By: Mark Fitzgerald
Every city has a beloved restaurant whose closing is an occasion for public mourning. In Chicago last month, it was Berghoff’s, a German restaurant with a stand-up bar that boasted the city’s first liquor license after Prohibition.
In Dayton, Ohio, apparently, one of those restaurants is Neil’s Heritage House. A little while ago, Neil’s owner, Walter Schaller, announced that the place would be closing next Sunday, Jan. 8.
Neil’s had seating for 450 people, but some weeknights only 60 patrons would dine.
But then a newspaper article convinced Schaller to give the restaurant at least a short stay of execution.
Dale Huffman tells the story in his column in Thursday’s Dayton Daily News. He writes that the restaurant, popular in the city for more than 60 years, will stay open an additional week.
Huffman writes: “According to the owner, Walter Schaller, who is 69, ‘after the nice article by Tom Archdeacon in the Dayton Daily News on the day after Christmas letting folks know we planned to close because of dwindling revenue, the flood gates opened.”
But since the announcement, the owner continued, the place has been packed with 300 to 400 customers a night. “They are showing up, I guess for one last time,” Schaller said.
So for their sake — and, the owner told Huffman, “to give my wonderful staff at least one more week’s pay” — he decided to stay open until Sunday, Jan. 18.
Schaller helpfully listed the lunch and dinner hours for the columnist, and warned, since the joint is closed on Monday, that people should make reservations.
For the record, the restaurant is located at 3232 Schantz Ave.