I Love Dayton: After 83 years, K’s Hamburgers Shop still serving up tradition

I Love Dayton

TROY, Ohio (WDTN) – K’s Hamburger Shop on Troy’s Main Street is a time capsule of sorts.

The 83-year-old business thrives on its reluctance to change and still boasts the same layout, menu and cooking techniques as it did during the Great Depression.

“I think that’s one of the things our customers like about us,” said owner Marcia Bodmer. “They can come back here 25 years later, walk in and feel like they’re a kid again.”

Bodmer’s parents Paul and Doris Klein started the restaurant with Paul’s twin brother in 1935 with ten stools and five cent hamburgers. 

“Dad said, ‘If you wanted to a job, you had to create one…’ because it was during the Depression,” Bodmer recalled.

In 1940, the Kleins towed the tiny shop across the street to its current location. Over the years, the owners replaced upholstery and created additional seating, but the original ceramic building remained largely the same.

Now the owner, Bodmer has maintained her parents’ tradition. Customers and other workers say that’s what makes the business a success.

“We’re very simple and it doesn’t need to change because there’s nothing wrong with it,” said Michael Scheib, who has been working at K’s Hamburger Shop since he was in high school more than 9 years ago.

“I was able to buy my first car through here, I met my wife through here, I met some of the most wonderful people in the world through here,” he said.

Scheib is a fourth generation K’s patron and his grandfather’s meat market originally supplied the restaurant with its ground hamburger meat. Now, Bodmer is training the 26-year-old to eventually take over the business.

“I love this place and I’d hate to see someone come in who didn’t understand it and do something with it that doesn’t need done,” Scheib said.

The inexpensive, no-frills menu and hamburgers “wet grilled” in oil, 1930’s style, is what some long-time customers said keeps them coming back.

Frank Tucker said he’s been frequenting K’s since he was 12-years-old in the 1960s.

“The atmosphere,” Tucker said of his favorite aspect of K’s. “You see friends, people you haven’t seen in a while, camaraderie.”

Bodmer said her parents’ faith and drive inspired her to continue their legacy.

“Mom and dad love it,” she said. “They loved being part of the community, they loved caring about about the people, they’d just think of the customers as family.”

Both Bodmer and Scheib said they plan to continue business as usual, relying on fate for success.

“Dad always said this business will be around a slong as God wants it to be,” Bodmer said.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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