Salt Creek Inn reopens with new owner; improvements planned

The sale of the Salt Creek Inn closed Jan. 22, and there’s now a new face behind the counter.

Danny Patel is overseeing the hotel as owner and manager.

Compared to running a gas station in Chicago, running a hotel in Brown County hasn’t been too much of a headache so far, he said. Patel also has experience managing restaurants.

Currently, the staff at the hotel is Patel and two housekeepers. Once business picks back up, he said he would like to hire back previous employees.

For now, Patel said he is getting his bearings but he does have future improvements in mind.

The first priority would be repairing the hotel’s parking lot.

He is also interested in installing a small kitchen.

Patel had originally wanted to offer breakfast items, such as donuts and coffee.

However, county health inspector Jennifer Heller said that serving coffee in the lobby still falls under food-preparation rules. In order to provide breakfast, Patel would need to have a county-certified food preparer on staff and facilities for cleaning food-preparation equipment.

Patel said additional improvements or a remodel are possible in the future.

However, the hotel might become part of a franchise, so the owners are holding off on renovating.

Most of all, Patel is pleased to be in Brown County after living and working in Chicago, he said.

“It’s good,” he remarked, pausing to watch traffic on State Road 46. “It’s a unique town, a nice place for tourists — nice and quiet.”

Ben Kibbey is a Brown County transplant from the cornfields of central Ohio. He covers county government, business, outdoors, sports and general news.