THIS AND THAT: John Heaphy’s announcement that he’s opening a Beer Barrel Pizza & Grill at Easton in Columbus shows you just how far he’s come from the days of selling homemade meatball sandwiches at the Allen County Fair some 40 years ago.
It is a testament of hard work, perseverance and, most of all, a love for the restaurant business.
It’s also having the knowledge of knowing what works, when to stick with it, and when to tweak it.
Even more so, it’s working more nights, weekends, mornings and afternoons than one cares to remember.
The Easton location at 3913 Morse Crossing gives Heaphy a restaurant at an upscale shopping center that is a destination point for shoppers from all four corners of Ohio. People come here with credit cards looking to be scanned.
Beer Barrel opened in Lima in 1965 during the city’s manufacturing glory days. Heaphy and his wife, Aimee, bought it in 2006, revived it and expanded it. Their Good Foods restaurant company now owns seven Beer Barrels, six Happy Daz restaurants and the Old City Prime fine dining steakhouse.
FOLKLORE: Some great folklore from around the region was recalled in The Lima News on Sunday.
The Best of Region section noted Millie’s Cafe in Ottoville was the first nightclub in Putnam County. The cafe was founded by Millie Niedecken in 1934 out of the first floor of her home.
A editorial page column by Clarence Page pointed out the first recorded auto accident in history occurred in Ohio City in Van Wert County in 1891. It involved only one car, a single-cylinder gasoline-powered “horseless carriage” driven by inventor James William Lambert. It collided with a tree root, careened out of control and smashed into a hitching post.
My favorite piece of local lore wasn’t mentioned. It involved Babe Ruth’s barn-storming trip to Lima on Oct. 14, 1927. Ruth hit a home run over the center field fence at Murphy Park that landed on a passing freight train on the B&O railroad. The ball traveled 150 miles before the train stopped, with local fans arguing that since the ball traveled further than any other home run, it was the longest home run ever hit.
HUNGRY BUNNY: Reporter Sam Shriver is very proud of his 2006 powder blue Mustang. He’ll tell you, “It only had 16,000 miles on it when I bought it and has just 23,000 now.”
Not only does Shriver love the car, but so does a bunny that’s been hanging around the newspaper’s parking lot.
The other night Shriver was ready to leave work when his car wouldn’t shift into gear. He had it towed to a repair shop, where a mechanic informed him a rodent (aka rabbit) made a meal of some of his wiring.
The critters like those soy-based wire coverings, the mechanic told Shriver.
ROSES AND THORNS: It’s one for the history books in the rose garden.
Rose: To Pat Smith, who retired Thursday after giving the region 18 great years as director of the Allen County Museum.
Rose: To Josh Kuhlman. The 17-year-old from Shawnee won his second straight Kewpee/Lima YMCA Triathlon. He finished the 500-yard swim, 15-mile bike ride and 5-K run in just over an hour and 10 minutes.
Rose: The Bradfield Community Center will be hosting the first “Balling with Badges,” a basketball game between local youth and police on Aug. 9.
Rose:To Elia Lopez, who will be leaving Lima as plant manager on Oct. 1. for a new role with the company. She was very involved with the community during her four years in Lima.
Thorn: To the dodge ball played by U.S. Rep. Bob Latta, R-Bowling Green, when asked about supporting Jim Jordan’s bid for Speaker of the House. He wouldn’t take a position, saying he was too busy crafting legislation. Latta is one of Jordan’s district neighbors.
Thorn: For some in the region, riding their bicycles against traffic has become commonplace, which has been compared to skydiving without a parachute — not a best practice.
PARTING SHOT: A diplomat is someone who can tell you “where to go” in such a way that you will look forward to the trip.
Jim Krumel is the editor of The Lima News. Contact him at 567-242-0391 or at The Lima News, 3515 Elida Road, Lima, Ohio 45807.