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County restaurants could be great again

March 13, 2011
Morning Journal News

A few years back, Columbiana County was known for being the host to several "destination" restaurants -meaning that people outside of our area would travel here just to eat at those dining establishments.

Unfortunately, two of those renowned eateries - the Timberlanes in Salem and Lock 24 (later Patrick's Chop House) in Elkton -fell upon hard times and closed.

Now, it appears that both restaurants may be getting new life.

Timberlanes and its adjoining 60-room motel closed in January 2009 after being in business since 1962. The restaurant/motel employed up to 75 people at one time and still had 35 workers when it closed. The restaurant was purchased at Tuesday's foreclosure sale by Carl G. Baker of Unique Ventures Group, which held the mortgage. Unique Ventures was the only bidder and purchased Timberlanes for $673,333, the minimum required bid. It was appraised at slightly more than $1 million.

Baker said he plans to convert the restaurant portion of Timberlanes to a Perkins Restaurant, but he declined to say whether the operations would include reopening the motel or bar portion of the complex. The liquor license goes with the restaurant. Baker said complete plans for Timberlanes would be revealed in a future news release.

Meanwhile, the former Lock 24, was sold by Huntington National Bank prior to the sheriff's auction Tuesday to Randel Perrino, Ganders Flat Road, Lisbon, for $175,000. Perrino was asked about his plans for the building, but he declined to reveal them at this time.

Lock 24, located in a barn built in the 1830s, was operated as a fine-dining restaurant by the Pugh family for more than 20 years until it was sold in the 1990s. It changed hands and names two more times after that, with the most recent being Patrick's Chop House, which closed in 2007 following owner/operator Patrick Chrystal's tragic death in a traffic accident.

While we still have many good restaurants in our county that we locals patronize, and a couple that remain destination eateries, Columbiana County needs to get back on the map as the host of several great place to eat for the rest of the area.

We wish both of these buyers luck in their new endeavors and hope these restaurants will be returned to their former glory. We miss those special dining facilities and the county misses the revenue received from those diners who made these restaurants their destinations.



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