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CHESAPEAKE, Ohio — Established by the Brown family in 1951, the Dairy Bell in Chesapeake, Ohio, is a classic drive-in restaurant that is part of local history.

The much-loved drive-in now has new owners: Nick and Allison Clay. They said they don’t expect much in the way of change, and Dairy Bell will continue to serve their popular hotdogs, hamburgers and soft-serve ice cream.

“I’m a union steelworker, and my wife worked in the healthcare field. We’ve come here for years, and I really like the food and ice cream here. I also really like the hospitality. Back in September I stopped in to buy an ice cream cone before work. I said that I’d like to buy the place, and they told me it happened to be for sale. We finally got all of the paperwork done two weeks ago,” Nick Clay said. “We still have Mrs. Brown’s hotdog sauce. We have the secret recipe locked in a safe.”

“We were really excited about it because a business like this is a staple of the community. When I was growing up, I remember in elementary we would always walk down here to get our ice cream cones. It’s a tradition that I love that I’m very excited to continue,” Allison Clay said.

The dining room has been closed all year because of COVID-19. The restaurant is currently just walk-up and drive-through service.

“We are going to do some remodeling on the dining area,” Nick Clay said. “We will have the floors redone, repaint the walls, and have some furniture replaced. We will also have new menus.”

The restaurant has been cash-only for years, but the Clays are working to be able to accept credit and debit cards, as well as install Wi-Fi.

“We aren’t planning on any changes to the menu, but we are hoping to expand on the specials,” Nick Clay said. “We currently have a meatloaf dinner on Wednesdays. We are hoping to have a Chicken & Dumpling dinner on Thursdays and Fridays.”

The Dairy Bell is famous for their footlong hotdogs, which are served with mustard, onions and chili sauce (slaw is extra). There’s also hamburgers served on your choice of a bun or old fashioned on grilled buttered bread. Specialty burgers include the Pizza Burger’ with provolone cheese and marinara sauce and the Panther’s Paw, a double with pepperjack cheese. Other sandwiches include a fried chicken sandwich, BBF BBQ, a Fish Tail and a BLT. There are several salads including a Chef Salad, a Garden Salad and a Taco Salad. Dessert options include hand-scooped Hersey’s ice cream, soft-serve ice cream, sundaes, banana splits and the Deep Purple, a mix of slush and ice cream.

“I love a large soft-serve chocolate ice cream. I think we have the best soft-serve in the Tri-State,” Nick Clay said.

Dairy Bell is located at 595 3rd Ave., in Chesapeake, Ohio. It is open from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and is currently closed on Sundays. Only cash is accepted at this time. For delivery, carryout or more information call 740-867-8171. For specials, visit

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