New Middletown business growing with full bar, bands and plans for dining area

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Kayaking season on the Great Miami River may be done for the year, but one of Middletown’s newest businesses expects to remain busy with local bands and new offerings.

Karen Richardson said the BAABs Kayaking and Livery, 2401 Carmody Blvd., now features a full bar and is working to raise funds to get the bistro’s dining area completed.

Richardson, who co-owns the business with her husband, Rob, said they opened their kayaking business in June and were able to use those revenues to finish remodeled and open.

“Business has been really good,” she said. “Our patio featured an acoustic guitarist and singer. Before the weather started getting bad, we had both garage doors open.”

She because of COVID-19 restrictions, the bistro is carry-out only and patrons can eat on the patio. The top two menu items are thin crust pizza and their smoked wings.

On Oct. 1, an official ribbon cutting was held with the couple and representatives of the Middletown Economic Development Department and The Chamber of Commerce Serving Middletown, Monroe and Trenton.

Richardson said several bands will perform in the coming weeks at the bar. Until Rust will perform on Nov. 6, and a reunion of No Love Lost will happen on Nov. 21 in honor of a bandmate, Pep Jones, who died recently.

The Richardsons are taking advantage of business development programs offered by the Middletown Economic Development Department. In August, Middletown City Council approved a $5,000 grant to cover permit fees and insurance costs with the Miami Conservancy District to enable access to the exit the Great Miami River near the Middletown Regional Airport.

“We expect to be much busier in the spring,” she said.

Richardson said they are also seeking a business loan from Middletown Moving Forward, the city’s community improvement corporation, to complete their renovations.

In August, Chris Xeil Lyons, city economic development director, said the business plans to add bike rentals in the future as the Great Miami River Recreation Trail is nearby the business.

While the Richardsons are working to finish the rest of their entertainment and recreation venue, the city of Middletown is seeking a $75,000 grant from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to improve or develop recreational boating access for hand-powered watercraft at public facilities.

The proposed ramp would be placed at the intersection of Germantown Road and Carmody Boulevard, near the east side of the bridge.

Lyons said there a safety access for the ramp as it can be used by the Middletown Division of Fire for water rescues. There were two water rescues in 2019 and five so far in 2020, she said.

Middletown City Council will consider final approval of the grant at its upcoming meeting on Tuesday.

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