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STRUTHERS New eatery to open



Published: Mon, August 6, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



The restaurant will serve a variety of cuisine from Mediterranean to Cajun.

By PAUL WHEATLEY

VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER

STRUTHERS -- A new restaurant is in line to replace the rowdy Blaze Bar & amp; Grille, closed since January.

A group of Mahoning Valley entrepreneurs and city officials are hoping the Blue Wolf Tavern, scheduled to open Aug. 14 at the site of the former Bridge Street bar, attracts customers looking for good food and drink -- rather than just drink.

David Thomas, 34, of Youngstown and Brant Newton, 34, and Joseph Rzonsa, 27, both of Boardman, met through various jobs at local restaurants. They decided to combine their skills to form the tavern, which will offer everything from Mediterranean to Cajun dishes.

"This town is ready for it," said Newton, who, along with his partners, recognized the need for diverse cuisine in the area.

Lots of hard work: But transforming a nightclub that attracted more than 40 police visits in six months last year into a family atmosphere took some elbow grease.

The trio has invested more than $30,000 renovating the building.

Newton said the carpet was riddled with cigarette burns and the building reeked of alcohol, mildew and urine.

"Basically, they didn't do upkeep or maintenance or anything," he said of the previous owners. "Some people came in and told us we'd never get the smell out of here."

The smell is gone. In its place are two pristine dining rooms with overall blue tones and decorated with the restaurant's signature wolves.

"It's a night-and-day change," said John Sveda, the city's public safety director. "It went, more or less, from a black hole to a palace."

wheatley@vindy.com




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