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JUST IN: Applebee’s franchise owner breaks silence about local restaurant closing

The restaurant franchise company that operates Dayton-area Applebee’s Grill & Bar locations has broken its silence about Saturday’s abrupt closure of its restaurant on Wilmington Pike in Sugarcreek Twp..

The restaurant’s manager, when reached by phone Saturday afternoon, referred all questions to Robin Jenkins, brand manager for team member and guest engagement for RMH Franchise Holdings, the Atlanta-based company that operates Applebee’s locations in 15 states, including Ohio.

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Email and phone messages left Saturday, June 9 with Jenkins elicited an email response on Tuesday, June 12, confirming that the Wilmington Pike restaurant did indeed close on Saturday, and adding that all employees of the closed restaurant “were offered employment” at other Dayton-area Applebee's.

>> Dayton Mall Applebee’s property sold (April 2018)

Jenkins did not respond to questions about how many employees were affected by the closure. She also said she “cannot comment on the factors that led to this closure.”

>> PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Applebee’s shuts down its Sugarcreek Twp. restaurant

“We greatly appreciate our neighbors' patronage and look forward to continuing to serve guests at the nearby Applebee's restaurants in the area,” the RMH spokeswoman said. 

Customers who showed up to dine at the Sugarcreek Plaza restaurant on Saturday were given a $10-off coupon for two other local Applebee’s locations at 1795 Delco Park Drive in Kettering and at 105 N. Springboro Pike (Ohio 741) just north of the Dayton Mall. 

>> Applebee’s franchise owner closes one of its Kettering restaurants (December 2013)

Atlanta-based RMH Franchise, which also has corporate offices in Lincoln, Nebraska, purchased all of the Applebee’s in central and southwest Ohio from a Lexington, Ky. franchise company in late 2013, a transaction that more than doubled the number of Applebee’s restaurants run by RMH. Just before that transaction closed, three Applebee’s locations in southwest and central Ohio, including one at 1450 W. Dorothy Lane in Kettering and others in Milford and Dublin, shut down. The Kettering space now houses an El Rancho Grande Mexican restaurant.

>> Local winery’s iconic sign made from 150-year-old redwood cask obliterated by storm, power pole 

When the purchase was complete, a spokesman for Applebee’s corporate said his company was committed to working with the new franchise owner to expand the Applebee’s footprint.

>> One-time Ohio congressional district candidate arrested while streaming incident live on Facebook

“RMH is a strong, growing franchise partner, and they are committed to sustainable growth” in its markets, including southwest Ohio, Applebee’s spokesman Dan Smith said in December 2013. 

Sonic introduces Pickle Juice, Tiger’s Blood slush plus other new flavors

With summer well underway, Sonic has a new tart and sweet slush on its menu.

Starting Monday, the Pickle Juice slush is available for customers as part of four new flavors for the season.

>> Read more trending news 

Tiger’s Blood, Blue Hawaiian and Bahama Mama are also joining the lineup for a limited time.

“Sonic’s guests are game to try adventurous and fun flavors, so we’ve made it our mission to deliver the best of both worlds when it comes to innovation and variety,” Sonic executive Scott Uehlein said in a news release. “The entire Snow Cone Slush lineup – including Pickle Juice, Bahama Mama, Blue Hawaiian and Tiger’s Blood – has a distinctly summertime vibe, allowing our guests to create new summer memories.”

Related: Sonic will have pickle slushes on the menu this summer

Initially reported in March, the syrup that makes the bright green Pickle Juice slush can be added to anything on the menu. Individual franchises will decide whether to charge for creative food mixes.

6 of the best places to eat before a Fraze Pavilion show

When it comes to grabbing a meal before a concert, time is of the essence. That’s why we put together this list of our six favorite Kettering destinations near the Fraze Pavilion for dinner before a show. Just be sure to watch your time and plan well! 

>>Best LIVE music events in and around Dayton 2018

🍴Figlio 

This restaurant located toward the back of the Town and Country shopping center in Kettering offers various seating options for groups large and small. Seating is available at the bar, in the dining room, in a large private party room, in a four-season room that allows you to see outdoors but not feel the effects and a nice large square high top in the middle of the dining room that allows a larger party to talk and enjoy dinner a little bit more effortlessly. 

>>PHOTOS: Summer 2017 concerts at Fraze Pavilion

There are plenty of pizzas, pastas, great salads and tasty appetizers like the Prince Edward Island Mussels appetizer ($12) steamed in a jalapeno tomato butter broth served with toasted crusty bread. In addition to a robust wine list and beer selection, there is a list of classic martinis ($8) and a newer OYO Stonefruit martini made with OYO vodka, St. Germain Elderflower liqueur, Cointreau, almond essence and muddled orange ($9). 

