Fairfield Skyline destroyed by fire reopens today, more than a year later

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Skyline owner talks about new restaurant in Fairfield

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Bruce McCormick had no idea what to expect Saturday afternoon as he neared the rebuilt Skyline Chili at Dixie Highway and Hicks Boulevard.

He read the marque that said, “Open Monday,” but he noticed the parking lot was packed.

So the 83-year-old Fairfield resident walked inside and was appreciative of what he had missed the last year: the smell of Skyline and the smiling faces of the staff.

MORE:Restaurant destroyed by fire in Fairfield last year to open this month after total rebuild

“I’ve never seen anything like this,” he said while eating a three-way. “I never expected this. It’s so good to have this place back open.”

He wasn’t alone. Sitting next to him at the counter was Crystal Morris, 35, and her son, Cooper, 6. They live down the street and watched as Skyline was being rebuilt following a devastating fire on Sept. 26, 2018. They had patronized the nearest Skyline in Hamilton, but it wasn’t the same as visiting friends in Fairfield.

When asked what the family-owned restaurant means, Morris said, “Community, family. You come in here and you know everybody.”

Besides being a “soft opening” at the restaurant, Saturday was a major fundraiser for the Joe Nuxhall Miracle League, an organization that provides a sports experience for special needs athletes and their families. Half of the sales Saturday were donated to the Nuxhall Miracle League.

The re-opening will be celebrated with a VIP ribbon cutting ceremony at 10 a.m. today.

Dennis and Robin Kurlas own the Fairfield location and the Main Street Skyline in Hamilton. He said Skyline is “big on community. That’s embedded in our DNA.”

Kim Nuxhall, founder of the Miracle League named after his father, said he has known Dennis Kurlas for more than 30 years, and when he approached him about the 50 percent fundraiser, Nuxhall was overwhelmed.

“Dennis gets it,” Nuxhall said after eating lunch with his wife, Bonnie, and others. “This is a big, giant family of love. Dad would have loved it.”

He said the proceeds will go in the league’s general fund and assist with operations. The complex opened seven years ago, and Nuxhall always wants it to be “Disney-like.”

Eventually, he hopes to establish a “significant endowment” to fund the league.

Dawn Koesters, of Liberty Twp., brought her daughter, Regan, 10, a Youth Miracle League Ambassador, to Skyline to support the cause. Regan, who has Down Syndrome, said she “likes playing baseball” and seeing her family and friends watching her from the stands.

Her mother said she appreciates the relationships she forms with other families who have special needs children.

“It’s a place for kids to have a day and do what they want to do,” she said.

SKYLINE AT A GLANCE

LOCATION: Hicks Boulevard and Dixie Highway, Fairfield

EMPLOYEES: 50 part-time and full-time

OWNERS: Dennis and Robin Kurlas

HOURS

: 10:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11:30 a.m. -9 p.m. Sunday