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After 43 Years, Latonia Gold Star Chili to Make a Move

The Gold Star Chili on Winston Avenue in Latonia is seeking greener pastures.
 
Or at least a larger pasture.
 
In the fall, the regional favorite will move across and down the street to the lot that previously housed Long John Silvers which closed a year ago. The new location will feature 40 additional seats and a drive-thru which is important to the franchise's growth in the area.  
 
"I'm very excited about it. It's expensive and will cost some money, but I am excited about the move," said owner Wafa Daoud at his current location on Wednesday morning. "The reason we actually looked at the move was because this store is actually one of the highest gross sales stores. So with a store like that, imagine now if we move to a bigger store."
 
Gold Star Chili has been at its current location since 1972 and Dauod has owned it since 1999. The new location will have 80 seats instead of the current 40 seats in the existing location, but the major draw to the new location was the drive-thru.  
 
"Mama and Papa stores anymore, they don't exist. It's the big people that do well, and the drive-thru is a big part," he said.
 
The plan is to tear down the existing structure and build a new restaurant in its place. The new building will be a brand new design for the Gold Star Chili franchise that will accommodate a wide spectrum of customers.
 
"It's going to be nice. The material is extremely expensive so it will last and give it that expensive look. We're trying to reach all ages in that store. So it will speak to the older people, but at the same time, we're going to have some tables for the young with the higher chairs. So it speaks to the new millennium," Daoud said. 
 
It was important to Gold Star to remain in Latonia  not only because of the strong sales there but also because of the community relationship that Latonia and Gold Star have fortified over the years. Daoud said he saw how some residents became angry when LaRosa's moved their pizzeria from Latonia to Taylor Mill and that he doesn't want to rankle people in similar fashion. 
 
"We are staying in Latonia, we're not moving out of Latonia. People sometimes don't like places to move. I've seen the LaRosa's move up the hill and a lot of people didn't like that," he said. "We honestly participate a lot in the Latonia community. Whether it's school, churches, and the other social community. We even got a trophy from the Latonia Business Association for the best place in service. So that also gave us a boost."
 
He even said that some members of the nearby Colony retirement community were upset that they had to now walk farther to visit Gold Star, but Daoud is determined to accommodate them, even if it means making special efforts to keep The Colony happy.   
 
"We did have an issue with The Colony. I had one woman come in angry that we are moving, but I promise I will do something just for the Colony. I am going to work out a deal where once a week, if they put their orders together, I will deliver it to them."
 
The move was welcomed with open arms at the Latonia Shopping Center where the new Gold Star will be.   
 
"We talked to the company and to the shopping center and we introduced the idea and these people want to grow with somebody strong and well-known, and we are a well-known franchise. They liked the idea. They received it very well, and for me and my partner it is a chance for us to have a drive through," he said.
 
Written by Bryan Burke, associate editor
Photo: Former Long John Silvers building