News that the Old Hickory Bar-B-Q restaurant at 4029 N. Main St. will soon be demolished stirred up memories for many in Dayton.
As a native Daytonian, my parents first took me there as a child. I frequented the location before I moved south of town and continued to eat there on occasion until they closed. In spite of the smell of tangy ribs and chicken, I never strayed from the filet, a salad with red French, bread, steak fries, and stewed tomatoes.
The building was erected in 1900, though it’s unclear exactly when Old Hickory Bar-B-Q opened on Main Street. I found reference to White Rock Inn at that address in a 1949 Chaminade High School Yearbook (an all boys school back then). It was likely in the 1960’s. These comments from a 2009 review by James from Maryland describe the interior perfectly:
“We walk in and run right into a perfect old school 60’s era horseshoe shaped bar right inside the door. Mirrors all around the outside wall and it still has all of the clam shell ashtrays hanging on the wall even though you probably haven't been allowed to smoke here for years. I mean time warp time. We are escorted to our booth and once again, seriously nothing has been updated since the 60s or 70s. All of the old furniture is kind of heavy and dark with magnificent BLUE leather and brass tacks. If you find yourself on North Main Street and you want a good, solid, nothin' fancy sort of meal, go to Old Hickory and get a little shot of retro.”
For any of us who thought Joe Kiss’s Hickory Bar-B-Q on Brown Street was not related to the Old Hickory Bar-B-Q restaurants, we’re wrong! According the history page on Joe Kiss’s Hickory Bar-B-Q site, Steve and Sylvia Kolb were the founders and original owners of the original Old Hickory Bar B-Q on Third Street, Main Street, and Woodman. In 1962, they went into ownership with Irene & Joe Kiss; forming The Old Hickory Bar-B-Q on Brown Street. Joe and Irene bought Steve and Sylvia out at Brown Street and changed the name to Joe Kiss’s Hickory Bar-B-Q in 1989.
Meanwhile, the Old Hickory Bar-B-Q restaurant site on Main St. will soon make way for a new Cassano's Pizza.