YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – A longtime fixture on Youngstown’s south side will be closing its doors for good on Saturday.
The Boulevard Tavern on Southern Boulevard is one of the oldest bars and restaurants in the city. Fewer people have been showing up and the owners said it is no longer profitable to keep it open.
The restaurant’s parking lot was filled on Friday night, with people streaming out of the front door having said goodbye to an old friend.
It is an end of an era. The Boulevard has graced the corner of Southern Boulevard and East Ravenwood Avenue since 1926.
The Petrella family owned it through most of the years. More than once, WYTV 33 News anchor Stan Boney sat down with Nick Petrella to talk about the the business and the neighborhood.
“My memories of the neighborhood, all the houses were clean, the grasses were all green, flowers planted. We don’t have that anymore,” Petrella said in a 2011 interview.
In April 2012, Nick Petrella died and the Boulevard Tavern was sold.
The new owner did not want our news crew inside, but he did confirm that the lack of business has forced the eatery to close. Boney talked with the parking attendant, who said after working there for eight years, he has noticed a decrease in business.
“I have been here through three different owners, the original owner, Nick Petrella, and now I have been moving onto the two Pasquelle brothers and there has been a noticeable decrease,” Kevin Kostelic said.
Many of the people leaving Friday night were disappointed. One woman marked the decades through her times at the Boulevard, which has been in business for 89 years.
“I am very sad. My kids were here in high chairs. My kids were here when I was pregnant with them. We came here for fish all the time. And my oldest is 33 now and it was a tradition long before that, so very sad,” Anne Davie of Austintown said.
The Boulevard was best known for its fish, but there was also a good spaghetti sauce, and the camaraderie of the people who have been coming there for their whole lives.
The one owner Stan Boney talked with Friday night blamed the media a little bit for portraying the neighborhood around the Boulevard as dangerous. He said he has never had a problem there.
When our news crew showed up Friday night, they had already run out of food because there were so many people there. The owner was not even sure if there was anything left to open again on Saturday.