Local Fazoli’s to host all-you-can-eat spaghetti contest

Published: Wednesday, April 19, 2017 @ 6:10 AM

            Fazoli’s CEO Carl Howard, who has led the Italian restaurant chain since 2008, is a native of Kettering and a 1983 graduate of Fairmont East High School. MARK FISHER/STAFF
Fazoli’s CEO Carl Howard, who has led the Italian restaurant chain since 2008, is a native of Kettering and a 1983 graduate of Fairmont East High School. MARK FISHER/STAFF

Only fast slurpers need apply.

Fazoli’s will host a spaghetti-eating contest from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 22 at its Sugarcreek Twp. restaurant at 6110 Wilmington Pike in front of the Sugarcreek Plaza.

Contestants will compete to eat the largest amount of spaghetti and marinara sauce within eight minutes. The winner will receive a $250 Visa gift card, free spaghetti at Fazoli’s for one year and a Fazoli’s T-shirt.

At the conclusion of the contest, Fazoli’s will donate 1,000 pounds of dried pasta to Feed the Children, a nonprofit organization dedicated to ending childhood hunger, a Fazoli’s spokeswoman said in a release.

RELATED: Fazoli’s chooses Dayton to launch new restaurant concept (March 2010)

Fazoli’s is hosting the pasta-eating contest as a way to kick off its Endless Pasta Fest, where diners can take advantage of unlimited refills on all pasta dishes for $6.99.

The restaurant chain recently announced that it has completely removed all artificial sweeteners, flavors, preservatives and colors from its food menu. Fazoli’s officials said the fast-casual Italian chain is the first national brand under 1,000 units and the third restaurant overall — behind Panera Bread and Chipotle — to offer a completely “clean” food menu.

“We know our guests love Fazoli’s spaghetti and signature marinara sauce, so we thought a pasta eating contest would be a fun way to celebrate our Endless Pasta Fest promotion while contributing 1,000 pounds of dried pasta to Feed the Children,” Donna Josephson, chief marketing officer of Fazoli’s, said in a release.

RELATED: Restaurant exec from Kettering wins national award (May 2014)

Fazoli’s CEO Carl Howard, a native of Kettering and a 1983 graduate of what was then Fairmont East High School, came back to Dayton three weeks ago to call attention to the clean-menu initiative and to call attention to a revamped menu.

“We eliminated more than 80 artificial ingredients from 61 different menu items,” Howard said March 27 at the Fazoli’s across from the Dayton Mall in Miami Twp. “Every step along the way, we’ve improved the food.”

RELATED: Fazoli’s CEO announces menu overhaul

The overhauled menu is now in place in all Fazoli’s in the Dayton area and in the Lexington, Ky. area, where the chain is headquartered. It will be in place by the end of June in all Fazoli’s company-owned restaurants.

Founded in 1988, the chain operates 213 units across 25 states, including seven restaurants in the Dayton-Springfield area.

RELATED: Fazoli’s Italian restaurant chain sold (July 2015)

The chain has been on the rebound under Howard’s leadership. Fazoli’s has generated 15 straight quarters of same-store sales growth, and same-store sales increased 4.9 percent in January, according to the trade publication Nation’s Restaurant News.

Howard is a bit of an anomaly in the high-turnover restaurant industry. He has led Fazoli’s for nine years, and even survived a corporate change of ownership: in July 2015, Fazoli’s was sold by Sun Capital Partners to Sentinel Capital Partners, which also owns TGI Fridays and which just last month sold its Checkers/Rally’s Drive-In Restaurants.

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One of our writers prepares to step into the ring tonight

Published: Saturday, February 24, 2018 @ 9:13 AM

Preparing for Dayton Fight Night

Editor’s note: The writer of this article, Richard Wilson, is a staff writer who covers Greene County news. He will be boxing on Saturday at Dayton History Fight Night.

You cannot prepare enough for a fight, especially when you spend 40 hours a week sitting in an office writing stories.

