The Tavern on the Square

A blog that comes from the heart of a wonderful little restaurant in a beautiful little town of New Wilmington, Pennsylvania. 724-946-2020 We are a Casual Fine Dining Establishment with amazing food, reasonable prices, great service in a delightful atmosphere. Come visit us soon.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Dick Whittaker

He's one of my Heroes. He may be a little upset that I'm even posting his name on my blog, because he is a humble man who does not seek recognition. I'd like to tell you about Mr. Whittaker, and why he's one of my heroes.
When Joe and I bought the Tavern, we knew it would take a lot of money to get it going. It's a very old building and it needed lots of TLC. We did our homework. We met with a business consultant. We met with accountants and we did a lot of figuring. As I've told you so many times before, Joe is not a risk taker, so this was something that he thought a lot about, before he said yes. He wanted to make sure we would have enough.
I just knew that God would provide for us.
But when we got in here..even more things needed replaced then we thought. We'd truly take two steps forward and one step back. Our money started pouring out..and Joe started to get very scared that we wouldn't even be able to open.
But, I had Faith in God. I knew that He would provide for us.
One thing that went wrong was the fire suppression system above the cooking area. We had no clue that the one there was outdated. We got it inspected and they said it would cost 3000 dollars to replace. Joe truly was beginning to panic.
I knew God would provide for us.
I wrote a little note on my blog, asking if anyone knew of anyone that put in fire suppresion systems..I told the story about it being an expense we hadn't planned on etc..
Dick Whittaker wrote me an email.
I will never forget reading that email.
Joe and I had been working for a month..18 hour days, cleaning and fixing this place. My sister Dianna came to help us out for a week. So the three of us were cleaning and I took a break to go online and check my email.
I was in the kitchen of the Tavern and I fell to my knees. Joe came running over to see what happened and i was on the floor crying and praising God.
Dick wrote an email that said, you don't know me, but I'd like to give you the money for your fire supression system. Just send me the bill.
I'm telling you the truth. That is GOD. That is how Jesus Christ works. We are His body and we are to do all we can for Him. Dick was being like Jesus.
I was surprised, but yet i wasn't because God has done that so many times in my life. I am faithful and He has provided. He has been so good to me, I can't even begin to express my gratitude. He has showered me with love.
So Dick came to the Tavern and we got to sit down and talk to him and his beautiful wife Jean. I felt an instant connection. Like..God wants us to be a part of each other's lives. I knew it was going to be more than Dick giving us a gift.
I instantly liked the Whittakers and I loved the way Dick's mind worked!.
We began to correspond and I began to realize that Dick is so very intelligent. He is a visionary, like me. He is an inventor and a business man, but he is so much more than that. He is God's son. He loves Jesus. He wrote a book, entitled "One day at a time." "All things are possible with God" It's a devotional book. Dick gave me a handfull of copies and I couldn't believe that He wrote and published his own book too! You see, God's not done with Dick yet. Dick has been God's vessel and even though Dick is in his seventies, God is still using him. That is what makes Dick one of my heroes. He's kind and loving and so very smart and he's well travelled and teaches me so many things! He is full of great ideas!
Isn't that amazing? He is truly amazing. I have grown so fond of the Whittakers. I know that God has brought them into my life, to fulfill something that is missing in me. My dad passed away three years ago, and I am missing his love very much. I am missing that person who believed in me..that encouraged me, that told me how proud he was of me. I don't have that anymore.
Dick encourages me.
I love you Dick and Jean. Thank you for being so kind to me. Thank you for visiting and encouraging me. Dick, I want to help you get your book in as many hands as possible. With God, ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE! : )

Sunday, April 19, 2009

My girls!

