Variety is the name of the game at the Hidden Carry-Out and Drive-Thru
By Lora Abernathy
The Hidden Carry-Out and Drive-Thru specializes in unique beers that many Wilmington residents would otherwise have to drive to Cincinnati or Dayton to buy, and no other business compares to it in Wilmington, according to one of its patrons.
“I go in for the surprise factor,” said Wilmington resident Taylor Stuckert, a long-time customer and fan of craft beers.
“The story behind the name is the previous owner said a lot of people didn’t know where it was until they saw the sign … Everyone said it was hidden so he called it ‘Hidden Carry-Out,’” said Patel, who has owned the Main Street store for 10 years.
“It’s a hidden gem,” said Wilmington Mayor Randy Riley and a regular customer. “It’s so easy to go by and you don’t know it’s there. It’s perfectly named.”
Riley became a customer when Bill Morrow owned the carryout. At the suggestion of Morrow’s wife, with whom Riley used to work, “I stopped in this little carryout and it was like Heaven,” he said.
Stuckert said he enjoys the variety of beers available at the Hidden Carry-Out. He doesn’t necessarily have a favorite, but likes to shop to see what other flavors he can explore.
“My favorite part about craft beers and the movement is the ability to try new things,” Stuckert said, “so it’s hard to have a favorite.”
Trying something new is how Patel, originally from Queens, N.Y., ended up in Wilmington, Ohio.
One of Patel’s relatives told him the previous owner wanted to retire. He said he knew about the town and that it was a good business with good customers.
“I love (the Wilmington community). I love it,” Patel said. “You can talk to the customers, people are not rushing… I come from New York, so driving-wise, it’s great. Parking-wise, it’s great. People are more friendly.”
The store has two full-time and two part-time employees, and Patel’s son, Nayan, helps out with the business while going to school at the University of Cincinnati. Patel’s daughter, Dimple, is getting her master’s degree at Brown University and his wife, Kiran, still lives in New York because of her job. Patel also owns the Circle Drive-Thru near the downtown fire station.
In addition to the variety of beers, the Hidden Carry-Out offers soft drinks, candy, chips, tobacco and wines, including a full selection of wines from Valley Vineyards.
Patel said that once he has built a good relationship with a customer, he will try and order beers they want to sample.
Riley said Patel is all about customer service, and if the staff can help with anything, they will.
According to Riley, as an example of “how good Dan is,” a few years ago, Riley traveled to Nicaragua and tasted a beer he liked made in a remote part of the country. When Riley returned to the states, he went to see Patel and described the concoction. Two days later, the beer was in his store.
Lora is the editor of Salt magazine. She lives in Hillsboro, is married to Gary and competes in triathlons.