By Abby Shrout
On the green and in the kitchen, the appeal is all the same. Champions Grill entices Fayette Countians in all aspects, from leisure and curbing the appetite, to small-town history and giving back to its community.
In October 2021, Jason Mongold, Todd Wallace and Dustin Pfeifer all decided to seek a new business venture. After a few conversations with city officials and making an offer, in March of 2022, their ideas became a reality.
The main reason behind opening Champions was to ensure that the community kept access to the golf course in Washington C.H., which is turning 100 years old this year.
“With our business, it’s a little bit more than just running a restaurant and a golf course,” said Mongold. “It’s about preserving and maintaining small town history.”
A lot of work went into preparing the building and course to be ready for customers. From a new bar top to new tables and seating, the owners worked long hours to get everything ready for the public.
Outside of this business, the owners all have other occupations. Mongold owns other businesses in the community, Pfeifer has an additional business as well, and Wallace is a minister at a church located right outside of Washington Court House.
The restaurant is located in a vintage, history rich building that overlooks a nine-hole, 88-acre golf course.
Champions is what most would consider a sports bar, but is branching out into Sunday brunches and becoming a full service pizza restaurant as well.
Mongold, Wallace, Pfeifer, and Brandi Althouse, general manager of Champions, all have some ideas up their sleeves for the future of the restaurant including new menu items and diabetic options. Some of the new entree additions to the menu will include pastas, steak tips, meatloaf, and numerous desserts.
Also, by the end of the year, customers will have access to golf simulators to help spice up the cold, winter months.
Taco Tuesdays are always a big hit with Champions’ customers as well as Thursday Bike Nights.
“We are hosting events for the Buckeyes’ games and NFL games while also doing things for our local high school football teams on Friday nights,” explained Mongold. “We are creating a place where kids can come after the games, where they are able to be themselves, and also have a separate room from the adults.”
Champions is well-known for its burger line and Water Hazard Street Tacos. Many people visit to try the fried haddock tacos which are served with cabbage and kale slaw and garnished with an avocado aioli.
Another popular dish is the “In the Rough Wrap.” This delicacy consists of either grilled or hand-breaded, deep fried chicken, wrapped in a tortilla with lettuce, tomato, and Champions’ in-house made BBQ sauce.
The Grill has a broad menu with many choices.
Unlike many franchises and corporate restaurants, Champions makes a lot of their ingredients in-house with farm fresh ingredients. Most of their ingredients are bought locally as well. The restaurant partners with Sunny Maple for all of their lunch meats and buys a majority of its beef from Fannin Farms, which is located within the community.
“Our beef is always fresh, never frozen,” added Mongold.
The owners truly take pride in being locally involved and small owned.
Champions Grill also sponsors local sports teams from the area.
“We’re sponsoring both girls basketball teams in town, the boys’ basketball team at Miami Trace, and are feeding both football teams this season, which will amount to around 200 kids,” said Mongold. “We are 100% invested into our community. We also sponsored the play last school year at Washington Court House, right after our business opened.”
The owners believe what sets Champions apart from other restaurants is the fact that they care more about serving and giving back to their community more than any financial gain from the business.
“The pressure we have is that if we go out of business, all of this is gone, the restaurant, the bar, the course, everything. We were the only people to put in an offer on the property. We have to make sure that everything we do benefits the business and the community,” explained Mongold.
Champions’ owners and management have plans for a bright future and serving Fayette County for many more years to come.
“We are going to make some splashes within the community,” said Mongold.
Champions Grill is located at 703 Highland Ave. in Washington Court House.
Hours are 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.