NEW MIDDLETOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The pandemic has hit local businesses hard, but it didn’t stop a New Middletown restaurant from getting a new beginning.

“I think it’s a good thing. We needed a nice restaurant again,” said Tiger’s Table Den & Deli employee Ruth Martin.

But at Tiger’s Table, it’s not just a nice restaurant, it’s a piece of history and nostalgia.

“We could really give this back to the community. We could really make a place where there’s fellowship and community happening. That’s the way it used to be, you know?” said part-owner Shaun Sommers.

The restaurant has had many different faces throughout the years, from Mexican food to steakhouses. But, owner Joe Radman knew what the village really wanted.

“The whole community was like, ‘You should name it the Tiger’s Table,’ because that’s what everybody remembered — everybody was friends, everybody knew everybody,” Radman said.

So, he teamed up with Sommers and they made the vision happen. It opened just over a week ago.

“It’s not just about coming and getting a meal, it’s coming and getting a meal with the people you care most about,” Sommers said.

For people like Martin, it’s like she entered a time machine.

“I came in and I looked at everything and I’m like, ‘Oh my God, it’s just like it was 50 years ago!” Martin said.

Martin worked at the original Tiger’s Table when she was 16 years old as a morning cook. Five decades later, she’s back at the grill.

“It’s just my hometown community, all my local people that I know come in. I talk to them, make whatever and it’s old-time sake!” she said.

You might notice the new restaurant has a very distinct way of decorating.

“We got all kinds of pictures and decorations, and everything screams Springfield,” Radman said.

They even have special menu items for staple community members, like “The Brungard Burger” and “The Mickey Melt.”

“Mickey is one of our hometown boys. He’s known by everybody,” Martin said.

“We had to do something to honor them, we wanted to do something to honor them. It was our pleasure to do something to honor them,” Radman said.

“I think it’s gonna do awesome. They’ve got a positive attitude and they’re gonna bring it on,” Martin said. “I really see potential here. The people are great, the community is supporting us.”