Tony Rama has 30 years experience running restaurants in Detroit, but he thinks Springfield will be a good launching pad for a new restaurant where he can try new menu items and build his business in Ohio.
His new restaurant, Olympic Coney Island, is a Greek-style diner that opened in late August at 2039 Bechtle Ave., although he is beginning to promote the restaurant more after gaining some experience in the area. He also operated two other restaurants under the same name in suburban Detroit, but recently moved to Springfield with his wife and son.
The restaurant features Detroit-style Coney Island hot dogs, but Rama said the restaurant’s name is slightly misleading because the menu is more than a hot dog restaurant. It also offers all-day breakfast, daily specials and homemade Greek items like chicken kebabs and gyros.
So far, the Bechtle Avenue has been a good fit, he said.
“I look at it as the heart of Springfield right now,” he said.
The restaurant has about 15 employees and can seat slightly more than 90. It is open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday. Despite the long hours, Rama said he is optimistic so far and has long-term plans to expand.
“I see an opportunity for this type of business around the Dayton area,” he said.
The restaurant will also try to get the word out locally by offering coupons and selling gift certificates over the next several weeks, said Alyson Groff, the restaurant’s manager. They will also be open at 5 a.m. on Black Friday to offer breakfast to shoppers looking to get in line early for deals at area stores.
Rama said he cooks most of the food himself, although his wife and son provide considerable help, he said.
“It’s hard work but somebody’s got to do it,” he said.
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