7 recent restaurant moves and dining updates in Butler County

Buzzz, the outdoor patio at Gracie’s in Middletown will be reopening on Memorial Day Weekend. The patio has been expanded and will feature a new outdoor bar, a sound system, a lounge area with big screen TV’s, new tables and chairs, outdoor lighting and much more.  CONTRIBUTED
Buzzz, the outdoor patio at Gracie’s in Middletown will be reopening on Memorial Day Weekend. The patio has been expanded and will feature a new outdoor bar, a sound system, a lounge area with big screen TV’s, new tables and chairs, outdoor lighting and much more. CONTRIBUTED

Here’s a look at seven Butler County stories to catch up on restaurant news:


Billy Yanks bourbon bar closer to opening in Hamilton: What to know

The Billy Yanks bourbon bar on Main Street is nearing completion, with hopes of a late-July opening. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
The Billy Yanks bourbon bar on Main Street is nearing completion, with hopes of a late-July opening. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Creation of the Billy Yanks bourbon bar in Hamilton is progressing, with hopes of opening next month.

General Manager Jason Campbell told the Journal-News he hopes to open in late July.

That would be more good news for Hamilton’s Main Street business corridor, which like many areas nationwide is emerging from the economic doldrums of the COVID-19 pandemic. And it can add a further spark to the increasingly energized area with potential to attract new visitors to the city, believes Dan Bates, president and CEO of the Greater Hamilton Chamber of Commerce.

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New restaurant and bourbon bar coming to Hamilton with Prohibition theme

This building, at 221 S. B St. in Hamilton, is being converted into Nic & Norm's Sidecar Bar, a Prohibition-style restaurant and bar, featuring bourbon and bacon-featured meals. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
This building, at 221 S. B St. in Hamilton, is being converted into Nic & Norm's Sidecar Bar, a Prohibition-style restaurant and bar, featuring bourbon and bacon-featured meals. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Nicci Meece, whose father once owned an Irish/German pub at 2nd and Chestnut streets a few decades ago, is creating a Hamilton restaurant and bourbon bar herself at 221 S. B Street. It will be called Nic & Norm’s Sidecar Bar, and will have a Prohibition theme.

Meece, who moved to Butler County at age 15 and graduated from Talawanda High School in 1992, is a building rehabber who had been looking for a good site for the restaurant for a couple of years.

She bought the B Street property from Matt Pater, who has restored the Arches Saloon at 233 S. B St., and had planned to create another establishment where Meece’s restaurant will be. But instead, he and other partners are creating another restaurant/bar/reception hall not far to the south along the Great Miami River in the former Knights of Columbus hall at 930 Pyramid Hill Blvd. It will be called Hamilton Landing.

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Popeyes, Dunkin’ bringing new locations in West Chester at former Perkins site

Popeye's Louisiana Kitchen and Dunkin' will be built at 7412 Tylersville Road near Interstate 75, site of the former Perkin's restaurant. The restaurants are scheduled to open later this year. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
Popeye's Louisiana Kitchen and Dunkin' will be built at 7412 Tylersville Road near Interstate 75, site of the former Perkin's restaurant. The restaurants are scheduled to open later this year. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

The former Perkins on Tylersville Road near Interstate 75 will be the site of two popular dining options.

Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen and Dunkin’ are scheduled to open a combination location at 7412 Tylersville Road, the site of the Perkins that has been demolished, according to an official.

Construction hasn’t started and the restaurants are expected to open later this year, according to an official.

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Middletown restaurant adds new patio in reopening after COVID-19 closure

Buzzz, the outdoor patio at Gracie’s in Middletown will be reopening on Memorial Day Weekend. The patio has been expanded and will feature a new outdoor bar, a sound system, a lounge area with big screen TV’s, new tables and chairs, outdoor lighting and much more.  CONTRIBUTED
Buzzz, the outdoor patio at Gracie’s in Middletown will be reopening on Memorial Day Weekend. The patio has been expanded and will feature a new outdoor bar, a sound system, a lounge area with big screen TV’s, new tables and chairs, outdoor lighting and much more. CONTRIBUTED

The Gracie’s newly expanded outdoor patio, called Buzzz or Buzz @Gracie’s, recently reopened in Middletown with a new outdoor bar, a sound system, a lounge area with TVs, outdoor lighting and much more.

“Things are slowly getting back to normal. That’s part of the reason why for the summer, I’m only going to open the patio at Gracie’s, because it seems like people still feel better being outside,” said Ami Vitori, owner of Gracie’s.

Although indoor seating won’t be open yet, Vitori said Gracie’s expanded patio offers as much seating outside as they would normally have available inside. The space seats about 70 guests.

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He started making cakes at 12. Now he’ll have his own business in Hamilton

Luke Heizer, right, plans to open Luke's Custom Cakes on High Street in the former True West Coffee location (True West's Main Street shop remains open). PROVIDED
Luke Heizer, right, plans to open Luke's Custom Cakes on High Street in the former True West Coffee location (True West's Main Street shop remains open). PROVIDED

A decade after he sold his first custom-designed cakes at age 12, Luke Heizer is taking his business to a storefront on Hamilton’s High Street.

Heizer, who grew up in Trenton and is a 2017 Edgewood High School graduate, began his cake-designing with cakes depicting Ironman and Dora the Explorer.

Heizer’s father, Alan, is helping build out the interior of the former True West Coffee shop on High Street. The other True West, on Main Street, remains open. Heizer’s mother, Tammie, does most of the cake-baking, and he does the decorating of cupcakes and cakes that can be very elaborate.

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Former restaurant space could become new coffee house, church in Oxford historic house

City of Oxford sign.
City of Oxford sign.

One of the city’s historical houses, long a popular restaurant, may get new life after standing unused for more than a year during the pandemic.

City Council held first reading of an ordinance June 1, which would allow the former Alexander House to be used in an unusual coffee shop-church combination. The proposal had come before the Planning Commission last month and members voted 7-0-0 to recommend approval to Council with three conditions.

Presentation of the proposal was made by Community Development Director Sam Perry, who explained it is a zoning action involving a proposal to convert a building not previously used as a church and telling Council, “The impacts seem to be positive.”

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Middletown coffee shop to restart indoor service next week with grand re-opening

Customers sit at the counter at Triple Moon Coffee Company in Middletown. NICK GRAHAM/2015
Customers sit at the counter at Triple Moon Coffee Company in Middletown. NICK GRAHAM/2015

A popular Middletown coffee shop/restaurant will hold a grand re-opening Monday after offering no dine-in service since March 2020.

Heather Gibson, owner of Triple Moon Coffee Company, 1100 Central Ave., said her business will reopen at 7 a.m. Monday. It was closed for two months at the outset of the coronavirus pandemic, then offered drive-through service since.

Gibson said the drive-through will remain open.

“We wouldn’t have made it without the drive-through,” Gibson said. “The community rallied around us. They had our backs. They stuck by us. Their love and support has kept us going.”

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