>> PHOTOS: Dayton Fight Night 2017

For myself and 19 others who will be stepping into the ring this Saturday at Dayton Fight Night, we’ve had about three months to learn to box and elevate our cardio fitness.

Three months may be enough time to learn whether your stock portfolio is performing well or to make sure your life insurance premiums are paid up, but it’s not nearly enough time to learn the subtleties of the pull counter, or even how to keep breathing when someone is trying to punch your lights out.

>> Local fighters will put their dukes up at Dayton History Fight Night

“It’s so different than just picking up and running,” said Toya Webb, one of the fighters who is self-employed.

Consider legendary boxing trainer Freddie Roach’s comments when Conor McGregor was gunning for Floyd Mayweather Jr.

“I’d have to train him for at least three years to get him ready for Mayweather,” Roach said of McGregor, a champion in two UFC weight divisions.

There’s plenty to learn about boxing, but when your full-time job doesn’t involve hurting people, one of the toughest obstacles to overcome in preparing for a fight is simply hitting someone and getting hit back.

There seems to be a moral revulsion built into the psyche to the act of punching someone in the face. Perhaps it’s a survival mechanism in the human brain — for when you hit someone, the odds of you getting hit back rises faster than Mike Tyson disposed of heavyweights in the early 1990s.

In preparing for her bout, research consultant Kristin Delgado said being OK with hitting another person has been a challenge. 

>> 3 unforgettable moments in Dayton boxing history

“It’s kind of weird when you’ve never done it. You’re like, ‘Oh I’m sorry the first time,” Delgado said. “Nobody really wants to hurt anyone else, but when you get bopped upside the head a few times, you get over that.”

With her face flush from a sparring session at the Brown Institute of Martial Arts in Centerville, nuclear medicine technician Rachael Spitsnaugle said getting in the ring is an “intense” experience.

“I think the hardest, hardest thing was when people started punching me in the face. That was a little intense,” Spitsnaugle said. “But getting over that, being nervous and worked up because that’s coming at you, that’s probably been the hardest, but (also) definitely the biggest gains.”

My opponent, Chris Walker of LexisNexis, shared some of his thoughts on the matter. Walker said he’s “a complete beginner,” with no previous experience in any combative arts.

I’m not sure his stinging right cross got that memo.

“It is a definite experience,” he said. “I mean you come in, you’re doing training and you’re feeling good, you’re feeling confident, and then all your plans kind of go out the window that first time you’re in a ring and someone’s actually trying to hit you back.”

>> Dayton Fight Night: A Night I’ll Never Forget

Beginner or not, I’m not looking forward to avoiding Walker’s right cross and left hook. And while I’m excited to be participating in the charity event and supporting the Dayton History non-profit organization, I’m looking forward to returning to my desk with my teeth and moral aptitude intact.

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Top 10 things to do this week

Published: Thursday, February 22, 2018 @ 12:00 AM

Vocalist Kathryn Rose will join the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra and Jeans N Classics rock ensemble for Tribute to the Brill Building Songwriters at the Schuster Center in Dayton on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 23 and 24. CONTRIBUTED
Vocalist Kathryn Rose will join the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra and Jeans N Classics rock ensemble for Tribute to the Brill Building Songwriters at the Schuster Center in Dayton on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 23 and 24. CONTRIBUTED

Looking for something to do this weekend? Look no further ...

>> Fish fry events this weekend in Dayton

>> Compete in Ghost Pepper Challenge this weekend

>> Jungle Jim’s Whiskey Night is back


This year marks 50 years since the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company formed. Given that milestone, it’s no surprise the acclaimed arts group is taking the opportunity to look back at five decades of movement and magic with a number of events in 2018.

First on the agenda is “The Gathering: A DCDC Family Reunion” at the DCDC Studios, 840 Germantown St., Dayton, at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 23. This program, which was originally booked at the Dayton Woman’s Club, features current dancers and former company members, choreographers, board members and administration. Cost: $25.

