Starting bright and early Monday morning, Dan O'Connell will be grilling French toast, pancakes, omelettes and bacon inside the McLure Hotel.
"I feel we can help meet the needs of the oil and gas workers staying here, as well as the rest of downtown Wheeling," said O'Connell, owner of the new Odessa's Breakfast and Catering shop inside the historic hotel at the corner of 12th and Market streets.
McLure General Manager Cynthia Johnson said the hotel has been void of a restaurant for a few years now, so she is looking forward to having the breakfast establishment up and running.
Photo by Casey Junkins
Cooking up some hot food at the new Odessa’s Breakfast and Catering inside the McLure Hotel in downtown Wheeling is the restaurant’s owner, Dan O’Connell.
"We have discussed this and planned this. We know we need to have a place for our guests to gather and socialize while they eat breakfast," she said, noting the hotel will still offer a limited continental breakfast to guests.
Bridgeport native O'Connell had been working in Myrtle Beach, S.C., until recently. He holds a degree in culinary arts, having worked in food service for several years. He said he believes he can attract customers who are looking to eat in the establishment in which they sleep, as well as others headed to work in downtown Wheeling.
In order to serve guests, O'Connell's initial hours of operation will be as follows: 6-11 a.m. Sunday through Tuesday and 2-11 a.m. Wednesday through Saturday.
"Some of the oil and gas workers have shifts that call for them to start at night. We should be able to catch some of that crowd, as well as others who are out at night," O'Connell said.
Johnson said the hotel's lounge, Harrigan's Pub, reopened several months ago. She said plans are in the works for the lounge to begin offering lunch and dinner service to fill the gap when Odessa's is closed.
"We want to be able to meet the needs of our guests, and we feel this is the best way to do that," she said.
Johnson noted the McLure hosts many wedding parties, wrestling teams and baseball teams throughout the year. She also said some of those performing at the nearby Capitol Theatre stay at the McLure, in addition to some who come to town to watch the shows. Still, Johnson said most of the business increase is due to the burgeoning oil and gas industry.
"Now that the business has picked back up, we have been able to do some renovations. It is really working out well," she said.
Johnson said it is "amazing" to see the McLure bustling with activity again. She said the hotel originally was built in 1852. Much of the original building was removed to make room for new construction about 30 years ago.
Johnson said the McLure has endured through the rise and fall of the steel, coal and glass industries in the Wheeling area. She does not know how long the oil and gas rush will last, but she is glad it is here.