WHEELING - A new outdoor eatery at Heritage Port wasn't able to open today as organizers make sure all necessary permits from the Wheeling-Ohio County Health Department are in order.
Wheeling-Ohio County Rails to Trails Manager R. "Scat" Scatterday, who has led the effort to get the "Depot Bikery" up and running along Heritage Trail near the waterfront, said he and primary food vendor Frank Warren, proprietor of the Soup Shack at Centre Market, learned late Monday that the eatery could not open today as planned because the license issued by the health department was not the proper type.
The permit, Scatterday said, was issued for a "mobile" vendor such as those that come to Heritage Port for a day or two during special events. But because the establishment plans to open daily each summer, a different license with more stringent requirements is needed.
Photo by Ian Hicks
Cyclist Kim Butler of Wheeling stops to chat with Carenbauer Distributing owner Carl Carenbauer, from left, Wheeling-Ohio County Rails to Trails Manager R. “Scat” Scatterday and Soup Shack proprietor Frank Warren as they discuss plans for a new outdoor eatery at Heritage Port over a few of Warren’s smoked turkey sandwiches.
Warren said he has everything he needs to meet those requirements, and it's just a matter of having an official inspection done. He and Scatterday hope to be able to hold their soft opening Wednesday or Thursday.
An official grand opening for the Depot Bikery will be announced later pending final approval of the plan by Wheeling City Council. The name, according to Wheeling-Ohio County Rails to Trails Manager R. "Scat" Scatterday, is a combined homage to the eatery's location along Heritage Trail and its proximity to the former site of the Pennsylvania Railroad Depot at the northern end of Heritage Port near the playground area.
With 10 umbrella-shaded tables for three surrounded by greenery and a picturesque view of the Ohio River and the historic Suspension Bridge, the Depot Bikery has the feel of a classic sidewalk cafe. Whether it's bikers or joggers looking to enjoy a snack and a cool beverage in the shade, or downtown workers eager to escape the office and breathe some fresh air on their lunch breaks, Scatterday is confident the Depot Bikery will help make Heritage Port the place to be on a daily basis, not just during fairs and festivals.
"I think it's going to be a win, win, win, win -- and even if it isn't a success ... we'll still have furniture and a storage area that we can always use for future events," Scatterday said.
Warren plans to be open for lunch from 10:30 or 11 a.m. to about 3 p.m. every Monday through Friday until sometime in October, or as long as the weather cooperates. At the new waterfront eatery, he will feature many of the cold items that have become popular at his Centre Market location, including spinach salads, hummus tacos, turkey sandwiches, fruit soup, Greek pasta salad and chicken, tuna or egg salad sandwiches.
"On a warm day, the cold food should sell like hotcakes," said Warren, who also will offer bottled water, soft drinks and organic juices.
Warren said the Depot Bikery presented the perfect opportunity to expand his business, which he said has seen steadily growth since the Soup Shack opened about three years ago, offering a variety of soup and sandwich selections that are vegetarian-friendly yet appeal to dedicated carnivores, as well.
"This is just a gorgeous spot. ... I'm really counting on this to take off," said Warren.
Scatterday said vendors are still being sought to supplement Warren's offerings with pastries, ice cream and other treats. Any business interested should apply through the city, he said.
Scatterday said it's also important to note that none of this would have been possible without local businesses stepping up and donating all the necessary equipment. Carenbauer Distributing donated the money to purchase the tables and chairs from Lowe's, which sold the items to the city at cost. Savage Construction also donated time last week to help set up the locked storage box that will keep the equipment safe when not in use.
Carl Carenbauer, owner of Carenbauer Distributing, said when Scatterday approached him with the idea for the eatery, helping out just seemed like the right thing to do.
"I totally agreed with the concept," he said. "I think it's a great idea. ... The more we can do to bring people down to the waterfront, the better it is for everyone involved."