The celebration continues on Saturday, Feb. 24, when DCDC presents the winter concert “Reunited” at Victoria Theatre, 138 N. Main St., Dayton, at 7:30 p.m. Current and past members of the company will perform. Cost: $24.50-$47. Call 937-228-3630 or visit www.ticketcenterstage.com.

>> DCDC celebrates 50 years with one-night special celebration

On the brink of its 50th anniversary season, the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company is producing a one night only celebration of former dancers and current artists in its winter concert fittingly titled Reunited, which is slated Saturday, Feb. 24 at the Victoria Theatre. CONTRIBUTED(Contributing Writer)


Hits from the 1960s and 1970s composed by Neil Sedaka, Carole King, Burt Bacharach and other celebrated songwriters are the focus of the next installment of the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra’s SuperPops Series. The Jeans ’N Classics rock ensemble will once again join the DPO for Tribute to the Brill Building Songwriters at the Schuster Center, Second and Main streets, Dayton, at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Feb. 23 and 24. Cost: $13-$79. Call 937-228-3630 or visit www.ticketcenterstage.com.


Each year, Dayton History gives interested area professionals a chance to step into the ring and display their skills during an amateur boxing exhibition. The annual Fight Night fundraiser with a 1920s flair is presented at Memorial Hall, 125 E. First St., Dayton, at 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 24. Doors open at 7 p.m. Cost: $15 in advance, $20 at the door. Proceeds benefit Dayton History’s education programming and conservation efforts at Carillon Historical Park and other Dayton History sites. Call 937-293-2841 or visit www.daytonfightnight.com.

>> Local fighters will put their dukes up at Dayton History Fight Night

Dayton History Fight Night returns to historic Memorial Hall on Saturday, Feb. 24 at 7 p.m. CONTRIBUTED(Dayton History)


John Witherspoon’s main gig is stand-up comedian, but the veteran performer is responsible for some iconic characters on the big and small screens. He starred in sitcoms such as “The First Family” and “The Wayans Bros.” and has done voice work on animated hits like “Black Jesus” and “The Boondocks.” Witherspoon, who is probably best known as Mr. Jones in the popular “Fridays” film franchise, will reprise the role in the upcoming fourth and final film, “Last Friday.” The actor-comedian returns to town for performances at the Funny Bone Comedy Club, The Greene, 88 Plum St., Beavercreek, on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 23 and 24. Show times are 7:30 and 10 p.m. Cost: $25-$57.80. Call 937-429-LAFF (5233) or visit www.daytonfunnybone.com.

Actor-comedian John Witherspoon, whose diverse credits include The First Family, The Boondocks and the Fridays film franchise, returns to the Funny Bone Comedy Club at The Greene in Beavercreek on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 23 and 24. CONTRIBUTED(Contributing Writer)


Rebecca Luker made her Broadway debut in 1988 as Christine in “Phantom of the Opera.” The Alabama native and three-time Tony Award-nominee has also appeared in plays such as “The Secret Garden,” “Mary Poppins” and “The Music Man.” She also appeared on television programs such as “Boardwalk Empire,” “Law & Order-SVU” and “Matlock.” Luker, who recently appeared on an episode of “NCIS: New Orleans” on CBS, performs at the Loft Theatre, 126 N. Main St., Dayton, at 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 24. Cost: $65, which includes a post-show reception. The VIP ticket is $140 and includes admission to a 6:30 p.m. reception with heavy hors d’oeuvres, wine and beer. Call 937-228-3630 or visit www.ticketcenterstage.com.

