Archive

Coal Center’s High Point restaurant for sale as owners ease into retirement | TribLIVE.com
News

Coal Center’s High Point restaurant for sale as owners ease into retirement

Mary Pickels
gtrmvhighpoint1112314
Evan Sanders | Trib Total Media
Bob Sepesy (left) and his wife, Loretta, stand on the outside deck at their restaurant, High Point restaurant in Coal Center, which they bought almost 30 years ago. The restaurant is popular with locals and with students/families from Cal U. Known best for its stunning view atop of Route 88, looking down on the Monongahela River. Sepesy and his wife want to retire and are selling the restaurant.

Bob Sepesy gazed out the windows of his High Point Restaurant and Lounge, overlooking the Monongahela River, the Fayette County borough of Newell and California University of Pennsylvania.

“If Norman Rockwell lived here, this is what he would have painted,” he said.

The Coal Center restaurant’s dining room, bar and deck all look out over what many visitors call a “million dollar view.”

Now that view, and eight acres of property, including the business, is for sale.

Sepesy, 69, and his wife, Loretta, 67, who reside in California, are easing into retirement.

A few months ago the couple listed the property for $1.5 million.

“We aren’t closing. I enjoy it. I love this place. I’m sad. I’m happy to move on with my life. I still have the passion. I don’t have the energy,” he said, laughing.

Sepesy defies his own proclamation, taking visitors on a tour and greeting arriving employees and guests. In his spare time, he pilots his own plane and shoots aerial photography.

He and his brother, Joe, operated Sepesy’s Tavern in California from 1967 until 1984, taking over a business their father owned since 1948.

“I always had my eye on High Point,” he said.

They purchased the property in 1986.

“I know construction. I was ripping and tearing and doing different things I could do without spending a lot of money at first. Looking back, I wonder how I did it,” Sepesy said.

About 10 years ago, he added the deck, popular with diners and where he often cooks in warm weather.

“What you see right here is what I envisioned,” he said.

The couple concentrated on the restaurant end, with food sales representing about 80 percent of their business.

“I was an Army cook. I’ll put my food up against anyone,” Sepesy said.

The restaurant is well-known for its homemade sausages and deep-fried pickle spears, an appetizer Loretta Sepesy discovered while visiting relatives in Mississippi.

“We made those and that’s history. We buy tubs of pickles,” Sepesy said.

The site originally was a roadhouse and service station, he said, pointing out framed photos on the dining room’s walls.

One photo shows the Jumonville Cross, a picture Sepesy hung after customers repeatedly asked about the famous Fayette County landmark, sometimes visible on a clear day. Also framed is a poster from the 1983 film “Maria’s Lovers.” Much of the movie, starring Nastassja Kinski and John Savage, was shot at the restaurant.

The couple’s five children and several of their 11 grandchildren have worked at the business over the years.

“They will all roll up their sleeves and pitch in. It’s been a family adventure,” Sepesy said.

The couple is looking forward to some time off together, he said.

“If you own a business, especially this type of business, you are married to it,” Sepesy said.

Over the years, he said, they have hired many area high school and college students, and have supported their community through various fundraisers.

“If it’s a good cause, we are there,” he said.

A local history aficionado, Sepesy enjoys sharing stories of the region’s ties to the Industrial Revolution, its coal mining and river barge lore.

Clearly a “people” person, Sepesy said he has mixed emotions about selling the business. “I’m satisfied. We were successful. We raised a family. … You know what wealth is? It’s your grandchildren, your family,” he said.

Mary Pickels is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-5401 or [email protected].

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.