YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — It’s not often you see an era end and start up again, but we witnessed it Friday afternoon on Logan Avenue — Youngstown’s Northside — when the 90-year-old Golden Dawn Restaurant and Bar reopened after being shut down five years ago.
The outpouring of support was what you would expect.
The Ursuline band started the festivities shortly before 4 p.m. A block of Logan Avenue was closed by police as the crowd swelled out front.
“I’m glad this day is here, and I welcome everybody that came back to the Golden Dawn,” said owner Johnny Naples.
Naples briefly choked up before Ursuline President Father Richard Murphy cut the ribbon.
“Here’s to the new life of the Golden Dawn,” said Father Murphy.
They stopped briefly on the fronts steps for Father Murphy’s blessing.
Inside YSU President Jim Tressel cut a second ribbon. The back area will now be called the Penguin Room.
At around 4:20 p.m. Ursuline football coach Dan Reardon poured the first schooner of beer, raising it high for the crowd to see.
“I’m glad everybody’s back. Welcome to a new era of the new Golden Dawn,” said Reardon.
The schooner was passed to Kevin McGuire who’s been coming to the Golden Dawn since he was five.
“Tough times go away. Tough Youngstown icons and legends don’t. That’s why the Golden Dawn’s back,” said McGuire.
The sign outside is new. The booths and barstools have been recovered. The kitchen and bathrooms were redone. There’s new tile and a new ceiling. But the nostalgia hasn’t changed.
“The bar stays the same. The neon lighting stays the same. The white shirts and ties. We will always wear the white shirts and ties,” said Naples.
All the booths were filled. The crowd around the bar was four and five deep — many of them holding schooners dressed in Golden Dawn logos. Kim Smotrilla was a waitress when it closed and was not surprised by the large turnout.
“It’s part of the Youngstown heritage and they knew it would be busy and everybody would want to come see it,” said Smotrilla.
The Golden Dawn will also be featuring two local products on its menu — Penguin City Beer and Stone Fruit Coffee. Johnny Naples said they approach him and he was more than happy to oblige.