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Published: Tuesday, 3/25/2008

Downtown's Durty Bird reopens as Legends

BY LARRY P. VELLEQUETTE
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER
Ryan Proudlock stocks a cooler at the establishment near the Mud Hens stadium in downtown Toledo. Ryan Proudlock stocks a cooler at the establishment near the Mud Hens stadium in downtown Toledo.
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Just months after closing its doors and sprouting a "For Sale" sign behind a rain-spotted window, the Durty Bird in historic St. Clair Village in downtown Toledo has had its feathers fluffed and now sports a new name and new ownership.

Two suburban-Detroit couples reopened the stadium-area restaurant and watering hole at South St. Clair and Washington streets this month as Legends Bar and Grill.

The couples, Pam and Rick Graziano and Al and Denise Proudlock, met while working at a suburban Detroit school district and each previously owned bars in Michigan, Mrs. Graziano said. Legends is their first business venture in Toledo.

"We had a huge crowd in here on Saturday night for the Kid Rock concert," a happy Mrs. Graziano said. "We weren't expecting anything that big. Let's just hope it's like that all summer."

Mrs. Graziano said it was serendipity that she and her business partners opted to open their bar/restaurant south of the stadium and across the street from the Swamp Shop. They had had their hearts set on another venue near the stadium.

The sign outside the building still advertises the previous name. The sign outside the building still advertises the previous name.
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"We were originally planning to open a PizzaPapalis franchise," in the Monroe Street building that once housed the infamous Brenda's Body Shop, Mrs. Graziano said. But when that deal fell apart, "we started driving around downtown and happened to see the for sale sign."

Both couples had been in the Durty Bird before it closed and liked what they saw. They also had come to Toledo for baseball games, she said.

PizzaPapalis Taverna, which has six restaurants in the Detroit metropolitan area and specializes in Chicago-style deep-dish pizza, is expected to open this year in the building at 523 Monroe, adjacent to Fifth Third Field, where the Mud Hens baseball team plays.

Joe Sheena, president of Sheena Management Co., which owns PizzaPapalis, said the company has encountered a few changes and delays that put off its plans to open in time for this year's Mud Hens season. The proposed restaurant in downtown Toledo will be Sheena's first venture outside Michigan.

"It's got to be done the right way, so that it's a benefit to that area," Mr. Sheena said. "Our intention is to be an asset to what they're trying to do down there in Toledo."

Contact Larry P. Vellequette at:

lvellequette@theblade.com

or 419-724-6091.



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