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Published: Wednesday, August 02, 2017 @ 6:00 AM
— 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.”
“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.”
Here are 6 things to know about Betty Greenwood.
1.) SHE STARTED EARLY
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.
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
2.) THE STARS CAME TO HER
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.”
3.) SHE APPRECIATED TALENT
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.
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.
4.) SHE RETIRED AT LEAST FOUR TIMES
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.
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.
5.) VERA WAS HER BESTIE
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.
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.
6.) IT WAS AN ACT
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.”
Published: Wednesday, May 30, 2018 @ 11:17 AM
— 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!
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.
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.
🍴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
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
🍴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, 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.
Location: 580 Lincoln Park Blvd., Kettering
Contact: Roost Restaurants or (937) 222-3100
Published: Monday, May 28, 2018 @ 11:11 AM
— 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Published: Tuesday, May 31, 2016 @ 12:39 PM
Updated: Thursday, March 15, 2018 @ 6:00 AM
If you’ve never heard of Maid-Rites, let us introduce you to this famous little sandwich that hails from Greenville, Ohio.
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.
>> 6 must-try diners in Dayton
People will drive crazy distances for one. There are copycat recipes all over Pinterest. Here’s the story behind the Maid-Rite.
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.
"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.
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.
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 OhioTraveler.com.”
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."
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
Published: Tuesday, December 19, 2017 @ 6:00 AM
Updated: Thursday, February 22, 2018 @ 5:03 PM
— 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.
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