After seeing the signs on the windows of the former Fifth Street Deli, I reached out to building owner Guy Fragmin to ask about his plans for 416 Diner and he was kind enough to invite me down to chat about his new concept. What I didn’t expect was to find him on scaffolding working on the remodel himself. As we talked he shared that he’d been a chimney sweep, worked in construction and then spent 20 years working in advertising for the Berry Company.
So how exactly does that lead to opening a restaurant? Guy explained that growing up in West Virginia his family had a deli/dinner and a bar and restaurant and that going there as a kid left him with great memories and he’d always dreamed of opening his own place. He left West Virginia to attend the Ohio Institute of Photography and that’s how he ended up in Dayton.
In 2005 he bought the building at 416 Fifth Street in the Oregon District, as an investment property and on the day he closed, he was approached by Rob Strong to rent the first floor for a deli. After 10 years the Fifth Street Deli has outgrown the space and is currently renovating the old Canal Street Tavern at 308 East First Street and will soon open the Canal Street Arcade and Deli. Fragmin is happy to see the growth of that deli and wishes him much success in his new space. Thinking about the empty space and the plans he’s been making to have a diner since he was a child, Guy really tried to think about what the area really needed, looking for a niche market that wasn’t being served in the area.
So his concept for early breakfast, lunch and late night really great comfort food was born. An early draft of the menu shows eggs and breakfast meat combos, about 1/2 a dozen omelets, pancakes and waffles. And what’s a great dinner without burgers, BLT’s, and a great Philly cheese steak sandwich. Fragmin also got quite excited about the Pepperoni and Sausage Rolls that will be his signature item. Guy explained to me that these were a staple of growing up in West Virginia and theses hand held treats are served in bars, bakeries and convenience stores all over the state.
When the remodel is done, there will be booth seating against the east wall, some tables near the front and counters, both low and high, overlooking the open kitchen on the west wall. He anticipates opening in late April/early May, based on construction and permits. He was quick to offer up gratitude for the help he’s received from Cindy at the Health Department, Rachel Bankowitz, who handles historic preservation for the City and Jen Cadieux at the Downtown Partnership, who he said has been just incredibly helpful.
Curious to see what the new place will look like? Here’s a photo of the plans, which are posted on the front door. Sorry for the fuzzy picture, I’m no photographer, unlike Fragmin, who is and will be able to take great pictures of his food once the kitchen is up and running.
And since it will be a few months before we’ll be eating at 416 Diner, I asked Guy where he likes to dine out. He shared “I’m a big fan of local, I don’t do chains. I really enjoy the Corner Kitchen and Meadowlark.”
Stay tuned for updates from us on the progress and we’ll be sure and let you know when opening day is scheduled.