Restaurants celebrate Miami Twp. trustees approving Austin Landing DORA

Miami Valley News

MIAMI TOWNSHIP. Ohio (WDTN) – The Miami Township Board of Trustees approved an outdoor drinking district for Austin Landing at their meeting Tuesday night.

The Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area, or DORA, will officially start in a few weeks, allowing people to carry a drink from their favorite restaurants around the park, or even into some shops if they choose to allow it.

“I really do think that this is going to be a great opportunity for Austin Landing,” Chuy’s Dayton General Manager Jewels Shrader said.

Shrader said Chuy’s has already been serving drinks to go, now she sees the DORA approval as another option to bring even more people into her restaurant, and others around Austin Landing.

“Well maybe they want a margarita from my store, but they really want a cheeseburger, so we don’t have cheeseburgers,” Shrader said. “So, if they can come and get a margarita, and walk down to Five Guys to get their cheeseburger, and then sit outside, that’s beneficial for both my business and the other restuarants.”

The district would encompass the entire Austin Landing area, restaurants and businesses that choose to participate will have a special cup to serve the drinks in.

It will operate seven days a week from 4 p.m. until midnight.

“We thought Austin Landing fit perfectly into what a DORA was designed to do because it is a walking community,” Miami Township Board of Trustees President John Morris said. “We do have residents here, we do have people who are coming in and out of office buildings who want to visit our restaurants in the evening, so we thought a DORA fit perfectly with this set up.”

Along with adding another option for customers, the hope is to create some extra revenue for restaurants and businesses as they continue to rebound from the pandemic.

“Every restaurant is struggling with staff and sales, some stores are doing better than others, but personally, we’re not at that 2019 sales like we were,” Shrader said.

“I think it might also have an impact on our restaurants because a lot of people will want to stay and have a couple of drinks afterwards at a restaurant, this would allow them to go out in the park, and then the restaurant could possibly reseat more patrons and maybe serve more people in an evening,” Morris said.

President of the Ohio Restaurant Association John Barker said Ohio’s restaurants reported a slight downswing in business last month for the first time since the start of the year.

Barker said DORAs around the state have proven to be successful.

“What we’re noticing is elected officials get it,” Barker said. “They understand helping businesses in these areas, make it more of a community feel, where people can walk around, maybe dine in a coumple places, and have their version of a drink.”

Next, interested businesses in Austin Landing will need to decide if they want to participate and the cups and signage for businesses will be made.

Township officials estimate the DORA will officially begin within a few weeks.

The DORA has been already approved by the state.

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