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What do you really know about Dayton's famous lounge singer?

Published: Wednesday, August 02, 2017 @ 6:00 AM

Here is what you need to know about Dayton music legend Betty Greenwood. Video by Amelia Robinson.

Did bawdy Betty ever play. 

Betty Greenwood, with her sequined gowns and coiffed locks, kept Dayton entertained for more than six decades. 

The Dayton native’s trademark leg swing above the keyboard got crowds going every time. 

The lounge singer, born to Amos “Mack” and Myrtle McGriff on July 15, 1922, was playing the piano in her Kettering home just a week before her 2014 death and had organized a new musical group for local shows, according to her obituary.

>> MORE: Legendary Dayton performer dies

Greenwood — Dayton’s most well-known lounge singer throughout her life — mixed music, songs and often risque stories during her shows.

Susie McLaughlin, Greenwood’s longtime friend, caregiver and partner on stage of 14 years, called Greenwood “the master of the double entendre.”

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“She wouldn’t take you there,” McLaughlin told this news organization as part of an article on Greenwood’s death. “You would take yourself there.”

McLaughlin penned a 2003 book on Greenwood’s life called “The Betty Greenwood Story.”

Betty owned Cascades Nightclub on Salem Avenue in Dayton from 1959 until closing it in 1974. Sealed Budweiser cans containing beans sat on the bar’s tables and were used as noisemakers. 

Betty and her gang of players hosted an annual Ohio River boat trip aboard the “SS Jubilee” that a Dayton Daily News writer described as a “real ring-a-ding affair” in 1972.   

With Greenwood on one of two pianos, music started at 9 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday and was non-stop until 2 a.m.

She performed at many of Dayton’s then-thriving supper and nightclubs, including Paul’s Cafe, Ranch House on Dixie Circle, the Tropics and John Smith's Brown Derby.

Most people raved about Betty, but her act was not everyone’s cup of tea. 

Then Journal Herald Columnist P.J. Bednarski was definitely not a fan. See his full Sept. 4, 1975 review below.  

“Most of what Miss Greenwood jokes about on stage is unprintable. Actually, most of what she says on stage is unspeakable, and that is her problem. But it is inconceivable that she has lived in the same world as you and I.” 

Betty Greenwood with Janet Delany and David Wood in a photo dated Aug. 30, 1975.

Here are 6 things to know about Betty Greenwood.


Betty’s mother Myrtle introduced her to show business when she was just 1 year old. 

Myrtle took money from her husband's pants and made Betty a dress so she could enter her in a citywide beautiful baby contest, according to a 2006 article by legendary Dayton Daily News writer Jim Nichols. 

Betty was victorious.

Betty’s life in music was launched when she was 6, with lessons on the piano from a woman named Alberta Culph, according to Nichols’ reporting.

Her dad, Mack McGriff, was in several local bands and played 11 instruments. 

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Mack’s company built some of the early houses in Dayton's Westwood neighborhood. 

Shortly after high school, Betty played in her first club, the former Paul's Cafe at 3038 E. Third St. She retired at least four times

>> How Dayton's Bonnie and Clyde led police on a chase that ended in a shootout among the tombstones


Betty Greenwood with her antique clock in a 1972 Dayton Daily News photo dated Nov. 26, 1972.

During her decades-long career in entertainment, Betty put smiles on thousands of faces and met and befriended some of the biggest names on stage and screen who visited as part of the Kenley Players shows. 
They’d swing by Greenwood’s club after performances.

She knew Burt Reynolds, Liberace and a long list of other performers.

“The stars would do their shows and then come to her club,” McLaughlin said. “They loved her.”


Betty had a reputation for showcasing talent at the Cascades. 

In 1961, she gave Roosevelt High School graduate Bobbie Nell Brookshire Gordon a break. 

The jazz singer — who would later be dubbed "the Brown Bombshell" —  caught the attention of legendary bandleader Duke Elllington at Betty’s club. 

"She had a contract with me, but I said if it meant you touring with Duke Ellington, I wouldn't want to stand in the way of that," Betty told this news organization as part of a 2003 article about Gordon’s death. 

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Gordon toured with Ellington from 1970 to 1974, the year of Ellington’s death.

Other notable people who played at the Cascades include: Norma Paulus (aka Big Red), Lenny Davis, Cliff Bailey, Lincoln Berry and Eddie Herring — who, along with his wife, was murdered in an unsolved gangland-type slaying in 1973.

>> This former cop committed one of Dayton's most notorious crimes of passion — and you decide his fate

Vintage Betty Greenwood glassware.


Betty retired from public appearances in 2007 at age 85. She had retired more than a few times before that. 

