8 recent restaurant openings and other moves in Butler and Warren counties


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Multiple restaurants have made news with openings or other moves in the past few months in Butler and Warren counties.

Here’s a look at recent stories.

HAMILTON: Raising Cane’s restaurant coming to Hamilton in 2021 at former rent-to-own location

Raising Cane’s is set to construct a new restaurant on Hamilton’s West Side early next year.

Plans were submitted by a developer on Wednesday to construct the third location of the chicken fingers chain in Butler County. It would be the 13th in southwest Ohio and Northern Kentucky. There are also four locations in the Miami Valley.

“During Plan Hamilton discussions, we received significant amounts of input from younger residents who wanted more fast-casual restaurant options,” said Hamilton City Manager Joshua Smith. “High on that list were Chipotle, Chick-Fil-A, Raising Cane’s, Joella’s Hot Chicken and Panera Bread.”


MIDDLETOWN: ‘New life’ coming to former Stefano’s: Meet Bandanas and its new owners

Melissa Kutzera and Monica Nenni, co-owners of West Central Wine on Central Avenue, are leasing the building that housed Stefano’s and opened Bandanas Italian Eatery last month.

Bandanas will offer some of the same Italian dishes that made Stefano’s so popular, Kutzera said. The menu will also include steaks, family favorites, desserts, a full bar and the “second best” wine list in the city, Kutzera said with a laugh.

It also will offer Schiavone’s spaghetti sauce that’s sold in stores. At one time in Middletown there were three family-owned Italian restaurants, Schiavone’s, Capozzi’s and Stefano’s.

Nenni said there is “immense pressure” opening a restaurant in the same building that housed Stefano’s since 1989. Customers will have high expectations, she said.


LEBANON: Fire station to be transformed into restaurant with brewery or distillery

Station 41, the City of Lebanon’s long-time main fire station, would be transformed into a family-style restaurant and microbrewery or distillery, according to a deal being negotiated by city officials and a management group.

The plan calls for remodeling of the 9,200 square-foot building on nearly 0.7 acres next to the LCNB Bank building on Broadway. At one time, the bank was expected to raze the building for additional parking.

An unidentified “successful restaurant operator with multiple Tri-State family-oriented restaurants, a known brand with really good food and access to capital,” would operate the restaurant. The brewery or distiller has yet to be determined, according to the proposal.


FAIRFIELD: New restaurant opens after move

The Sandwich Cafe & Deli debuted in August as the newest food addition on Nilles Road in Fairfield.

The new restaurant at 690-B Nilles Road takes over a spot that used to be a computer store and is nestled between Hot Head Burrito and Miller St. Boutique.

The Sandwich Cafe & Deli previously opened in Fairfield Twp. in 2017, but the location wasn’t ideal. While there was some growth, it was not sustainable, she said. The Fairfield location in the city’s downtown is “perfect for our kind of food” as it caters to “more of the lunch crowd.”

The Sandwich Cafe & Deli will feature wraps, bagel sandwiches, paninis and salads, but it will specialize in atmosphere, said the single mother of four.


MONROE: New restaurant in the works

A new restaurant is being planned for the northwest corner of Ohio 63/Hamilton-Lebanon Road and American Way.

The Monroe Planning Commission approved a preliminary site plan in June for a new Arby’s restaurant for that location. The 2,445-square-foot restaurant will feature a drive-through on the 0.83-acre lot. It will be accessed via a private drive cul-de-sac off American Way, where additional lots are being planned for other business possibilities.

According to city records, Jack K. Jones of Restaurant Management Inc. of Cincinnati submitted the site plan review application on Dec. 17, 2019. In the application, Jones planned to start the $850,000 construction project on April 1 but the project was delayed.


MASON: New Mexican restaurant now open in development

Condado Tacos, a Mexican restaurant with a build-your-own-taco concept and an extensive selection of tequilas and margaritas, opened in August in the Deerfield Towne Center in Mason.

In addition to tequilas and margaritas, customers can choose from more than a dozen signature tacos with pre-determined ingredients, but its build-your-own concept is a popular option with diners, said Joe Kahn, founder and CEO of Condado Tacos.

The restaurant offers several signature margaritas and a variety of tequilas and bourbons, he said.


FAIRFIELD: New restaurant specializing in smoked barbecue coming

Dreams BBQ is planned at 6025 Dixie Highway in Fairfield, according to co-owner Hikmat Khalaf.

Khalaf, a Miamisburg resident, opened 3 Guys BBQ in Moraine in 2011. The menu, which will be the same at Dreams BBQ, includes sandwiches, 10-inch Philly steaks, chicken wings, chicken tenders, sausages, burritos and cheeseburgers, including a bacon-and-eggs cheeseburger for $7.99. Smoked meat options include beef ribs, beef brisket, chopped beef, shredded chicken and turkey ribs.

An opening date was not set as of the last Journal-News report in July, and the restaurant’s Facebook page does not indicate it has yet opened.

Khalaf, a longtime chef himself who said he , said he signed a 3-year-lease for the restaurant in Fairfield because it is his favorite city and because of what he said is a lack of similar options in the area.


FAIRFIELD: Panera replacing longtime location with standalone restaurant

Panera Bread is working to bring a new standalone location to Butler County to replace a longtime, smaller restaurant.

The project at 5875 Dixie Highway, in front of Shared Harvest food bank, was set to open in November but has been delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to Danielle Covelli, marketing manager for Covelli Enterprises.

“We don’t have a new date set in stone, but it will most likely be (the) beginning of 2021,” Covelli told the Journal-News.

The restaurant will replace an existing location at 500 Kolb Drive that has been open since 2000, she said.