Three-time Tony Award nominee Rebecca Luker will sing the Golden Age of Broadway and more Saturday, Feb. 24 at the Loft Theatre. She will also participate in a master class and interview Friday, Feb. 23 in the Festival Playhouse of the Creative Arts Center at Wright State University. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY LAURA MARIE DUNCAN(Contributing Writer)

>> Why this Broadway star is coming to town and how you can see her


Whether you’re hoping to boost your curb appeal or update your interior living space, there will be plenty of experts to provide guidance during the Miami County Home & Garden Show at Hobart Arena, 255 Adams St., Troy, Friday through Sunday, Feb. 23 through 25. The event, presented by the Western Ohio Home Builders Association, features plumbers, landscape architects, interior decorators, general contractors and other specialists to help you reinvent your living space. Show hours are 2 to 7 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Cost: $5 adults in advance, $6 at the door, free for children 12 and younger. Call 937-339-2911 or visit www.hobartarena.com.

>> What’s brand new at Cincinnati Home and Garden show?


The members of Lynyrd Skynyrd may have recently announced the band was embarking on its farewell tour in May but that doesn’t mean southern rock is dead. A new generation of acts like Blackberry Smoke and Whiskey Myers is keeping the genre alive. Whiskey Myers — performing with Muscadine Bloodline at Oddbody’s Music Room, 5418 Burkhardt Road, Dayton, at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 23 — has been trafficking in its own Texas-bred blend of southern rock since 2007. The band’s latest album, “Mud,” was released in September 2016. Cost: $20-$25. Call 937-813-4272 or visit www.oddbodys.com.

New day southern rockers Whiskey Myers performs with Muscadine Bloodline at Oddbody s Music Room in Dayton on Friday, Feb. 23. CONTRIBUTED(Contributing Writer)


“The Color Purple: The Musical” is the powerfully engaging stage play based on Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. The original production received 11 2006 Tony Award nominations. The book also spawned the Oscar-nominated film adaptation by Steven Spielberg. A new production of the show opened at La Comedia Dinner Theatre, 765 W. Central Ave., Springboro, on Thursday, Feb. 22. Show times are 12:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Sunday, 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Sunday. Cost: $61-$75 adults, $30 children 11 and younger. “The Color Purple” is presented through April 15. Call 937-746-4554 or visit www.lacomedia.com.


David Deitrick, who has been musical director for The Miami Valley Symphony Orchestra since October 2014, has programmed a set of Broadway favorites for An Evening of Rodgers & Hammerstein Classics. The concert, at Dayton Masonic Center, 525 W. Riverview Ave., Dayton, Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 24 and 25, features selections from “The Sound of Music,” “Carousel,” “Oklahoma” and other shows. The repertoire includes popular songs such as “My Favorite Things,” “Climb Ev’ry Mountain” and “I Whistle a Happy Tune.” Show times are 7 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday. Cost: $20 adults, $18 students and seniors. Call 937-530-0515 or visit www.mvso.org.


Although he spent time living and performing in New York, Mark Chalifoux never lost the laidback Midwestern demeanor he developed growing in the suburbs of Cincinnati. The comic, who recently moved back to Ohio, performs at Wiley’s Comedy Joint, 101 Pine St., Dayton, on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 23 and 24. Chalifoux is currently developing material for his debut comedy album, which he’ll record later this year for Audible. Show times are 8 p.m. Friday, and 7:15 and 9:30 p.m. Saturday. Cost: $10. Call 937-224-5653 or visit www.wileyscomedy.com.

Comic Mark Chalifoux, who is currently developing material for his debut comedy album for Audible, performs at Wiley s Comedy Joint in Dayton on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 23 and 24. CONTRIBUTED(Contributing Writer)

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More than 30 pancake breakfasts taking over Dayton this weekend for a good cause

Published: Friday, February 23, 2018 @ 6:00 AM
Updated: Friday, February 23, 2018 @ 12:45 PM

Polk Grove United Church of Christ Facebook
(Polk Grove United Church of Christ Facebook)

If you pay close attention Sunday morning, you might notice the air is a little sweeter — perhaps even a little fluffy. More than 30 pancake breakfasts are happening in the Dayton area that day. 

>> 9 of the best places for brunch in Dayton

The annual Day of Caring Pancake Breakfast is a part of the grassroots organization established in 1991, “made up of volunteers committed to increasing personal awareness and involvement toward confronting the ever-increasing national plight of hunger and homelessness,” according to the organization’s website.

