Dayton Daily News: Neil’s Heritage House Auction Underway

Dayton Daily News: Neil’s Heritage House Auction Underway

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Neil’s Heritage House auction underway

KETTERING— A slice of Dayton-area restaurant history is on the auction block, with the final gavel poised to come down Thursday afternoon.

The contents of Neil’s Heritage House, which enjoyed a five-decade run before shutting down in 2006 and which was resurrected for a second run from 2011 to 2014, are open for online bidding now, and will be auctioned off with finality starting at 4 p.m. Thursday, June 11, at the restaurant at 2323 W. Schantz Ave. in Kettering. A preview of the 393 auction items is planned for Wednesday, June 10 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The restaurant had a five-decade run before shutting down in January 2006, operated in its later years by Walter Schaller. Then in 2010, Serena Walther, granddaughter of the restaurant’s founder, Neil Swafford, moved from California back to her hometown of Dayton, and with her then-husband Eric Leventhal, renovated the space and reopened the restaurant in 2011. The restaurant opened strong, fueled in part by nostalgia, but later struggled and suspended operations in late 2014.

In its heyday primarily in the 1960s and 1970s, Neil’s was a popular supper club and special-events venue, drawing wedding receptions, family reunions, class reunions, school dances and a variety of other events.

The items up for auction range from a hostess stand to throwback red vinyl chairs to kitchen equipment. Online bidding has been spirited on some items: a small water fountain originally listed for an opening bid of $1 has received nine bids already, the most recent bid reaching $51.

The 2.2-acre tract that includes the three-story, 24,000-square-foot restaurant and banquet center building and an adjacent residential duplex was put on the market about three months ago. Tom Kretz, commercial Realtor for Berkshire Hathaway and the listing agent for the property, said in March that he was looking for “a best-fit partner who can take this over and help take it to the next 50 years.” Re-development possibilities include a restaurant, a brewpub, medical offices, or multi-family residential housing, Kretz said.

Earlier this week, Kretz appeared to suggest that there could be a potential buyer. “We are bound to a confidentiality agreement at this time,” Kretz said. “Stay tuned.”

For more information about the auction, go to or email auctioneer Penny Worley at

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