Location: 424 E. Stroop Road, Kettering 

Contact: www.figliopizza.com or 937-534-0494 

Read a full review of Figlio’s from our news partners at Dayton Daily News. 

>>Best places to enjoy live local music in Dayton

🍴Mamma DiSalvo Risturante 

Rinaldo and Elena DiSalvo opened Mamma DiSalvo’s restaurant on July 8, 1979 serving up authentic family recipes from the Abruzzi Molise region in Italy. That from-scratch cooking is still being served up 36 years later. If you’re looking for some amazing Italian food pre-show, Mamma has a dish you’re looking for. 

Location: 1375 E. Stroop Road, Kettering 

Contact: www.mammadisalvo.com or 937-299-5831 

🍴Arepas and Co. 

Arepas and Co. specializes in Colombian comfort food. Most of the dishes are gluten-free and all are delicious. Arepas are savory white cornmeal patties stuffed with fillings and sauce. The Colombian Platter is a great way to make an introduction to this wonderful food variety and get ready for an exciting night filled with surprises. 

Location: 1122 E. Dorothy Lane, Kettering 

Contact: www.arepasandco.us or 937-503-5192 

🍴MCL Restaurant 

Old-school cafeteria dishes and baked goods served up cafeteria style? Count us in. It’s jokingly referred to as the Medicare Lounge, but if you go, you’ll see it’s for whippersnappers too with hot, delicious food served up to order with very little waiting involved. 

Location: 4485 Far Hills Ave., Kettering 

Contact: mymclmeal.com or 937-299-6605 

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🍴Troni’s Pizza & Restaurant

Troni’s is a family owned and operated pizza restaurant in Kettering, specializing in huge, New York-style pizza slices. While you’re waiting for your fresh-baked pizza to finish, their garlic knots are insanely popular with regulars. 

As everyone knows, pizza can be classy or casual, and is always a perfect option before an evening or afternoon of listening to good music. 

Location: 1314 E. Dorothy Lane, Kettering 

Contact: tronis.business.site or 937.643.9921

🍴Roost Events

Roost Events, the restaurant adjacent to Fraze Pavilion, will offer regular dinner service for at least 29 concerts and other events this season.

“We will be serving classic American fare with some Roost favorites:  Blackened Salmon, Truffle Fries, Grilled Artichokes and Crab Mac ‘n’ Cheese,” Roost owner Dana Downs said. A full bar will be available.

Roost will offer diners two separate seatings on its patio, which is a popular destination on show nights: one before the show, for those who have tickets and will be attending the performance, and one as the concert starts, for those who will be listening to music from the patio.

>>FULL LIST: Here are the dates Roost’s Kettering restaurant will be open for Fraze concerts

Location: 580 Lincoln Park Blvd., Kettering

Contact: Roost Restaurants or (937) 222-3100

Did we miss one of your favorites? E-mail us at contact@dayton.com to include it in future coverage.

Stars in Yellow Springs for Dave Chappelle’s sold-out Juke Joint 

Dave Chappelle, the Dayton area’s resident superstar, opened a star-studded barn party revealing the answer to a question he gets all the time...

Why Ohio? 

“Why not Ohio?” Chappelle said shortly after joking that the Ohio River was often the first thing escaped slaves saw as they made a trek north to freedom. 

>> Amy Schumer among the celebrities spotted in Dayton last weekend

>>MORE DETAILS: Dave Chappelle throwing another epic party in Yellow Springs this weekend

Sunday was the first of two “Juke Joint” parties Chappelle is throwing in a barn in Yellow Springs.

“This is a barn. This is the middle of nowhere,” he said during the show on Whitehall Farms in the Tecumseh Land Trust. 

>>RELATED: EVERY LAST celebrity was in Yellow Springs for Dave Chappelle's Juke Joint 

He later added that “tonight we take off our cool” and it didn’t matter who people thought they were. 

Tickets went on sale on Thursday, May 24, 2018  for two nights of Dave Chappelle’s Juke Joint in Yellow Springs featuring  D-Nice and Fred Yonnet and The Band With No Name. 

Both nights  of the cellphone-free parties sold out within 15 minutes.

>>RELATED: Bad news if you want to go to Chappelle’s parties and don’t have tickets

The second party begins tonight at 8 p.m. 

Chappelle, a Yellow Springs area resident, wore a Cleveland  Cavaliers cap for part of the night . He praised the people from his adopted state during the all-night bash filled with  live and DJ-ed Hip Hop, Blues, R&B, funk and rock music. 

Fans  with VIP and general admission tickets were granted access to the barn. Those with the lesser priced barn yard could watch it on a screen set up outside. There were food trucks and beer stations. 

