The freshly popped popcorn on the tables, the chicken wings and the fish sandwiches are just a few of the items regulars of the Frosted Mug in Cheswick will miss once it closes.
Karen Black, 62, said the bar and restaurant will close its doors and she will retire later this summer after running it for 22 years.
She and her late brother, Billy Barker, took over the business in 1997 from their sister, Linda Kephart, who had become ill and died a short time later. She had owned it since 1985.
“Our intention was to sell it in a few years,” Black said. “Owning a restaurant was not on my bucket list.”
After countless long nights, worked holidays and the loss of her brother in 2016, Black has decided to hang up her apron for good.
“I feel bad. I do feel bad,” she said. “But I just can’t do it anymore.”
She’s sold the building to Oak’s Auto and Truck Service located right next door. A message left for Oak’s wasn’t returned .
An exact closing day hasn’t been decided , but Black said anyone hoping to have one last meal, beer or one of their famous mojitos, should stop in as soon as possible.
Black’s daughter, Kristie Guzik, and the late Barker’s son, Billy Barker III, both got their first jobs at the restaurant. Both celebrated their 21st birthdays there.
“I got my first drink from my grandma,” Barker said.
Guzik said she’s spent the majority of her life there.
“We grew up here,” she said. “I’ve been here since I was 7.”
Through all of the long shifts, Black’s husband, Dave Black, was there for support. The couple even met at the restaurant.
“I’ve never seen anyone so dedicated as Karen,” he said.
The Frosted Mug has been the gathering place for many of life’s celebrations, including birthdays, anniversaries and a meeting place for sports teams and organizations.
Suzanne and Frank DePoli have frequented the Frosted Mug for nearly 40 years. From having dinner after their bowling league games 30 years ago to bringing their grandchildren now, the couple has tried just about everything on the menu. They’ve never been disappointed.
“I don’t know if I’ve ever had a bad meal here,” Frank DePoli said.
The couple hatched the idea for the Springdale High School Alumni Association, which would go on to host all-class reunions and donate scholarships to graduates, as they were sitting in the Frosted Mug.
“They’ve always donated whatever we need,” Suzanne DePoli said.
The couple said they will miss coming to the Frosted Mug and seeing Black and all of the other regulars.
“It’s like being at Cheers,” Suzanne DePoli said. “Everybody knows your name.”