Two downtown Dayton businesses have each other’s backs during pandemic

Pizza Bandit steps in to aid friends at Ghostlight Coffee after employee’s positive test

When the going got rough, Pizza Bandit and Ghostlight Coffee made the situation delicious.

Last week, Ghostlight closed both its Wayne Avenue and South Patterson Boulevard locations temporarily after a staff member at its Midtown location on South Patterson Boulevard tested positive for coronavirus. The shop’s friends at Pizza Bandit, a food truck that calls the Yellow Cab Tavern on Wayne Avenue its home, immediately jumped into culinary action.

“As we keep selling out of their products, we’re just going to keep helping our friends at Ghostlight Coffee not waste food and hopefully help pay a bill or two!” posted The Pizza Bandit earlier this week announcing a pizza-pie collaboration that played on a Ghostlight breakfast sandwich favorite.

Using Ghostlight products that are ingredients in the shop’s savory “The Carver” sandwich, The Ghostlight Breakfast Pizza was born, with olive-oil sauce, yellow cheddar and fontina cheeses, deli ham, turkey, bacon, and smashed potatoes, with coffee-rub seasoning and maple-syrup drizzle after the bake.

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It was no surprise to Shane Anderson, Ghostlight Coffee’s owner, that Brian Johnson, Pizza Bandit partner and Anderson’s long-time foodie friend, would know what to do with extra food supplies.

When the coffee shop closed unexpectedly, Anderson reached out to Johnson to ask if the pizza truck could make use of 60 freshly made pastries.

“He was like, ‘Oh, yeah, sure dude, whatever is necessary,’” Anderson said. “Just like his willingness and his team’s willingness to say ‘Hey man, we will do whatever we can to help you guys out.’"

In fact, Anderson said, Johnson’s next words were, "Well, what else you got?”

Making use of dozens of Ghostlight bagels that couldn’t be sold in the shop, Pizza Bandit put together a spur-of-the-moment pizza bagel event that was a hit.

The recent collaborations took Johnson down memory lane to about five years ago when Anderson and Johnson did a pop-up omelet bar for four Sundays in the coffee shop. Johnson, who runs the marketing operations for some of Dayton’s most popular restaurants, was working with former Dayton gourmet hot dog cart, Bad Dog Nice Taco, at the time.

Ghostlight’s coffee truck is also a regular at Yellow Cab’s food truck rallies.

“So I mean, having built those relationships already over, you know, half a decade, is really beneficial when something really sudden like a store shutdown happens and you need to move quickly,” Johnson said.

Local foodie collaborations are also a smart way to raise brand awareness during the COVID-19 pandemic when many businesses are struggling to stay afloat.

“So the idea behind collaboration, it’s awareness,” Johnson said. “If (customers) were in the Ghostlight camp, now they’re aware that (Pizza Bandit) pizza exists, because we kind of mixed the rules a little bit. And then it’s just this sense of community and building each other up, you know, that we’re stronger and more equitable together than separately.”

The pandemic has forged strong relationships among Dayton-area restaurants and businesses, and although those relationships began before the pandemic, they’re now more valuable than ever, Anderson said.

Downtown Dayton businesses have always had a strong sense of camaraderie, the Ghostlight Coffee owner said. "We’re in this together,” he said.


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