Two new locations giving East Maiden Street a culinary presence

Rick Shrum
Observer Reporter

Dining options are on the rise along East Maiden Street.

The June 8 reopening of Washington Brewing Co., following a 10-week shutdown, has been accompanied by the fairly recent launches of The Edge Restaurant & Lounge and Maiden Street Subs. The restaurant/bar, in South Strabane Township, and the sandwich shop, in Washington, are about three-quarters of a mile apart on Route 40.

The Edge opened first, on March 1, at 1081 E. Maiden. The owners, spouses Jim and Bernice Devenney, did not have to look far – literally – for inspiration when naming their cozy location. It is on the edge of Washington, next to the Habitat for Humanity ReStore.

“It took us a long time to come up with that,” said a smiling Bernice, who, like Jim, grew up in West Finley Township and graduated from McGuffey High School. They reside in North Franklin Township.

“We looked into having a restaurant when we were younger, but we weren’t financially able,” Jim said. “But we always thought about it. The last few years, we’ve been looking online and in the newspaper (for opportunities).”

They found one months ago, the site of the former Cheese’s House of Barbeque. The Devenneys closed on the sale in February and, following an intensive three-week cleanup and a few renovations, opened. They don’t serve pancakes in the Pancake section of the township, as theirs is a dinner location.

Edge Restaurant opens late afternoon or early evening six days a week. Hours are 5 to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. Friday; and 3 p.m. to 1 a.m. Saturday. Over time, the Devenneys, parents of three and grandparents of three, plan to add staff and expand hours to cover lunchtime.

Their game plan includes being open on Sundays during football season, with tailgate parties in the back parking lot, temporarily switching their off time to a weekday. And Over the Hump Wednesdays, featuring karaoke or a disc jockey, is on the radar.

Wings, ribs and chops headline a menu that also includes burgers, hoagies, catfish and fish and chips. There is a sirloin steak special that may become a regular on a menu that, Jim says, will evolve for a while.

He is retired from Chicago Bridge & Iron Co., a job that required travel. Bernice is a nurse with Advanced Surgical Hospital, near their home.

Slightly to the west, Justin McKeag is in charge of the subs site at 328 E. Maiden. He, too, is a first-time restaurant owner who launched his endeavor in late April, following a few modifications.

McKeag is maintaining a culinary tradition there. The space was previously occupied by Subs Unlimited, which Cindy Loughman owned and operated from 1989 until her death in mid-January. The shop, in a strip center anchored by Uni-Mart, is believed to have been a subs location dating to the 1970s.

“I’ve been coming here my whole life,” said McKeag, 31, who lives in the Lincoln Hill section of North Franklin Township. “We couldn’t let this close. To me, it would be like Shorty’s closing.”

Subs, burgers, salads and desserts dominate the menu.

He has a high regard for how Loughman ran it and, in many ways, is following her example. A framed testimonial to the previous owner hangs on one wall, and a number of the Subs Unlimited menu choices remain.

“Everything is made fresh here,” said Deanna Davis, the store manager from Wheeling, W.Va. “A lot of the sandwiches are the same (as offered in the previous shop), served on the same bread.”

“She was a great model,” McKeag said of Loughman. “We didn’t try to redo things. We felt there was already a dining feel.”

There have been changes, though, including the color scheme: turquoise on the lower halves of walls, tan above. Fabulous retro signs and photos – featuring the Beatles, James Dean and others – adorn the walls. The new owner is on the lookout for additional art.

One change that will change is the soup situation. Soups were a popular Subs Unlimited item, but currently are not available at the new shop. McKeag will add them. “A lot of people have been asking for soups,” he said. “And we’ll definitely do chili when it’s cooler.”

McKeag supervises a staff of nine, including his father, Edison. The two share a janitorial supplies packaging company in Wheeling.

Hours there are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.