I Love Dayton: The Pine Club

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) - WDTN’s I Love Dayton campaign is a celebration of what's great about our city.

70-year relationships are rare, especially in business and even more rare in the restaurant business. 2 News Today Anchor John Seibel takes us to a restaurant that's had a love for Dayton for nearly a century.

First in flight. First with the cash register. Leading in manufacturing, infrastructure and military technology. Dayton has helped shape the world... and built up a hearty appetite in the process.

Of the many restaurants in and around Dayton, the place arguably *most* identified around the country as being "Dayton" may just be the Pine Club.

Pine Club Owner Dave Hulme says, “It was the scene. It was the place." Hulme continued, "It was a real restaurant."

That was Dave Hulme's read on the Pine Club back in the early 1970's. By then, its reputation was already *entrenched*. In what was originally a Piggly Wiggly built in the 1920's, the Pine Club transformed the building in 1947 and steak became the staple.

Hulme says that first experience nearly half a century ago grabbed him and he's held on since, buying the restaurant a handful of years later and not changing a thing for the most part in the 40 years since.

Long-time customer Bud Weiser said, "It's amazing how near this place looks and feels as it did back in the mid-60's." Weiser continued, "Everything stays pretty constant, the people, the food, the drinks, you know what you're going to get when you come here."

Hulme said, "Every single day, we cut the meat for service that evening. We make the salad dressings in the kitchen every single day. We cut the onions. We slice the tomatoes."

Hulme says consistency is everything. That goes for consistency in treatment as well, as in everyone is treated the same, even the Vice President. George H.W. Bush and his wife were there in August of 1988 the night before he was named the Republican nominee to be president. Yet he waited over half an hour just like everyone else."

"When you walk through that door, you're just as regular as anybody,” Weiser said.

There have been many Who's Who over the years. The Bosnian Peace Accord brought the Bosnian Secret Service. Boy, did they stand out.

Basketball has brought a pantheon of legendary coaches and their reputations including the hall of fame reputation of Bob Knight.

Hulme said, "I was scared to death. Believe me. I was scared to death. I got a chance to talk to him, which was a real treat. I'm not sure he was so interested in talking to me which was biding time, as much as I enjoyed talking to him. I knew his reputation. I knew of him, and it was a real thrill, a real treat to talk to him about basketball, but he had an agenda, and there was no question in my mind that he was ready to be seated."

The celebrities, politicians, coaches, and athletes have been regulars, however, Hulme says while it is a great chapter in the Pine Club story, the cover of the book and the most important chapters are of the normal, hard-working people around Dayton who don't make headlines, they make life.

What do you love about Dayton?  Fill out the form below and let us know.


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