Sunday has always been our family day. When we owned the Neshannock Creek Inn Restaurant in Volant, Joe and I always took Sundays off. We went to church and then came home and made a big breakfast,then lounged around the house or did something fun. We needed that time together as a family. Even now, we've shortened Sundays at the Tavern (close at 5:00) and Joe and I both duck out as early as we can, to be together with our girls!
I was a stay at home mom until my girls were both in school and even then, I only worked while the kids were at school. I'd rush from the restaurant at 2:30 and drive to New Castle to pick them up at the Christian Academy.
Even now, I do my best to take a break from the restaurant, when they come home from school, to have dinner with them and talk to them about their day.
I would give up all I have (except for Jesus) just to be their mom!
Today, we took the girls shopping and out to dinner. It was our family time.
The first half hour was spent arguing (Which is very typical of two teenage girls in a car with their parents) but like it always does.. the arguing stopped and soon each one of them begin to talk about their life..and they ask questions..and they make observances..and..well they just share..and they spill..and they..oh how can I explain it? They need us..and I can tell that they do! They need that time with their parents. They need to talk and they need for us to compliment them and say how proud of them we are, and for us to just love on them. They need our time..they need our words and they need us! My kids will tell you that they also need boundaries and disciplined. Honestly..they will tell you that. They know..they know it's important. They like having those boundaries and they like that I make them respect me. (they don't always do it, believe me, but they like that I dont' let them get away with it most of the time.)
Well tonight, after our day together, we were driving back home and we were all listening to music and not talking so much and Ally said this... "Mom, when I grow up, I think I'm going to be exactly like you. I mean..I hope I'm exactly like you..the way you are with people...and the way you are with us..the kind of mom you are." She said, "Mom, I love the way you are with us. I can honestly say there's nothing I would change about the way you parent me." She continued, "I want to be just like you mom." Then Lauren chimed in and said, "It's true mom. I love the way you are too."
Ally is 17. Lauren is 15
And ..My gosh I am gushing tears as I write this...I am so far from perfect. I mean, I have been working way too much..and I am so unorganized and I am not the type of mom who does a lot of different activities with their kids..and when Ally works for me at the restaurant, I scold her way too much..and Lauren gets so mad at me sometimes.. and Oh geez.. But they love me and told me that I'm their hero. Wow.

I am blessed beyond words. Thank you Father God for the love that you give me..that you pour into me so fully, that it spills out all over people..especially to my daughters. Thank you, because what they feel from me YOUR love. I love them unconditionally and they know that. I love them and respect them for who YOU made them to be..not for who I want them to be. Oh Father, I love my girls!
In Jesus's beautiful name, I pray that you keep them safe and healthy and draw them to you! Your daughter, Susan L.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Looking for a few good men..and women..!!

Hello Tavern Family and Friends!

Joe and I have a favor to ask of you! I know we couldn't do this just anywhere..but this is New Wilmington, and we are an amazing community!!!
Because the Tavern is housed in such an old building, there are many things that have needed repaired and continue to need fixed and repaired! We knew, when we bought this place that the Lord would provide for all our needs and He has!! One of the ways He's shown our love to us, is through YOU! You, who have prayed, encouraged, supported us in so many ways! : )
I am asking for a favor, and it won't cost you any money, but it will cost you some time! We need the Tavern fence painted! It's a very big fence and it needs white washed! We could hire someone to do it, but because so many things have needed repaired and cost money, we are trying to conserve as much as we can, so we can make sure our restaurant survives!
You don't have to be a professional painter, you just need to put on some old clothes and show up! We'll provide the paint! (if you have paint brushes you could provide that would also help out!!) We have set a date and a time, and that will be next Saturday, April 25th @ 9:00 am! We will even provide refreshments for you!! You can come as a family, or a group or just individually! It can be a fun project to do together! If you know of anyone that could help, would you please forward this to them in an email! The more people we have helping, the less time it will take to get the job done!
If you are interested in helping us out, please send me an email at My family would appreciated any help we can get!
Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!! We love you all so very much! Susan

Book Club! Anyone Interested?

