contractor to secure the building, which she said has been “vacant for some time.” The cost of the contract work was not immediately available.

The building dates to the 1950s and enjoyed its heyday in the 1960s and 1970s as the Colony Club, a nightclub and restaurant that brought in big-band musical acts that attracted large crowds from throughout the region. After the Colony Club shut down, it became Mindy’s nightclub in the 1990s, then was a series of restaurants, including Los 3 Amigos, El Rancho Grande and, most recently, El Rio Grande.

El Rio Grande shut down initially in 2012, later reopened, and shut down again in 2015.

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