The Charred Paddock restaurant ready to pick up where former Paddock left off in Harrison |
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The Charred Paddock in Harrison is located in the former Paddock Bar and Grill. Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2018.

There’s a new place to chow down and drink up in Harrison.

The Charred Paddock opened Nov. 23 in the same location that once housed the popular Paddock Bar and Grill, which burned down close to a decade ago in a suspicious fire.

“I used to drink at the Paddock,” said new co-owner Ron “Smoothie” Cheesman. “Now, I basically bought five walls and a roof with a lot of holes in it.”

The sale price was $100,000 six years ago when Cheesman bought the building — what was left of it.

It took a complete rebuild of the 2,750-square-foot space.

“We expanded the bar area. It’s much bigger,” Cheesman said.

The equestrian theme remains, and the new name is a play on the original.

New to the food and beverage industry, this is Cheesman’s first time as restaurant owner.

“I was here the night the Paddock burned down,” Cheesman said. “It was really foggy that night. I used to hang out there a lot.”

Steaks, freshly ground Angus burgers, pasta, seafood, salads and daily homemade French onion soup, pulled pork and ribs are just a sampling of the choices on the extensive American fare menu.

Entree prices range from $10 to $24.

“Our burgers are big — 10 ounces — and the customers are loving them,” manager Jackie Gaughan said.

Chef Gabriel Pawloski owns Gabriel’s Gardens, a produce farm, and brings more than 20 years of culinary experience to the Charred kitchen.

Appetizer offerings include choices such as fried oysters, Ahi tuna, fried pickles, steak bites and Chipotle shrimp.

The bar, separated from the private dining area, features a large, U-shaped bar with multiple mounted televisions.

Families are welcomed and a priority, Gaughan said. All kids’ meals are $5.

“We plan to have themed events here for the kids, like a build-your-own pizza, craft day and a lemonade mixer,” Gaughan said.

A Santa Breakfast is scheduled from 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday. The cost is $5 for kids, $8 for adults.

“We love this community. We sought input via social media from the public in planning our menu,” Gaughan said. “We have also partnered with local breweries and wineries.”

The original Paddock Bar and Grill dated to the 1950s, serving pasta and steak as specialties, Cheesman said.

Allison Schaltenbrand, 35, of Allegheny Township dined weekly at the old Paddock with her family.

“They had a big booth we would jam into and I remember after the fire it was sad to drive past there, with so many memories, and my grandmother loved their spaghetti sauce.”

Schaltenbrand recently returned for the soft opening at Charred and is thrilled to return to her childhood haunt, especially since some original menu entrees remain.

Several dishes from Paddock’s original menu are on the new menu: antipasto, capicola and provolone, linguine in clam sauce and homemade pasta sauce.

“The old Paddock was really dark, now it’s a lot brighter, with windows and is a lot more open. I was looking for the antipasta salad — that is the one thing we missed — and it’s back on the menu. The new Charred Paddock is a great addition to the community. It’s updated, but has the nostalgia everyone remembers.”

Holiday charity

Customers are encouraged drop off any unwrapped toys for children ages 1 to 18 during business hours during their holiday toy drive benefiting three local families.

“We are proud to sponsor this,” Gaughan said, “and giving back and partnering with the local community is a priority here at Charred Paddock.”

Joyce Hanz is a freelance writer.

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