I have decided on our first book for the Tavern Book Club! It is called "The Shack" and was written by William Young. I first heard of this book from The Ayers family. Becky told me how much her dad loved the book and talked about the freedom he found through it. After Rob Ayers died, I received a copy of "The Shack" in the mail, along with a note from Rob's family. After talking to Joyce, I found out that Rob's family mailed (at last count) 400 of these books out to friends and family. What a wonderful testimony and witness to Rob's faith!
The Shack is a book that will stir your heart and touch your soul! It is the kind of book that you want to read more than once because there's sooooo much to think about! It's like taking a bite of your favorite dessert after fasting for a month! The first bite you hardly chew, it's so good, but the second bite you eat more slowly and savor it. MMMMM That' show I feel about "The Shack"! It's so wonderful!
Now..I am really, REALLY excited to start this book club! We are going to meet, one night of the week, (probably around 7:00 pm) in the Library at the Tavern! I am going to make a few posters to hang up and see how many responses we get! When we get a good group together, we will begin!
So, I need to know.. Who is interested? Would you like to read this book and then discuss it in a group setting, with some great people? We'll provide refreshments (STICKY BUNS!!!!!!) if you come!
Just send me an email ( if you are interested!
Enjoy the Sunshine today! It's so beautiful! Susan

St. Francis Nurses!

Last night we hosted a group of retired nurses at the Tavern. They were such a sweet group of women. Thank you ladies for having your get together at the Tavern! I hope you enjoyed your dinners. It was such a pleasure to serve you. Susan

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Hello Tavern friends!

There is so much to tell you I don't know where to begin! I wanted to post pictures of all the wonderful events that have gone on in the Tavern this week but I can not even find the time to do that. I need an official Tavern photographer and blogger to document all that should be documented and posted to the web!
*sigh* If only I had more time to do all that I want to do! Does anybody else feel that way? There is not enough time in my day.
This week we hosted four reunions and I was involved with one of them! : )
Some girl friends from the WAHS class of 1983 met up at the Tavern and we had such a wonderful time together.
The girls from the WAHS class of 1984 got together the previous week and it was so much fun to hear them talk and laugh!
Yesterday, the girls of the WAHS class of 1980 met for lunch! They were equally fun to watch!
Today we hosted a reunion of friends from the class of 1946! WOW! That was really wonderful to see.

This week we also got to meet a family who's great grandparents were the inventors of AUSTIN cleaning products! They are from Pittsburgh. They told me the story of how their great grandparents cut a hole in the kitchen floor that went to their dirt cellar! They would cook the carpet cleaning recipe on their stove and run a hose from the pot, through the hole in the kitchen floor, to the basement where there would be mason jars. They would fill up each mason jar with the detergent. Their grandmother's job was to lick the labels to put on the mason jars! WOW! What a fantastic story! They are such a wonderful family,it was such a pleasure to hear their story and to get to meet them!
I also got to meet Alice who is an 89 year old woman that has sky dived 5 times!! She is trying to make it into the guiness book of world records as the oldest sky diver! She said there is a 90 year old nun who beat her out! She said that nun has to get back in the convent and stay there! Alice is a BEAUTIFUl 89 year old woman that is as spry as anyone I've ever met at that age! She is such a pepper!
She was part of a red hat ladies group that met at the Tavern! They were so much fun to serve!
I also got to sing happy birthday, give out many hugs, listen to many, MANY stories and memories about the Tavern!

I got to shake hands and hold a few...
I got to host an engagement party for the HARTWELL family! (I'm supposed to post those pictures too... I will try to do that soon!) Renee, you blessed me with your cheerfulness and kindness! Thank you so much for the roses! : ) They were beautiful, my new friend!
It's been a wonderful week so far...
I love my job! I love this restaurant! I love all of YOU! Thank you for your support, love and encouragement! I hope you are filled with joy, Susan

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Tavern Gang wishes you a beautiful Easter!

May your baskets be filled with wonderful things!
May your hearts be filled with love.
May your bellies be filled with good food.
May you be surrounded by friends and family.
May the love of Jesus rock your world!
We love you! Thanks for your support
The Gang!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Happy Easter!!

