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Dayton tavern owner decides to close kitchen: ‘I can’t take it anymore’

Published: Thursday, October 11, 2018 @ 9:00 AM

Carmichael's Pub owner Chris Carmichael says the stresses of dealing with kitchen workers lead to his decision to close his business' kitchen.

The owner of a Dayton tavern known for its wings and burgers said the stress of working with some local cooks led him to close his kitchen. 

“Nobody wants to work. People lie. People steal (food),” Chris Carmichael, the owner of Carmichael’s Pub, 3011 Wayne Ave., said. “People say they’ve been doing it 15 years, and they can’t make a hamburger or a grilled cheese (sandwich).”

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The business’ bar will remain open as normal, but for now the only food it will offer is items that do not have to be prepared by a cook such as pizzas, subs and chips and dip. 

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Carmichael’s award-winning burgers were featured as part of a Dayton.com Facebook Live a year ago. 

The restaurant employed two full-time kitchen workers and one part-time kitchen worker, accounting for about $1,150 in payroll a week, Carmichael said.  

Chis Carmichael said he’s had trouble keeping and retaining quality kitchen help since he went into business eight years ago.

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Things boiled over and Carmichael decided he couldn’t take it anymore two weeks ago after someone left a freezer door open, causing the food inside to spoil.

Carmichael's Pub, 3011 Wayne Ave., is the place to run into neighbors and regulars in the Walnut Hills neighborhood. Walnut Hills sits on about 250 acres of Dayton land running the length of Wayne and Wyoming Avenues up to Watervliet Avenue and Pursell Avenue. VIVIENNE MACHI / STAFF

“It became too much stress,” Carmichael said.  

There have been other problems, too.

After being at the business four hours, Carmichael said he went to watch his daughter cheer out of town only to be called and told there was only enough ground beef in the restaurant to make three hamburgers. 
Customers have called him to complain of hour-long waits for hamburgers. 

“I can make a meatloaf in less than an hour,” he complained. 

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Before closing the kitchen for good, Carmichael said he had to comp $143 in food in one day due to failures in the kitchen.

“We are doing better now that we don’t have a kitchen than we did because I am spending less money out of my pocket,” he said, noting that other tavern owners he’s talked to have experienced similar troubles with kitchen help.   

“It’s laziness,” Carmichael said. “They jump from one place to the next.”

 

Of all the kitchen workers he’s employed, Carmichael said only four have been true cooks. 

 “I’ve hired 60-year-old people and I’ve hired 20-year-old people and I’ve had a problem with all of them,” he said. “The mentality of kitchen help was more than I could take. I just said, ‘I can’t take it anymore.” 

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Carmichael said he has high standards.

“We had fresh burgers. We battered our mushrooms...,” he said. “Everything was fresh and nobody could do it.”  

 Carmichael said he intends to keep his kitchen’s equipment. 

“Maybe one day I will decide I want more punishment and try it again,” he said. “I have a good product. I just can’t get good, dependable people to get it out.” 

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A bacon cheese burger at Carmichael's Pub.(Photo: Amelia Robinson)

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