Mixed emotions as Allegheny Township catering business Dobie’s goes up for sale

Mixed emotions as Allegheny Township catering business Dobie’s goes up for sale

When someone cries at work, it’s usually not a good thing.

But recently, happy tears were in store for Nikki Miller, a party coordinator at Dobi Catering and Take Out in Allegheny Township.

Miller was working last week when an elderly couple came in to order the Dobie chicken, a company specialty since 1962.

“It was his and his wife’s 50th wedding anniversary and Dobie had chicken on their wedding night and they came over for a meal on their 50th,” Miller said. “I just lost it. It was fascinating.”

Dobi Catering, owned by Buffalo Township couple Annette and Don Herbst, quietly went up for sale last fall.

The building is listed for $650,000, with the business and equipment being sold separately.

“The list price for the business is negotiable,” said Hanna Commercial broker Tom Jelepis, who is handling the sale.

Although the business and equipment are separate sales, the Herbsts hope to sell both at the same time, Jelepis said.

The business will remain open during the sale.

Miller is joined by her husband, Gary, and their son, Gage, 20, as employees of the family-run business.

Miller has been a fixture at Dobie’s for 22 years. Now, with the business on the market, the Herbsts hope a potential buyer will continue the Dobie’s legacy of emphasizing customer service, fantastic food and family values.

“We always want to be nice and make customers feel good,” Nikki Miller said.

Bittersweet decision

Both working professionals, the Herbsts said the decision to sell their catering business came with mixed emotions as they prepared to retire.

“It’s time to pass the torch. Our daughter is graduating college soon and I want to see her succeed,” said Don Herbst, 62. “It is difficult. It is very sentimental. I physically built this building—all 7,000 square feet.

Each room has a different tile pattern and large windows flood the casual dining room with natural light. Despite the names of the dishes, the food options are available. Hand-laid tile designs extend into the bathrooms, and marble from the first Do-Bi house has been reused in one of them.

“I’m sad and I’m happy,” said Annette Herbst, 61. “I’m happy because we’re approaching retirement age and we’re sad because we’ve had this problem since we got pregnant with our daughter.”

The catering business is well established in the Alle-Kiski Valley.

“We’ve thrived in covid because we’ve always been positioned for large amounts of food,” Don Herbst said.

The unusual name Do-Bee originated in 1962 when two friends, the late Doris Biss and Dorothy “Bibs” Furin, went into business together, operating out of a small house on the property.

Over seven years, Don Herbst completely renovated, renovated and expanded the building at 29 Angel Drive to transform it into a state-of-the-art catering kitchen and facility.

Co-listing agent Cathy Tresco of Hanna Commercial said the restaurant building is impressive.

“It’s an immaculate building and well-maintained,” Tresco said.

The over 5,000 square foot building and 2,000 square feet of warehouse space is located in the commercial corridor of Allegheny Township near Kiski Area High School.

“Everything is brought home and falls apart,” Miller said. “I love hearing all the customers’ stories. These are not just clients for me. This is a family for me.”

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Joyce Hanz | TribLive

With its secret blend of spices, “Dobi Chicken” is a favorite among customers of Dobi Catering and Take Out in Allegheny Township.

He recalled a regular customer who recently came in to order Dobie chicken for his sick dog.

“The dog just loved the Dobie chicken and that was the dog’s last meal. I bought it for a dog because I love to please my customers. And everybody loves that Dobie chicken,” Miller said.

A secret chicken recipe comes with the sale, and Herbs will assist the new owner with the transition if requested.

“We make everything here – from scratch – and Dobie’s chicken has a unique spice that we dust on,” Don Herbst said.

Finger licking goodness

Chicken rules the roost on Dobi’s menu.

“The tastiest chicken this side of the Allegheny” is the tagline that accompanies fresh, never-frozen chicken that’s immediately marinated and then smoked or grilled before being tossed with spices.

Other Dobi’s must-haves include homemade pierogi.

“They have such a following,” Annette Herbst said. “Our intention is to keep the transition transparent and the name has been here since 1962. This was our decision to keep the name. We just had to change it a bit for legal reasons – we got rid of the hyphen (in Do-Bi).

The Herbsts said they have heard from several interested parties, but nothing serious yet.

“I call them tire kickers,” Don Herbst joked. “We don’t have a deadline to sell. We feel the waters and it’s time to pass the baton.”

Joyce Hanz is a TribLive reporter covering the Alle-Kiski Valley. A native of Charleston, SC, he graduated from the University of South Carolina. He can be reached at [email protected]

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