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Locking in tradition



Published: Sat, February 5, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



The restaurant owner said he has a 'passion' for his business.

ELKTON -- The Crystal family, which operates a restaurant on Youngstown's West Side, is expanding into Columbiana County.

Pat and Sandra Crystal and their 26-year-old son, Patrick, have purchased the Lock 24 Restaurant, a landmark on state Route 154 in Elkton. The restaurant, which was purchased for $317,000, has been renamed Patrick's Chop House at Lock 24.

Patrick Crystal worked and studied culinary arts and management in Providence, R.I., before returning to the area. He earned an associate degree in culinary arts and a bachelor's degree in management from Johnson-Wales University in Providence.

Lock 24 has changed ownership several times in past years. The last owner of the restaurant, Ruth Wilkinson of Columbiana, invested $1.2 million in the remodeling and renovation of the building.

Wilkinson, who purchased the restaurant, located on a 2 1/2-acre site in 2003, closed the scenic eating establishment in March 2004 stating she wanted to retire and travel.

Move with a purpose

Patrick Crystal said he actually came back to the area with his wife, Cameron, and their two-year old daughter, MacKenzie, to open a restaurant in Youngstown.

Crystal explained he was going to various auctions in the area to purchase restaurant equipment and furniture for such a business, but surprisingly ended up buying Lock 24.

"It was a fluke -- it just happened. I went to the auction, and we just bought it," he said.

He said the new restaurant will be upscale, but comfortable, specializing in larger cuts of steak, seafood as well as pasta and appetizers.

Crystal said seafood will have a special emphasis on the menu because he spent so much time in Rhode Island near the water.

The restaurant will reflect a rustic atmosphere with diners feeling as if they are in a winery, he said. Prices for entrees will range from $7 to $32.

The bar will have an Irish pub look and will be equipped with a high-tech sound system.

Crystal said he will take advantage of the amenities that are on and around the property, such as the covered bridge with its quaint benches.

Special events

The restaurant plans to have wine tastes and special events that take place every month.

Crystal said the philosophy is simple, "We want to be a restaurant that serves alcohol, not a bar that serves food."

Patrick Crystal emphasized that he has a passion for what he does, and said he learned the business at a young age at the Open Hearth Grille on Steel Street on Youngstown's West Side; the grille is owned by his father.

The restaurant is expected to open Feb. 17, his 27th birthday.




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