When a restaurant is still going strong after nearly 70 years, it’s safe to say the secret is more than the sauce. The Pine Club, a classic chophouse-supper club in Dayton, is a steak lover’s paradise. The generous 20-ounce bone-in rib eye is decadent, well-marbled perfection, and one of the biggest sellers. The stewed tomatoes and savory creamed spinach play strong supporting roles, while the red Roquefort salad dressing makes the lettuce seem superfluous. Bonus points: the interior remains virtually untouched, glowing with well-waxed pine paneling, framed hunt club scenes, and cozy red riveted Naugahyde booths. Owner Dave Hulme purchased the restaurant in 1979 and quickly took the wine list from Lancers and Liebfraumilch to a 200-bottle Wine Spectator Award of Excellence winner; decidedly New World, with big California reds, it’s designed to do justice to the assiduously broiled steaks.
The secret behind the Pine Club’s killer chops? Hulme’s long-term relationships with high-quality suppliers. It’s not just the meat: Mountain trout come from a Colorado family business and Nantucket scallops hail from a tiny wharf-side shop.
With 23,000 house accounts this is still a working supper club. No account? Prepare to peel off a few crisp bills at the end of the meal; credit cards are not accepted. It’s cool—Hulme has honed his niche with integrity. “At the end of the day, we’re a steak and chop house,” he says. “If we were to try to do something for everyone, we wouldn’t be anything to anyone.”
The Pine Club 1926 Brown St., Dayton, Ohio, (937) 228-5371, thepineclub.com
Originally Published in the March 2014 issue.