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River’s Edge Restaurant Is Back in Business in Downtown Wheeling

Photo by Alan Olson The decks of the River’s Edge provide a nice backdrop to the first lunch rush after the restaurant’s reopening Wednesday in downtown Wheeling.

WHEELING — Months after the COVID-19 pandemic forced its closure in November, the River’s Edge threw open its doors Wednesday, reopening to better days.

The riverside restaurant closed Nov. 14 as the pandemic entered its worst spike, but general manager Debi Showalter said the restaurant’s staff are happy to be back to work and serving customers again.

Among the restaurant’s key draws is the riverside view, which provides a nice perspective on the Ohio River and the banks of the Ohio side to accompany a meal.

“I say it’s wonderful. We’ve been busy since we opened around 11,” Showalter said Wednesday, shortly after the lunch rush of their first day back. “… The view is really super important. Even just standing out there, it’s just pleasant.”

“The deck’s always filled up, and we have four floors of decks,” added owner Mike Ferns. “The higher up you go, the further up and down river you can see. This first day has been a great lunch hour, and we’ve had trouble keeping up.”

Food prep manager Kies Graham said that since the restaurant crafted its own menu and devised their own meals, they had more freedom with their offerings than chain restaurants, and River’s Edge was free to embrace Wheeling’s specialties.

“We can do a lot more different things, and we’ve got good specials and stuff daily. People always seem to like that we have the option to do things that aren’t on the menu,” Graham said. “Our coquille, that was from Ernie’s Esquire,” he added, referencing a restaurant which closed in 2005.

Showalter said some particular favorites were their lobster bisque, crab cakes and coquille. Graham personally recommended the coquille and crab cakes, and said he was partial to the fish.

In the coming weeks, Showalter said the restaurant would also be installing video lottery machines on the second floor, which should serve as an extra draw to the establishment.

“That’ll really open us up to letting us do a lot downstairs, too, because of the extra money coming in,” Graham said.

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