A woman who didn't ask for a child, was given one.
She loved him fiercely.
He grew up blameless and pure.
Sinless (can you even imagine..not one single sin)
How beautiful, how wonderful, how amazing He was.
If you are a mother...or much do you love your children?
Well just imagine how God loved His Son..
Imagine how much Mary loved her son..
If you are a friend..
Imagine how much His disciples loved Him..

Now imagine..Your Child..or your friend..imagine the person you love most in this world..

Giving up their life to die for you. Put a face on it..someone you know..make it real.
Imagine someone you love the most saying.. "I'm going to be beaten, whipped, tortured, spit at, denied..all for you." I'm going to suffer, nails put through my limbs and hung on wooden boards...for you"
You wouldn't let them do it..would you?
"'d scream" "I'm not worth it" "Don't do it..don't do it for me! Who am I? I'm nobody, I'm dirty..I'm not good enough..definitely not good enough for somebody to go through all that..for me!"

Jesus, was a real man. He was somebody's son. He had friends. He was a brother.
He thought they were all worth dying for. But not just them... He thought YOU were worth dying for. He didn't even know you...but He loved you so much that He was willing to do that, sacrificially...for YOU.
Not just me..
not just that Christian that you know..
FOR YOU!!!!!

It's okay..He chose to do it. He loves you..He really does..He loves you that much.
Isn't it Amazing. That somebody loves us that much.
God does.
Really..He does.
So does His Son, Jesus.
He died for you.

And he rose from the dead, and is alive today. All you have to do is to invite Him into your heart..You have a door to your heart, and He is outside waiting to be invited in. Just open it. Just say Lord, if you're there, come in, live inside of me, forgive me for sinning Lord, forgive all the wrongdoings I've ever done, and come and live in me.

It's easy. Don't be afraid. God loves YOU sooooo very much!

I love you too : ) Because Jesus does and I so want to be like Jesus.

Happy Easter everyone! May you feel His love! Susan L. Hougelman

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Some letters from happy customers : )

Wow! What a wonderful meal my husband and I had at the tavern tonight! We felt like we were sitting in our own home, dining with our family. Everyone was so friendly and the dinner was sooooooooo good. We actually booked 2 Christmas parties while we were there. We're so happy the Tavern reopened and we now have a new place to go. Congratulations & best of everything in your new venture, Jody & Bruce Clingan, Tanglewood Golf Course

Had the great fortune to dine at The Tavern last night. It was my mother's 83rd birthday and she lives at Shenango On The Green. Because she is somewhat frail, we did not want to travel far with her and so opted for dinner at your restaurant. We did not have a reservation and you were exceptionally busy, but you found a table for us. I am so glad. My husband and I live in Pittsburgh and dine out often, but I can truly say that last night's meal was one of the finest I have had in ages. Each of us had a different entree and they were all delicious. Everything was yummy from the soup to the dessert. I know that we will back often in the future when we visit Mom. Keep up the scrumptious work!

Donna McNeish

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Alex the April Fool..ooops I mean Alex and the April Fool!

Alex Hines is one of the servers here at the Tavern. He just graduated from Westminster College, majoring in Broadcast Communications. He wants to be a news anchor. For now he is a server. He is a WONDERFUL server! He has excellent people skills, especially with older people. I watch him talk to customers and he truly is a sweet and kind man.
Yesterday,I wanted to take the afternoon off of work, so I could clean and organize my husband's office. I haven't had a true day off since we opened, and I was looking forward to having the time away.
Alex called me on the phone around 10:20 am, ten minutes before he was due to work and said that he couldn't make it in today. He said he was having problems at home. That concerned me. I began to worry that something horrible was going on with him, and I also was disappointed that I couldn't get my much needed day off..
Then Alex laughed and uttered the ole' April Fools, I'm on my way to work'
Uhhhhh...Lots of laughter ensued and I said, "You got me!" He was so happy and I was so happy that he really wasn't calling off!
If you come to the Tavern and happen to get Alex as your server, you will be treated with love and kindness guaranteed! He's not a professional waiter, but he will do his best to make sure you have a good experience!