>>RELATED: Dave Chappelle on Yellow Springs: “I have time to think about things”

WHICH STARS WHERE THERE

“Why not Ohio?” became a battle call repeated through a night that featured performances from a list of celebrities that included Jill Scott,  Jarobi White of A Tribe Called Quest, Doug E. Fresh and Martin Luther McCoy.

McCoy is best known from the motion picture “Across the Universe.”

Chappelle called Hannibal Buress to the stage, but the comedian influential to the #MeToo Movement apparently was no longer in the barn.  

>> Dayton is the setting of new Stephen King novel about ‘the mind of evil’

Chappelle said he was grateful to raise his children here and to be a part of the community.  He referred to recent suicides in Yellow Springs and urged those in need to reach out for help. 

The star made famous by “Chappelle’s Show” said his celebrity friends where there for love and not money. 

Scott owned the stage. She improvised one entire song on the spot. 

Dressed in a Nirvana T-shirt, Chappelle crowd surfed as the crowd and musicians performed a song from the band. 

The comedian served as hype man and did a good amount of singing himself.   

Towards the end of the night, Chappelle led the crowd in singing Radiohead’s “Creep” and Roberta Flake’s “Killing me Softly with his Song.”

Chappelle had his first Juke Joint in Yellow Springs in 2015. He has since had similar bashes all around the country.

At the 2016 Juke Joint at the barn, local residents danced the house down with a list of celebs that included rappers, Talib Kweli and Q-Tip, CBS News' Gayle King, actor Bradley Cooper, model/actress Naomi Campbell, comedian Donnell Rawlings and magician David Blaine. 

National Nurses Week 2018: 5 freebies and deals

Businesses across the country are honoring nurses this week with freebies and deals for health care workers.

>> Read more trending news 

National Nurses Week, which kicked off with National Nurses Day on May 6, runs through May 12, the birthday of nursing pioneer Florence Nightingale.

Check out some of the offers below, and just to be on the safe side, contact your local stores and franchises to make sure they are participating:

>> Teacher Appreciation Day 2018: Here’s a list of freebies for the nation’s educators

1. Cinnabon: Sweet! Nurses can get a free Cinnabon Classic Roll, MiniBon Roll or four-count order of BonBites by presenting their medical ID from May 6-12. Read more here.

2. Easy Spirit: Get 30 percent off your purchase at the shoe brand's website, EasySpirit.com, all month long with the coupon code NURSESWEEK30. Nurses also can enter the #MoveFor Healing Sweepstakes to win shoes for their team. Read more here.

3. PDQ: Nurses and teachers can get 50 percent off their order Tuesday, May 8, by showing their work ID. Read more here.

4. Potbelly Sandwich Shop: According to Newsweek, nurses "who show their medical ID or wear their scrubs" can get "a free fountain drink or cookie with their purchase of a sandwich." Read more here.

5. Chipotle Mexican Grill: Although the restaurant chain isn't running a promotion for nurses this week, USA Today reports that participating locations will offer nurses a buy one, get one free burrito, bowl, salad or order of tacos on June 5. Nurses must present a work ID to claim their freebie. Read more here.

How to get free Chipotle on Teacher Appreciation Day

Chipotle will celebrate Teacher Appreciation Day on May 8 with a tasty deal: buy one, get one free burrito, bowl, salad or order of tacos at participating stores.

According to the restaurant chain's website, educators can claim their freebie from 3 p.m. to close Tuesday, May 8, by presenting their faculty ID.

>> Read more trending news 

The promotion is limited to "one free entree item per customer," available "for in-restaurant orders only" and "not valid for online, mobile, fax or catering orders," the website says

To be on the safe side, contact your local Chipotle to make sure it is participating in the offer.

Read more here.

Dunkin' Donuts introducing Girl Scout Cookie-flavored coffees

If you like flavored coffee and Girl Scout Cookies, you might be in luck.

Dunkin’ Donuts has announced that by Monday, Feb. 26, it will be selling three new flavored coffees inspired by Girl Scout Cookies.

>> Read more trending news 

Those flavors include Thin Mints, Coconut Caramel and Peanut Butter Cookie. These flavors will not just be limited to standard coffees.

Dunkin’ Donuts said in a Friday press release that iced and hot coffee, lattes, macchiatos, frozen coffee and frozen chocolate can all have Girl Scout Cookie flavors.

People on social media seem pretty excited about the news.

You’ll have to see for yourself if a Dunkin’ Donuts near you will be participating. If so, the coffees will be around through May.

Valentine's Day 2018: 6 ways to eat for free or cheap

From flowers to a gift to dinner out, Valentine's Day can be an expensive holiday.

