Skyline owner on today’s opening: ‘The people of Springfield have been so welcoming.’

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

Local fan cites flavors, mounds of cheese. ‘Come on, what’s better than that?’

Diehard local fans of Cincinnati-style chili and coneys have looked forward to today for some time, when Skyline Chili Springfield officially opens at 11 a.m.

“People in Springfield have been asking for a Skyline for 15 years,” said Robin Kurlas, who owns the franchise with husband Dennis under the Kurlas Family Corp. name.

Skyline is located at 1300 Goodwin Ave., near another recent addition to the city, Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers.

Robin Kurlas said they looked at multiple sites, but the location “kind of stands out,” offering visibility and accessibility.

“My husband and I like that it’s a little bit elevated,” she said. “We did not want to be in an area that had so many other options.”

Skyline is known for its Cheese Coneys and 3-Ways filled with spaghetti, chili and cheese.

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

The News-Sun asked members of the Clark County Food Fiends group why they like Skyline so much.

“Skyline is nostalgic to me,” said Michelle Rogers Florence. “Growing up, we always went to Skyline. All the bold flavors, the huge mound of cheese ... come on, what’s better than that? Very ready for this location to open. Bring it on!”

Pam Shay called herself a lifetime fan.

“Always a fun time with family, friends, or work associates,” Shay said. “A great meal, descent prices, and relaxed atmosphere. I’m looking for having one close by.”

>> PHOTOS: Sneak peek inside Springfield’s new Skyline Chili

Mark Jenkins Belcher, who also called himself a lifetime fan, grew up in Cincinnati.

“I’ve been living in Springfield for five years now and finally will not have to drive 30 minutes to the nearest location to get my fix,” Belcher said.

Robin Kurlas credited a good family atmosphere for brand loyalty.

“Skyline Chili has a cult following,” she said, noting some people in their other stores come in daily, “and sometimes twice a day.”

Kurlas Family Corp. operates two other Skyline locations in Fairfield and Hamilton in Butler County.

The Springfield restaurant will employ about 65 people to start and be open 7 days a week.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony is planned for 9 a.m. today , and it will include a $1,000 donation to Second Harvest Food Bank.

The Kurlases also donated naming rights to a booth at the restaurant, and Second Harvest received more than $6,000 from that effort.

Robin Kurlas said they looked at partnering with 30 nonprofits locally and decided Second Harvest was the right fit.

“We went through their facility and saw all the great things they are doing,” she said.

When Skyline’s corporate office in Cincinnati asked franchisees about potential expansion into Akron, Toledo or Springfield markets, the Kurlases expressed interest in Clark County.

“We drove up here, looked around and met some folks,” Robin Kurlas said, noting Realtor Sunny Dhingra “showed us all the good things that are happening.”

The Kurlases had lived in Cincinnati but nearly five months ago moved to Springfield.

The city’s offering of parks, arts, businesses and positive momentum sold them.

“That is one thing that we are really impressed with,” Robin Kurlas said. “There’s a lot going on here.”

“The people of Springfield have been so welcoming,” she said, citing residents and other business owners. “They have just opened their arms to us.”

The Springfield Skyline has a cozy feeling, with a fireplace, she said.

“It’s more upscale, very inviting,” Robin Kurlas said.

It has a large table for groups and community table space, too.

The walls include four of their favorite images of Springfield from photographer Rod Hatfield.

“I think the pictures are just stunning,” Robin Kurlas said, “just things that give it a community feel.”

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