Confectionery still local hub nearly 70 years after opening
FAIRMONT, W.Va. (AP) — The 8th Street Confectionery has been in place since the 1960s, originally starting out as a bar.
Mike Riggi had been around the restaurant since his parents bought the joint in 1962 when he was just about 5 years old.
“They bought the building in 1962 when it was a bar,” Riggi said. “They had pinball machines, jukeboxes, bowling I mean it was a full-blown bar. Then they progressed into the food industry and got out of the bar business basically.”
Riggi’s parents would turn the bar into a more family-style restaurant in 1973 and would run it as the 8th Street Confectionery for 20 years before Riggi himself would take up ownership. Now, he continues to run the business as its owner, continuing to cater to the local customers who have made the place what it is today.
“We’ve been running the business for 46 years,” he said. “The neat thing is that we’re getting grandkids of the people we had way back when, and they come in and say ‘I remember a lot of this.’”
The 8th Street Confectionery runs specials from brunch to dinner foods, making just about everything it serves in-house. According to Riggi, this home-style cooking is what makes the restaurant stand out, as the tastes it cooks up won’t be found anywhere else.
“We make our own sauces, grind our own pork, cut our own beef,” Riggi said. “About 95 percent in house, a couple of things we buy, cottage cheese, potato salad.
“Being how we are out of the way, we just try to give people something they just can’t get anywhere else.”
Daily specials are some of the main draws to the restaurant, with each day marked by a different meal. Some of the main draws include the confectionery’s meatloaf, hoagies and sandwiches and its barbecue ribs, but according to Riggi, it is Friday’s special of stuffed peppers which are the restaurant’s biggest hit.
“Peppers and potatoes are kind of our calling card,” Riggi said. “The home fries are a big deal, we probably average 50 pounds of potatoes a day.”
On an average Friday at the Fairmont restaurant, Riggi and his staff of mostly longtime servers and cooks serve and chat with those coming in for a bite. Many are on a first-name basis, as the people who visit have been regulars for years.
“We’ve been very blessed,” Riggi said. “If it wasn’t for our repeat customers — you can see where we are — we’re not getting the interstate traffic, we depend on the local people who support us, and they do.”
The restaurant itself has been consistent for its entire lifespan, as the front counter still resembles the look of the 60s bar it began with. Decorations have been in place for years, and the newest visual additions are in the form of photographs posted to the bulletin board.
“We were going to change the decor, but people just like it the way it is,” Riggi explained. “It’s there to take you back in time.”
For Riggi, having the reigns of a long-running family owned restaurant puts him in an enjoyable career spot, as work for him allows him to catch up with people who are like family every day.
“As long as people are happy with what we’re doing, we’ll do the same thing,” he said. “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.”
The 8th Street Confectionery is open from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Friday and is located at 301 8th Street in Fairmont. The restaurant takes orders for pickup or take-out at 304-363-9503, and more information can be found on its Facebook page.
Information from: Times West Virginian, http://www.timeswv.com