>> White Castle will offer romantic Valentine’s Day package, reservations again

To help you save some money, these restaurants are offering some cheap or free Valentine's Day meals.

Hooters

If you're without a significant other this Valentine's Day – or even if you've found a new sweetie and want to score some free wings – participating Hooters locations will help you shred your ex. Shred online and print a coupon to take to the restaurant or bring in a photo of your former love and let Hooters shred it. In return, you can buy 10 boneless wings and get 10 free – and maybe a bit of catharsis. Learn more at www.hooters.com.

Fogo de Chão

If you make a reservation and dine at a participating Fogo's location anytime from Feb. 10 through Feb. 17, you'll be able to save on a return visit. You'll receive a complimentary churrasco dining card that you can use next time you're in the restaurant. (As is usually the case, "certain restrictions apply.") Learn more at http://fogodechao.com. 

Qdoba Mexican Eats

Take advantage of the restaurant's "Qdoba for a Kiss" promotion, and you'll be able to buy one entrée and get one free at participating restaurants on Feb. 14. Bring your significant other to kiss, smooch a photo of your favorite celebrity on your cellphone or even pucker up to a burrito – anything goes! 

On top of that sweet deal, from Feb. 6-28, if you share a kissing photo on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram with the hashtag #QdobaForAKiss, Qdoba will donate $1 to No Kid HungryFor more information, visit www.qdoba.com.

Outback Steakhouse

Outback Steakhouse offers a Valentine's Day meal for two at participating restaurants from Feb. 12-16. For a special price (which varies by location), a couple can share a Bloomin' Onion, choose two entrees (center cut sirloin, grilled salmon or Alice Springs chicken), two sides, two salads and cheesecake for dessert. Learn more at www.outback.com.

California Pizza Kitchen

Enjoy a "Sweet Deal for Two" at participating California Pizza Kitchen locations from Feb. 14 to 18, and you'll get an appetizer, two entrees and a dessert from their special menu for $35. Choose from among three appetizers, 10 entrees or four desserts. As a further incentive, if you tag your sweetie or best friend in California Pizza Kitchen's Facebook post with the hashtag #CPKgiveaway, you'll be entered to win a $100 gift card. Learn more at www.cpk.com.

Waffle House 

Waffle House probably isn't the restaurant you think of when you're picturing a candlelit dinner with cloth napkins and tablecloths, but that's just what they're doing on Valentine's Day. You can enjoy alcohol-free champagne as the lights are dimmed, and choose from breakfast favorites or special offerings like ribeye and eggs. Many locations are participating, so check for your location's phone number and contact person for reservationsLearn more at ww.wafflehouse.com.

>> Read more trending news 

>> Table for two: Waffle House offers romantic dinner for Valentine's Day

Panera Bread recalls cream cheese products over listeria fears

Panera Bread has issued a recall of all cream cheese products from its U.S. bakery cafes over fears of listeria contamination.

The chain said the recall was out of "an abundance of caution" after samples of one product from a single production day showed positive for listeria monocytogenes bacteria. Exposure to the bacteria can cause fever and diarrhea, with particularly dangerous symptoms for pregnant women and unborn children. 

>> Read more trending news 

Products recalled have an expiration date on or before April 2, 2018. 

The recall includes all 2 oz. and 8 oz. cream cheese products

The associated facility stopped production, as well. 

According to the CDC, about 1,600 people become infected with listeria each year, killing about 260. 

If you have these products, discard them immediately and contact Panera Bread Customer Service at 1-855-6-PANERA from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. CST Monday through Sunday or visit panera.custhelp.com for a full refund.

Cheesecake Factory's famous brown bread is headed to grocery stores

Cheesecake Factory fans rejoice! Starting this week, you’ll be able to enjoy one of the restaurant’s staples in the comfort of your own home.

The chain has announced that it’s rolling out its popular brown bread to grocery stores nationwide. The bread will be available to customers for purchase in three different forms: an eight-pack of heat-and-serve dinner rolls, a two-pack with mini baguettes or pre-sliced sandwich loaves. 

>> Read more trending news 

The rolls and baguettes have a suggested price of $3.49, while the sandwich loaves are listed for $4.49.

The bread made from whole wheat flour is similar in calorie count to bread from other brands, coming in at just 110 calories per dinner roll and 80 calories per loaf slice.

People who have tried it reportedly have confirmed that it’s just as soft, chewy and slightly sweet as it is when you visit the Cheesecake Factory – just heat up the rolls or baguettes in the oven for five minutes at 350 degrees. Once they’re done, top them with butter or your favorite spread to add flavor.

The brown bread is part of the restaurant’s Cheesecake Factory at Home line, which includes several other products — cheesecake mix, coffee creamer and chocolates — that are available at grocery stores.

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