In 2002, Nichols wrote about Betty’s third retirement. 

Her final show was supposed to be at the Trolley Stop in the Oregon District, where she had performed monthly. 

>> MORE: What are the oldest bars in downtown Dayton?

Betty’s first retirement was in 1973. She moved to St. Petersburg, Fla., but it didn’t stick.

She soon had a trio performing at the Hilton Inn's Thunderbird Lounge.

Articles from Dayton Daily News archives at Wright State University.


Vera Huffman was Betty's all-time bestie, according to Nichols’ articles.

Vera and Betty sold real estate and jewelry together and were partners in the Cascades. Betty wanted her own club. 

"Millie Schlechty had the Cascades on Salem alone, because her husband, Glenn, had died. She didn't want to sell, but I talked her into it," she told Nichols in 1991. 

The pals moved to Florida, where Vera’s children lived. Betty’s mom moved with them.

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By 1982, Myrtle had become increasingly ill, so Betty and Vera, who died in 2000, moved back to Dayton. The city always called her home. 

“You can call me a dyed-in-the-wool Daytonian, no ifs or buts about it. I've traveled throughout the United States, but wherever I go, I just come come home to God's country — Dayton,” Betty says in her book.

Articles from Dayton Daily News archives at Wright State University.


Betty was far from the happy-go-lucky, swinging pianist with the raucous voice when she left the stage, according to a 1965 profile. 

She whipped up creamy chocolate souffles and mouth-watering banana pies. 

She was described as a “quiet grandmother” who loved to “cook and sit quietly, reading or painting or just relaxing with her children,” the article says. 

“My entire life is built around my two sons and my three grandchildren,” Betty said. “I assume a completely different personality when I go to work, and I’m sure my customers wouldn’t know me here.”  

2012 photo of Betty Greenwood at her 90th anniversary birthday. (contributed to Active Angels, the ministry she co-founded)


Articles from Dayton Daily News archives at Wright State University.
Articles from Dayton Daily News archives at Wright State University.
Articles from Dayton Daily News archives at Wright State University.

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The story behind the famous little sandwich people will drive hundreds of miles to get

Published: Tuesday, May 31, 2016 @ 12:39 PM
Updated: Thursday, March 15, 2018 @ 6:00 AM

The loose-meat Maid-Rite Sandwich at The Maid-Rite Sandwich Shoppe in Greenville made the Mental_Floss list of
The loose-meat Maid-Rite Sandwich at The Maid-Rite Sandwich Shoppe in Greenville made the Mental_Floss list of "The Best Burgers in All 50 States." But it's not a burger, which by definition, consists of at least one meat patty, and some folks may have a beef with that.(Connie Post)

If you’ve never heard of Maid-Rites, let us introduce you to this famous little sandwich that hails from Greenville, Ohio. 

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This little slightly sweet loose-meat sandwich — best described as kind of like a Sloppy Joe minus the sauce — has a bit of a cult following.  
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People will drive crazy distances for one. There are copycat recipes all over Pinterest. Here’s the story behind the Maid-Rite. 

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The Maid-Rite Sandwich Shoppe is a destination diner. It’s a tiny little building covered in gum. Yes, it’s really covered in gum. It’s long been a tradition that diners would affix chewed-up gum to its walls. The diner opened in Greenville in 1934 and is famous for its sandwiches and shakes. Just fyi, it also serves ice cream and beer. 

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"It's such a well-known novelty here in Darke County,” said Matt Staugler, the executive director of the Darke County Visitors Bureau. 
The meat for the Maid-Rite sandwich isn't fried in its own grease. "It's steamed ground beef with a seasoning put over it," said Mark Koontz, one of the members of the family that's owned and operated restaurant since it opened more than 80 years ago. 

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What is its secret ingredient? "A lot of love and family dedication," said Koontz, who added that he's been around that restaurant "ever since I was little." 
The sandwich comes with your choice of mustard, pickle and onion, on a bun, for $2.05. Add a slice of cheese and the price is $2.30. If you’re daring try the Big Jim, which adds ham. 

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Just as intriguing as its loose meat sandwich is the outside of the Maid-Rite building. It's rather nondescript except for the fact that diners stick their chewing gum on the wall. 

“One of the most unique eateries around, the Maid Rite lures hungry visitors from hundreds of miles away just to taste the legendary sandwich made just right in a modest shoppe located in the little rural Southwest Ohio towne of Greenville.  If any one place can reflect the city’s heart and soul, it is this miniscule eatery with a big attraction,” according to” 

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In 2016, Mental_Floss came out with a list of “The Best Burger in All 50 States,” and Ohio’s winner? The Maid-Rite. Even thought it technically isn’t a burger.
"Many Ohioans know and love Swensons in Cleveland (including Akron native LeBron James), but few have heard of hidden gem Maid-Rite in Greenville. Established in 1934, Maid-Rite’s loose-meat burgers have a cult following among those in on the tasty secret, with many driving hours out of the way to get their fill of delicious Maid-Rite and Cheese-Rite sandwiches."

