Julie Ketterman and Linda Ball: Ye Olde Durty Bird
Have you ever wondered what makes Ye Olde Durty Bird such a magnetic restaurant in downtown Toledo? It is the dynamic duo that founded the restaurant, sisters Julie Ketterman and Linda Ball. Together, they have created a fun and exciting atmosphere on the corner of Washington and St. Clair in downtown Toledo.
During the holiday season of 2011, the two were presented with the opportunity to transform the space and fulfill their dream of opening a gastropub. Julie and Linda had worked together for many years at The Distillery and The Lighthouse, so they were confident they could create a space in the Warehouse District that would catch on.
This is their fifth year in business at Durty Bird, and they currently employ more than 55 Toledo region residents. The restaurant is growing at a rapid pace, and Linda and Julie could not be more thankful for the outpouring of support they have received over the last five years.
It only made sense to the sisters to rely on each other and their families for support. They feel like they’ve been given a once in a lifetime opportunity and are so proud of each other and the strengths that they bring to the table. The two tend to finish each other’s sentences, and Linda shared, “Our strengths are completely different. I’m more the food end, the hospitality end, and I enjoy interacting with the customers, writing the menu and coming up with the recipes. Julie is hands down better with the business administration, the numbers, booking, management and attention to details.”
Durty Bird is unique in that it is a gastropub with entertainment, however, they made the important distinction that they are not a club. Typically patrons can enjoy entertainment three nights per week, plus jazz on Sundays paired with their popular Bloody Mary bar. It was important to Julie and Linda in the beginning to pilot and test both the food and the atmosphere in order to set the menu to what they knew Toledo wanted. They feel that they definitely opened the restaurant at the right time and that the Toledo area wanted the restaurant to succeed. They believe in Toledo, which made it easy for them to see the potential for their restaurant and the neighborhood. “We are born and raised Toledoans, so we knew what downtown was capable of.” – Julie Ketterman
The sisters shared that their customers and the community are one of their biggest sources of support. Before they opened, the amount of people who would show their support by stopping in when they were working was overwhelming. There was a constant stream of pedestrians and downtown business owners who would pop their heads in the restaurant to give an encouraging word or express excitement for the grand opening.
In 2011 when they acquired the space, the warehouse district didn’t look quite as polished as it does today. They are incredibly excited about the addition of Hensville and feel that the number of businesses that have opened within those few blocks is a huge asset to their business. Julie and Linda emphatically stated that there are too many attributes in Toledo to name why they’ve committed their lives to Northwest Ohio, but the supportive attitude of local businesses, the diversity of the city, the cultural scene and the University of Toledo are certainly highlights.
Part of their culture at the restaurant is a huge reflection of the sister’s love for Toledo. They do a lot to give back to the community from participating in the Art Loop and Wander the Warehouse, to supporting local education initiatives and the Race for the Cure. Giving back is a natural part of the sister’s personalities. They enjoy creating a positive environment for those around them and love having the ability and opportunity to give back. “For a small town, there is a big heart in downtown Toledo.” – Linda Ball
If you’ve never checked out the pterodactyl on the wall, treated your taste buds to their famous Smoked Gouda Mac-n-Cheese or shared a drink with friends while enjoying local entertainment, you have to get to Ye Olde Durty Bird tonight. Open for lunch and dinner, you are sure to have a great time.
It Matters Where You Make It ®