Brian K. McClintock, 52, co-owner of Gangsters Grille, died Sunday at Parkview Regional Medical Center.McClintock, along with his wife, Donna, bought the bar with a location reputedly linked to a John Dillinger heist in Hudson. The native of Coldwater, Mich., bought the former Dillinger’s bar at 302 N. Main St. seven years ago after seeing it for sale on Craigslist, said his wife of 30 years, who was at the restaurant Tuesday.
Dillinger’s owners hadn’t accepted his offer at first but later called and took the price. Brian had visited Dillinger’s several times to see how business was and it wasn’t good. It needed a little revamping. “It had been a tired place,” Donna said. “...As soon as we were in here we were busy.”
“Brian came up with the name,” she said. The restaurant’s slogan is “Food this good should be criminal.”Brian also created the menu. However, it was Donna who had the restaurant experience since she was 15, though she had been involved in trucking with her first husband. It was a bit of trial-and-error at first with learning “how many chicken strips are supposed to go on a plate.”
It wasn’t an easy road for the McClintocks. Donna’s mother was ill with cancer when Brian was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia about seven years ago. Her mother died in December 2009 and a month later they started their business.
Brian wasn’t a man afraid of taking something on. He had been a pumper in the oilfields for his family business. He met Donna, when she was a 22-year-old widow with three small daughters. The two married in 1986 and had two more daughters. Daughter Ashley has been working as bartender at Gangsters Grille since May.
The restaurant, which serves breakfast, daily lunch and dinner specials, pays homage to the 1933 heist legend that the Public Enemy No. 1 and members of his gang held up the former Farmers State Bank. The Dillinger connection draws patrons from across the country.
The original bank safe remains in the restaurant, which serves homemade dishes, one or two soups of the day and the Gangster Burger, a 10-ounce hamburger with ham, bacon, cheese, lettuce, tomato, barbecue sauce and two onion rings. One item isn’t listed on the menu – prime rib, which is served on the weekends.
A GoFundMe site was set up by their daughter Valarie Vaughn. The site, www.gofundme.com/help-for-brians-medical-expenses, will remain active to help pay for medical and funeral expenses.
The restaurant will be closed during services for McClintock, which will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday at Johnson Funeral Home, Hudson, with calling after 4 p.m. The restaurant will reopen at 10 a.m. Friday.