Washington native launches Bacon, Bourbon & Beer

Rick Shrum
Observer Reporter

Shawn Janovich had owned a bar, but had never built one. So he underestimated the launch of Bacon, Bourbon & Beer.

Permitting, licensing, contracting, purchasing, construction and about 100 other variables take time and prevented him from opening the upscale restaurant last fall, as he initially hoped; last winter, his revised target; or this spring.

At 11 a.m. Friday, it finally happened: Janovich’s midsummer dream. Launch.

“I’m on the verge of doing exactly what I want to do,” he said Wednesday while supervising final preparations for Bacon, Bourbon & Beer.

BB & B is up and running – to Janovich’s relief. It is grilling, pouring and serving at Park Place at the Meadowlands, the evolving mixed-use complex near the intersection of Route 19 and Racetrack Road in North Strabane Township.

The chic dining destination sits in the middle of a three-tier project, behind and slightly above Park Place’s original structure, a BFS superstore, and down the hill from the apartment buildings and Planet Fitness being erected.

Signage out front features the letter B with a raised 3 – B cubed, for the mathematically challenged. The place is poised to live up to its name, as bacon is present on a number of menu selections, bourbon comes in 30 varieties and 28 beers are on tap.

“I’d like to eventually have 40 to 50 bourbons,” Janovich said. “The nation has a bourbon shortage right now.”

B3 does not have a shortage of space or seating, with 2,688 square feet inside and out and 109 chairs – 17 at the bar, 68 at tables and 24 in the patio. There are “about 15” employees at the moment, Janovich said, adding that he anticipates additions. “We need to grow.”

The inside is casual and classy, with subdued earth colors and wood, wood everywhere. Tables are tall and not so tall, depending on the preference, and the ornate bar is enhanced by brightly backlit bourbon bottles – that’s four Bs – on the back shelves.

BB & B is on the ground floor of a two-story structure, adjacent to Re/Max real estate offices and below Washington Health System Internal Medicine, a new tenant. B3’s patio is immediately to the right of the bar/dining room, and left of the patio of another restaurant, El Paso Mexican Grill.

Janovich and co-owner Will Wilson are running a seven-days-a-week operation, open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday, and 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Thursday through Saturday. Hours varied on opening weekend, 11 to 2 Friday and Saturday,

For Janovich, a Washington High School and West Virginia University graduate, it has been a long and winding road, but he has reached his coveted destination.

“This was my first opportunity to build something from scratch,” he said. “You have to take your bumps and bruises. When you learn to ride a bike, you skin your knees.”

The knees have healed, but fatigue likely is ahead for the owners. Getting this going will be labor intensive for the two-man leadership group.

“The first six months, I can’t envision not being here,” said Janovich, recalling 4 a.m. rides home from the small Pittsburgh South Side bar he owned for four years before selling several years back. “Sleep is the cost of running a business.”

His commute won’t be so bad, to and from Robinson Township, Allegheny County. “It’s about a 15-minute drive,” Janovich said. But he and his wife, Maria, have two school-age children Shawn will have to supervise getting onto the bus – daughter Ashley, 9, and son Eli, 6.

His drive isn’t as daunting as Wilson’s, though. He resides in Plum, an hour away in eastern-most Allegheny County.

Janovich is committed to this endeavor, having signed a 10-year lease with Park Place last summer. He is striving to make it a focal point of a complex being developed by Dave Biafora of Morgantown, W.Va.-based Metro Property Management.

Although alcohol dominates the bar/restaurant name and will attract customers, Janovich insists that quality food is a paramount at B3. He said none of it is frozen, that only ice cream and ice cubes for the bar are in the freezer, and that hamburger meat is being ground in-house.

The boss has been more than a satisfied customer thus far.

“I think our food is excellent. I’m not tired of eating it yet. I think we’ll have the best burger in town.”

If so, add a fourth B to the name.