>>  11 more must-eat sandwiches in Dayton

Want to go?

WHAT: The Maid-Rite Sandwich Shoppe

WHERE: 125 N. Broadway St., Greenville OH

HOURS: 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 10 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday; 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday

INFO: Website | Facebook | 937-548-9340

Photo courtesy of The Maid-Rite Sandwich Shoppe Facebook.

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One of Dayton’s most prestigious clubs just raised the bar -- literally 

Published: Tuesday, December 19, 2017 @ 6:00 AM
Updated: Thursday, February 22, 2018 @ 5:03 PM

The  upper lounge at the 29th Stories Lounge in the Dayton Racquet Club in downtown Dayton.  Photo: Amelia Robinson
Photo: Amelia Robinson
The upper lounge at the 29th Stories Lounge in the Dayton Racquet Club in downtown Dayton. Photo: Amelia Robinson(Photo: Amelia Robinson)

The highest bar in Dayton is now even higher. 

The Racquet Club, located at 40 North Main St. on the 29th floor of the Kettering Tower, opened a lounge above the bar a few months ago, Jocelin Dean, the club’s membership director said.

Thanks to the addition, the club’s 29 Stories Lounge is now 29½ stories tall, Dean said. 

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It is a feather in an already-high hat. 

“We already were the tallest  building in Dayton. We already have that distinction of being the tallest (bar),”  Dean said. 

>> RELATED: 3 things to know about Kettering Tower

The lounge’s space had held bleachers overlooking the club’s squash courts. 

“It was just dead wasted space,” Dean said. “We figured there had to be a better use for it.” 

A hallway wall was also moved to open up the front of the bar, and new seating was added. 

The renovations are part of $250,000 in work undertook at the club during the past three years. 

Dean said additional changes will be made based on member feedback and use. 

“It is a space that is always being tweaked,” she said. 

The club is working with members to determine the right funiture and function of the space, Dean said.

The club’s 29 Stories Lounge was completed in 2011 to address member requests for a more causal setting to take clients and for after work socializing and networking. 

Such a space had been suggested since shortly after the club — the brainchild of Virginia Kettering — opened in 1971.

>> RELATED: Inside the Dayton Racquet Club: towering venue ‘squashing’ misconceptions, drawing new members (May 10, 2013)

The 29th Stories Lounge is restricted to members and their guests, but Dean said there are several public events held annually. 

“Anybody who is curious to see what the bar looks like can always contact me for a tour,” she said.

Racquet Club membership ranges from $60 to $200 a month, depending on included features. 

>> RELATED: Dayton Walk of Fame member Virginia Kettering

The upper lounge at the 29th Stories Lounge in the Dayton Racquet Club in downtown Dayton. Photo: Amelia Robinson(Photo: Amelia Robinson)

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It’s worth the quick road trip to visit this charming little café

Published: Tuesday, May 09, 2017 @ 6:00 AM

Cozy's Cafe and Pub has a balogna sandwich on its brunch menu that is well-worth the trek from Dayton to Liberty Township.
Amelia Robinson
Cozy's Cafe and Pub has a balogna sandwich on its brunch menu that is well-worth the trek from Dayton to Liberty Township.(Amelia Robinson)

A few miles cannot keep a girl away from a delicious sandwich. 

Such a sandwich is on the menu at Cozy’s Cafe and Pub, the relatively new eatery next to Cozy’s Cottage. 

The Butler County business was named the most charming restaurant in Ohio and a place to get “a memorable meal in a historic venue.” 

>>NEW DETAILS: This Butler County café was named ‘most charming restaurant in Ohio’

That’s according to, which doled out the honors to Cozy’s Café & Pub. The restaurant opened at 6440 Cincinnati-Dayton Road in Liberty Twp. in 2016, two years after owner Jan Collins opened Cozy’s Cottage.

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The simply-not-simple grilled bologna is well worth the 30-minute-or-so drive from Dayton to the restaurant, which is located at 6440 Cincinnati Dayton Road in Butler County’s Liberty Township. 

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The sandwich is featured on the restaurant’s pub menu for $11 on the weekend brunch menu. 

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Jimi Gadd, the executive chef of Cozy’s Cafe and Pub, said the sandwich starts with a great brioche bun from Sixteen Bricks Artisan Bakehouse bakery in Cincinnati. 

