“A destination steakhouse.”
That’s the motto that appears on the menu for The Beekeeper Inn, a new restaurant that recently opened in Oak Harbor.
The restaurant is owned by Mark Kohn and Peggy Dennis, of Graytown, who came up with the idea for starting the restaurant when discussing how they had to travel to the city for nice, up-scale dinners.
“We live on a farm (in Graytown),” said Kohn. “When we go out to eat, we have to go to Fremont or Toledo.”
As a result, they considered what it would be like to have a restaurant in a town like Oak Harbor.
It was that thinking, combined with the fact that both Kohn and Dennis enjoy cooking and embody the entrepreneurial spirit, that sparked their interest and culminated with the opening of The Beekeeper Inn on Sept. 30.
The name of the restaurant stems from the fact that both Kohn and Dennis are beekeepers themselves.
The menu, which can be viewed at the restaurant’s website, www.beekeeperoh.com, offers a variety of food, ranging from steaks to seafood to pasta to sandwiches and soups. It also has its share of premium salads (Caesar, Caprese and Classic Spinach), as well as appetizers (sweet potato fries, crab cakes, crispy German meatballs) and a kids’ menu. A selection of wines is also available.
The couple stresses that, whenever possible, they buy locally-grown products, whether it be fruits and vegetables from a local farmers’ market, or meat from a local establishment, thus ensuring freshness and quality in the ingredients.
Currently, The Beekeeper Inn has 14 employees, and the kitchen team is led by John Scott, who has previously worked as executive chef at the Sylvania Country Club.
The couple wanted The Beekeeper Inn to be a place where people can eat a nice dinner, sit at a table and drink a glass of wine with friends and relax, or head to the bar for a drink.
Kohn and Dennis have also spoken about having on open-mic night, as well having as musical acts for entertainment.
It has been a long, arduous process that has gotten Kohn and Dennis to this point. For the better part of a year, they’ve spent time working to secure a loan, not to mention the time and effort spent trying to refurbish the building.
The restaurant, which is located at 200 W. Water Street at the corner of Water and Church Street, is located inside the building that was previously the home to the historic Oak Harbor Hotel and a Bad Bob’s Barbecue Restaurant.
“We actually started looking for buildings and this one interested us,” said Kohn. “We called the office of the man who owned the building and got the ball rolling from there.”
The couple closed on their purchase of the building in March, and since then, have worked diligently to renovate and restore it.
“I took out the carpeting, fixed the place up, cleaned the kitchen,” said Kohn. “We addressed a lot of the core issues in the building.”
Kohn and Dennis, both of whom grew up in northwest Ohio, credit the National Bank of Oak Harbor (NBOH), which was very instrumental in helping the couple to open the restaurant.
“We bought the building, so it makes a lot more sense to make capital investments in the building,” said Kohn. “The best decision was going to the bank across the street. It’s in their interest to see the business do well, they want the town to do well. “They’ve been very, very helpful,” said Dennis. “They always take the time to help and answer the questions (we have).”
The Beekeeper Inn serves lunch and dinner and is open Wednesday through Sunday. Hours are 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. The kitchen closes daily at 9 p.m. Closed Sunday and Monday.
For more information, visit www.beekeeperoh.com or call 419-607-6083.
Peggy Dennis and Mark Kohn, owners of The Beekeeper Inn, a “destination steakhouse” located in Oak Harbor.