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Dayton-based restaurant makes Butler County debut

A Dayton-based restaurant recently ventured into the growing Greater Cincinnati market by opening its first Butler County location.

Milano’s Atlantic City Submarines opened an approximately 6,700-square-foot restaurant this week at 7701 Voice of America Centre Drive. The restaurant serves sub sandwiches, cheesesteaks, pizzas, calzones, appetizers, soups, salads and desserts.

Milano’s, which first opened in 1969 near the University of Dayton, has since expanded to Beavercreek and Miami Twp.

The West Chester Twp. location, which seats 280 and employs about 100, is the company’s fourth restaurant and the first one to open in the Greater Cincinnati region.

“With Dayton and Cincinnati continuing to kind of grow together, we knew that eventually we would travel down (Interstate) 75 and test the waters in Cincinnati,” said co-owner John Slaughenhaupt. “We felt that northern Cincinnati rim was going to be the best way to expand south.”

Milano’s replaces the former Marlin & Ray’s, which Ruby Tuesday’s Inc. shut down in January 2013.

Columbus-based Mills Corner T.K.T. purchased the property last fall for $1.5 million, according to the Butler County Auditor’s Office. Milano’s is leasing the site and plans to buy the building, Slaughenhaupt said.

“The biggest thing that sets us apart from our competitors is we have a bakery that works third shift and makes all of our bread, all of our dough from scratch every day and delivers them out to the store daily,” said Aaron Webb, of Monroe, the store’s general manager.

The new Milano’s features 45 flat-screen televisions, a four-season patio room with a second bar, and 30 beers on tap, six more tap handles than the restaurant’s Dayton locations.

“Twenty-two of them will be rotating tap handles, so they’ll change on a regular basis,” Webb said. “It’s a blast to do, always having fresh choices.”

Market research showed that the site, located just off bustling Tylersville Road and a mile west of the Butler-Warren border, was home to “tons” of University of Dayton alumni, who likely had dined at Milano’s during their schooling there, Slaughenhaupt said.

“We kind of felt if we’re taking a Dayton concept into a new area, to be able to open it somewhat amongst friends and family, so to speak, it would be a good place to start,” he said. In addition, “the West Chester-Mason area has been growing tremendously. With the demographics there, it’s a perfect fit for us.”

Patrick Seifer, 40, of Liberty Twp., grew up in Oakwood, right by UD. He said he remembers the “mouth-watering” meatball subs and pizza the most and how Milano’s became a weekend family tradition.

“Usually on a Friday or Saturday, my brother would phone in an order and we would get into his car and drive down to Milano’s to pick it up,” he said. “Now, with (fellow Dayton eatery) Marion’s Piazza a little further down Tylersville Road, it’s very convenient for me to call ahead and order the items (from either place) for pickup when I’m feeling a bit nostalgic.”

Milano’s is looking at a couple of sites in the Dayton area in which to expand, but Slaughenhaupt said it was too early in the process to specify where those sites might be.

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