“A sandwich always starts with the bread,” Gadd said. “You want something that  is not going to get soggy on you.”

The bun is seared with butter on the restaurant’s flattop for mouthwatering results. 

>> MORE: 9 must-eat sandwiches in Dayton

Cozy’s Cafe and Pub uses thin slices of a German bologna on the sandwich and elevated it with a thick slice of aged white cheddar and a whole grain mustard aioli-style sauce.

>> Unusual usual meat in upscale Oregon District diner's unbelievable sandwich

Cozy's Cafe and Pub has a balogna sandwich on its brunch menu that is well-worth the trek from Dayton to Liberty Township.(Amelia Robinson)

Crispy onion straws gives the sandwich much needed texture. It comes complete with fruit, salad or chips. 

Cozy’s complex is impressive. Cozy’s Cottage opened in 2013 in a remodeled ranch house. 

The chic and rustic pub and cafe opened in October of 2016 and has a patio. 

The businesses are owned by Jan Collins, the owner of Putters Sports Grill restaurants. 

>> Longtime restaurateur opens upscale eatery 

Cozy's Cafe and Pub has a balogna sandwich on its brunch menu that is well-worth the trek from Dayton to Liberty Township.(Amelia Robinson)

Gadd said he and his team strive to offer the best brunch around. 

>> 9 of the best brunch spots in Dayton

They are well on their way, with a menu that also includes a killer brunch charcuterie board ($21), fresh-cut breakfast potatoes, a Bloody Mary bar, country short rib biscuits ($13) and a chorizo focaccia sandwich that includes over-easy eggs, a charred avocado salsa and farmers cheese. 

>> PHOTOS: Brunch at Cozy’s Cafe and Pub 

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The restaurant is upscale, but not pretentious.  

Close to closing during our visit, staff members sung along to music playing over the speakers ranging from Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger” to the  The Commodores’ "Oh No" as they cleared tables and delivered final meals.

So -- have we convinced you yet? 

Want to go?

WHAT: Cozy’s Cafe & Pub

WHEN: 4-9:30 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, 4-10:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday. Brunch is served from 9 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Saturdays and 9 a.m.-4 p.m. on Sundays.

WHERE: 6440 Cincinnati Dayton Road, Liberty Twp., Ohio

INFO: | Facebook | Instagram

Cozy's Cafe and Pub has a balogna sandwich on its brunch menu that is well-worth the trek from Dayton to Liberty Township.(Amelia Robinson)

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SALAR FIRE: Fund set up to help those impacted by New Year’s Eve weekend blaze

Published: Sunday, December 31, 2018 @ 12:39 PM

A fire that broke out Friday, Dec. 29, 2017, at Salar Restaurant and Lounge, 400 E. Fifth St., has closed the popular Oregon District restaurant indefinitely. JAROD THRUSH / STAFF
Staff Writer
A fire that broke out Friday, Dec. 29, 2017, at Salar Restaurant and Lounge, 400 E. Fifth St., has closed the popular Oregon District restaurant indefinitely. JAROD THRUSH / STAFF(Staff Writer)

Funds are being collected to help employees impacted by a fire at one of the Oregon District’s most popular restaurants. 

>> Salar owner after fire: ‘My heart is broken for my people’

Meg Shaw, the general manager at Salar Restaurant and Lounge, set up a GoFundMe fundraiser for employees of the restaurant.

The description reads: 

On Friday, December 29th, the incredible and loyal staff at Salar Restaurant and Lounge received the devastating news that their home away from home had suffered a tragic and major fire. The staff has worked so hard for the almost five years that Salar has been a part of our community, and are searching for employment in the interim that Salar is closed. We want to give back to staff in their time of need and hope that you’ll help us provide this for them. 

 Thank you to everyone for your support. We will be back!

About 35 people work in the restaurant that Margot Blondet, a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu in Lima, Peru, opened in 2013. 

Blondet said Saturday that she doesn’t know yet how long it will be before the restaurant can be back up and running following the Friday fire, but it looks like it could be months out before the business is again operating.

Dayton fire crews were dispatched to Salar at 6:20 a.m. Friday on reports of smoke.

>> FIRST REPORTS:  Fire at Salar

Firefighters said a kitchen fire spread, causing significant smoke damage to the restaurant.

Investigators said the fire started in the kitchen and spread to the ceiling and a neighboring building, affecting other businesses along with Salar.

The Scenery, a digital product agency on the second floor, said on its Facebook page that it has been displaced from the fire.

The spice shop Spice Paradise and Hicks' Barber Shop & Shave Parlor on Brown  are also among the businesses closed until further notice due to the fire.

>> New Years Eve Guide: The best places in and around Dayton to ring in 2018

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