>> Top Dayton-area galas and charity events to put on your calendar in 2018

Headquartered in Beavercreek, 12 sites in the Dayton area served brunch at the very first Day of Caring and raised $8,000 for the Montgomery County Hunger and Housing Coalitions. Fast forward to 2012: over 1,000 volunteers dedicated their time to raise over $44,000. 

>> The best Bloody Marys in Dayton

>> McDonald’s Shamrock Shake is back (with an app)

Volunteers from Ohio Casualty Group pose at Fairfield Middle School during United Way’s 2007 Fall Day of Caring kickoff Pancake Breakfast; left to right: Cathy Armbruster, Lezley Crawford, Debbi Crawford, Judy Bailey, Nate Schmitt, Wade Chapman.(Submitted)

>> This insane ‘meatball pizza bowl’ is on the menu at Olive Garden

Today, Day of Caring takes places at over 40 locations in the Dayton and Cincinnati areas, and continues its mission of supporting local humanitarian organizations.

>> Local comic shop just expanded to take over 3 storefronts

“Equally important is our commitment to the increase in the number of free brunches served to local needy people,” according to DOC’s website. In addition to each site location providing a limited number of free brunches, one site in Cincinnati, Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, is being dedicated entirely to serving FREE Pancake Brunches to those in need.

>>McDonald’s admits it screwed up & vows to ‘make amends’ this time

For a complete list of the 2018 Pancake Brunch Sites in the Dayton and Cincinnati-areas, visit dayofcaring.us.

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JUST ANNOUNCED: Alison Krauss returning to Fraze Pavilion for summer concert 

Published: Friday, February 23, 2018 @ 11:12 AM


In 2011, Alison Krauss sold out the Fraze along with her band, Union Station. On June 15, the bluegrass-country singer will be back at the Fraze to perform her new album “Windy City” — her first solo effort away from the band. 

>> PHOTOS: Summer 2017 concerts at Fraze Pavilion

Tickets go on sale Saturday, March 3 at 10 a.m. at Fraze FanFare, online at ETIX or by phone at 800-514-3849. 

Ticket prices are:

$75 — Plaza 

$65 — Center Orchestra 

$55 — Side Orchestra 

$40 — Lawn & Terrace 

All ticket prices increase $5 the day of the show 

Limit 4 tickets per person first day of sale


After her 2011 Grammy-winning and Billboard’s-topping album “Paper Airplane” rocked the Bluegrass chartsKrauss began to feel the tug of inspiration. 

“Usually it’s just all songs first,” Krauss said in a press release. “It was the first time I’d ever not had songs picked out, and it was just about a person.” That person was veteran Nashville producer Buddy Cannon. 

>> Oakwood-raised Oscar nominee featured in Forbes, New York Times and more 

**FILE** In this Feb. 8, 2006 file photo, Alison Krauss along with Dan Tyminksi, right, and Jerry Douglas of the group Union Station accept the award for best country performance by a duo or group with vocal for "Restless" at the 48th Annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, file)(MARK J. TERRILL/AP)

Cannon has written award-winning songs for artists such as George Strait, Glen Campbell and George Jones, as well as produced albums for Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton and even Merle Haggard’s final solo album. He also just so happened to be the producer of Krauss’s newest album that she’s bringing to the Fraze.

>>Reba McEntire returning to Dayton for summer concert 

What she and Buddy have created is an unusual and invigorating chimera – an album suffused with sadness that somehow rarely sounds that way, according to the Fraze’s press release. “It’s almost like you didn’t know it was sad,” Krauss said. “Because it doesn’t sound weak. It doesn’t have a pitiful part to it, where so many sad songs do. But these don’t. And I love that about it. I love that there’s strength underneath there.”


WHAT: Alison Krauss at the Fraze 

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Friday, June 15

WHERE: Fraze Pavilion, 695 Lincoln Park Boulevard 

TICKETS & INFO:  fraze.com

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