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Letter to the Editor
T. Dub's Pizzeria & Pub reopens following fire, COVID-19 issues
It was a long 18 months for Frankenmuth resident and T. Dub’s Pizzeria & Pub owner Mark Johnston.
An early-morning fire on February 8, 2020 consumed the building housing the eatery, located at 565 South Main Street, along with the adjacent business, the Frankenmuth Taffy Kitchen.
Johnston reopened his doors – and a new garage door – on August 23 and business has been brisk. He states his Mondays and Tuesdays have been as busy as his Sundays.
The 2020 fire broke out in the kitchen around 5:40am on a Saturday morning.
Frankenmuth realtor Scott R. Rausch owns the building which houses both businesses. Carol McClellan and her son Zak own the Frankenmuth Taffy Kitchen.
The timing of the blaze came right after Zehnder’s Snowfest and what is known as the “shoulder months” of the year in town. Also, a little over a month later, the still ongoing COVID-19 pandemic began, shutting down restaurant businesses on two separate occasions over the past year.
That gave Rausch, Johnston and the McClellans plenty of time to plan a new design and rebuild from the ruins.
𠇍ue to COVID-19, we ran about six months behind on completion,” Rausch said. Rausch acted as the general contractor with the construction work completed by Gilmour Construction.
Rausch hired Orin Campbell of Campbell & Associates of Sandusky to assist with the complete re-design of the structure and interior of both businesses, which included interior decoration work done by Mark’s wife, Margie.
Both parties will be at the 565 South Main Street location for at least 10-15 years as Rausch negotiated long-term leases with the Johnstons and McClellans.
“The community needs high quality businesses in the downtown area of Frankenmuth,” said Rausch, who has owned the building for about 20 years.
While the coronavirus crisis hindered service, the pandemic also affected obtaining kitchen equipment and construction materials. That also delayed opening the business for many months.
The footprint of T. Dub’s remains the same; however, Johnston moved his walk-in cooler outside of the structure, to create a more efficient kitchen work area.
The rear entrance still has a corridor leading to the dining room. The restrooms remain in the corridor, but are larger with more facilities.
The contemporary interior has an open industrial warehouse look. While most patrons think the building is larger, Johnston points out the seating is about the same, 84 seats.
The biggest change is the bar area. The former bar was part of the east wall and kitchen area and had no seating. The new L-shaped bar has seating for 12 persons and Johnston now has a full beer and liquor bar. He will have eight draft beers on tap soon, hopefully within the next 2-4 weeks, featuring craft brews as well.
The South Main Street entrance also remains as well as a new service door and large garage door on the south side of the building, facing the alley between the eatery and Fischer Hall. Johnston is looking to open that garage door next spring for some outdoor dining. He has a large screen for the garage door.
The name T. Dub’s is in honor of his grandfather, the late T.W. Johnston, owner of the Frankenmuth IGA Foodliner, now known as Kroger of Frankenmuth in the Bavarian Mall. A drawing of T.W. is seen on the corridor wall and inside the restaurant.
Johnston employs about 40 people, everyone from servers to kitchen help. Chad Golden is the front of the house manager and Troy Zwerk is the kitchen manager.
The menu remains mostly the same as it was, with pizza being the main staple. The burgers are very popular as well as the breakfasts which feature several omelettes.
“Our dinner hours are much better now and I think the bar helps that,” Johnston said.
T.Dub’s is open Monday through Thursday and Sunday, 7am until 8pm and Friday and Saturday, 7am until 9pm. The telephone number is 989-652-3809. The restaurant has a Facebook presence and online at www.tdubsfrankenmuth.com.