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Lost opportunities in Industry, Pennsylvania

On February 25, 2008

Last fall on a visit to western Pennsylvania, I stopped by a restaurant/bar called Bad Frogs on my way to my motel.  With a breathtaking view of the Ohio River (even if part of it included the industrial portion down river), I was looking forward to a good meal on the patio looking out to the river.

Boy, was I ever wrong.  The table was – as we say in the south – sticky dirty and our server gave new meaning to the word “ditzy”.  She didn’t know the available beers and still got them wrong after returning to the kitchen to ask what they were.  The meal – although reasonably priced – was awful.  I like regional takes on different dishes but if you are going to serve pink slaw, it better be damn good; it wasn’t.

Not far from where I sat, a small band was trying to set up for late night entertainment; unfortunately, the restaurant’s management had apparently not taken care of any of the technical support the band needed.  The band members left disgruntled while I was still eating.  I don’t know if they ever returned.

Bad Frogs

taken the morning after my disagreeable evening meal

Could there be a better setting for a restaurant?

the view up river from a portion of the Bad Frogs outdoor seating area

When I returned last week – mid February – the restaurant had closed, not a surprise at all but a great disappointment.  I had hoped that the owners would realize what a splendid location they had and give it the staff, presentation, food and drink that it deserved.  The restaurant building itself was formerly part of the lock and dam system on the river.  Combine the building’s story with its incredible view and the obvious sports fervor of the area and it should be possible to create a truly rocking blue collar sports bar with all kinds of links to lively entertainment and sporting events both on the tube and on the river.

Imagine working with the nearby Beaver County Rowing Association to have a race commencing at the restaurant; or televising baseball and football or enormous HDTV screens followed by a live band.  There aren’t any neighbors to complain about the noise and not only is there ample car parking, people could cruise in by boat.  Here’s hoping that someone with money, imagination, money, knowledge of running a restaurant, money and a better name (Bad Frogs??) will give this location the chance it deserves to become not just a successful sports bar but a needed employer in an economically depressed community.

Down the road the accomodations were just as bad as the dining was at Bad Frogs.  If I am going to a city to do something very specific – say Las Vegas to gamble – I like to stay in posh digs but when I am travelling to learn about the area, I always try to stay at inexpensive, local establishments.  Quite often these hotels, motels, B&Bs are gems of service with rooms sparked by individuality.  No such luck in Industry – I am in fact not even going to mention the name of the motel.  Unlike Bad Frogs, however, it was almost full on the evening I was there and the advertised smorgasbord was jammed pack with locals.  The same appeared to be true when I drove by it again in February.  While the room was agreeable, the service was downward hostile down to the small placards in the room announcing that if you stole anything the cost would be added to your bill.  Also, the advertised free Internet access applied to a small area in the very public and busy motel lobby.  I am glad the motel was there as it apparently served a need but I would sleep in my car before I would stay there again.

The same cannot be said of the restaurants, bars and B&B I visited on my second trek to the area.  In those establishments I am happy to report that I received not just good food and drink but estimable service as well.

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