Christopher’s Restaurant announces grand opening of event space in former church

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

A long-standing Dayton restaurant with a well-stablished catering service is taking a big step into its next venture.

Christopher’s Restaurant in Kettering, 2318 E. Dorothy Lane, opened its new event space, The GEM by Christopher’s, to reservations in late October, but is now ready to officially introduce the space to the public. A grand opening, open house event will be held Feb. 20 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Riverside Mayor Peter Williams will be among the guests on Sunday to celebrate with a ribbon-cutting ceremony around 12:30 p.m.

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The GEM, situated inside a renovated former church, is located at 3425 Valley St. in Dayton. For many years, the space was also home to a former banquet hall, according to The GEM owners, husband and wife, Dave and Erika Krites of Centerville.

The venue is ready to host weddings, receptions, graduation parties, reunions, business conferences and more.

“We have been overwhelmed by the support the community is giving us and are so excited to share amazing life events with our customers,” said the Krites in a press release.

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

With a liquor license and serviced bar, The GEM will be able to host events of up to about 175 people, though the owners said the “magic number” is between 125 and 150 guests. With built-in catering and bar service, parties won’t need to search for as many outside vendors in order to pull off a large event.

Having a son who was married last spring, the couple weren’t happy with all the moving parts and rules that had to be followed while working with many different caterers for their son’s wedding. With an already successful catering business under their belts, they decided they could streamline the planning process of booking a venue.

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Once the couple found the space on Valley St., they saw it as a perfect fit. As more young people decide not to get married in a church setting, Dave said he and his wife want to preserve the tradition of getting married in a church environment, even if just in an aesthetic sense.

“We want to try to maybe be that hybrid,” Dave said. “It feels, looks and operates like a church… and we want to be able to set it up like a church and have the same church kind of environment when they get married. The front area has a bar and (guests) can have hors d’oeuvres and drinks and all that.”

The Krites did extensive work inside the space, including a thoughtfully decorated space for both the bridal and groom parties.

“We’re going to still cater and prepare all the food at our restaurant which we’ve always done, and focus our time, money and efforts out there on having it in a really nice facility where everybody can find a lot of joy in going,” Dave said.

The independent and locally-owned eatery was founded in 1991 by Chip Pritchard and was sold to the Krites in 2019.

“My wife and I started coming here to eat about three months ago,” Dave said in July 2019 upon buying the restaurant. “We ate here 12 to 15 times. We loved being there, and we always felt like we were at home there.”

For more information, visit christopherscatering.biz.

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

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