The Tavern on the Square

A blog that comes from the heart of a wonderful little restaurant in a beautiful little town of New Wilmington, Pennsylvania. 724-946-2020 We are a Casual Fine Dining Establishment with amazing food, reasonable prices, great service in a delightful atmosphere. Come visit us soon.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Today is our closing!!!

Jesus Christ, I give you the Glory and Honor and Praise for allowing us to purchase this beautiful restaurant! Father, all that we do at The Tavern on the Square will be for YOU!! I love you Lord and I thank you for being the leader of our lives and the many blessings you have given us! Our gratitude is immense!
Susan L. Hougelman

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Tavern Team!

Today we interviewed a prospective employee to become part of our Tavern Team. She is a beautiful woman who has been in retail for almost 20 years. She has experience buying and running a gift shop, so I think she will be a very valuable member of our team! I am thrilled that God has been bringing people to help us make The Tavern such a wonderful place to visit!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The GreaseTrap is IN!

The grease trap is in! That is a giant accomplishment. : ) THanks to Plumbers Jack Grimm and his his father Mr. Grimm. They did an amazing job. This was one of the pitstops on our way to getting the Tavern open. I'm sure more will come along..but until then..Mission accomplished!

P.S. The grease trap is a giant stainless steel tank that holds grease so it doesn't go into the public sewer lines. It is buried underground and pipes are run from the sinks to the trap. I know more about this then I ever should!!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Today Joe and I have accomplished many tasks!

We have drawn out the plans for the main dining room!

We have researched packaging for the baked goods, and take out bags.

We have decided on server and chef uniforms.

We have made a list of tasks to accomplish before the closing!

We are on our way...

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Mike and Gideon!

Joe and I interviewed a potential cook and caterer for the Tavern. His name is Mike and he is a great cook! He owns his own catering company so he knows how to cater! Mike cooked us up a delcious porterhouse steak with homemade mashed potatoes and gravy , salad and a roll, and a brownie sundae for dessert! We are meeting with Mike next Tuesday to find out more info!

YEsterday morning we went to look at Amish furniture for the main dining room. We had to choose booths or tables or a combination of both. I think we are going to go with all tables. They are going to be square oak tables, with pedestal bottoms. The chairs are a tradtional oak chair. THey have a star cut out on the back! Gideon Kurtz is the amish man that will make our tables and chairs! WE LOVE HIS FURNITURE!!!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

A new beginning!

Hello Friends!
I hope this day finds you healthy and happy! I woke up this morning filled with incredible joy and excitement! I woke up praising God for who He is! He is an AMAZING God!

Today, an article will be published in the Globe newspaper about our purchasing the Tavern! The article lists the blog site address, so if you found your way here.... WELCOME! I'm glad you are here.

I created this blog to keep people informed as to what is going on with the Tavern. A buzz has been created and we've been getting a lot of phone calls and people coming into the Neshannock Creek Inn Restaurant asking questions! We love it! We love the excitement. We are so very excited, probably even more than you are!!

Feel free to email me and ask any question you'd like, if you can't find the answers here on this blog. Our email address is

Let me start by introducing myself. My name is Susan Hougelman. I grew up in New Wilmington. My maiden name is Short. I graduated from Wilmington Area High School in 1983! This year we will celebrate our 25th year class reunion! I also attended Westminster College in the evenings,while I worked in the mail room during the day (great memories !!!)studying Business Management.
I am a hometown girl!

My husband Joe, graduated from Sharpsville High School in 1982. He then went on to attend Penn State University and graduated with his engineering degree.

Joe and I met in 1988, fell in love and got married in 1989. Soon after getting married Joe and I moved to Pittsburgh. Joe worked in the Steel Building designing furnaces, and I, Susan, was a pre-school teacher in downtown Pittsburgh.

About a year and a half later, I became pregnant with our first child. Also during that year, I became a Christian. My heart was changed, and I began to ache to be back home near my family. I prayed that God would find us a way to come back home and guess what? He did!

My husband lost his job at the Steel Building. Yes..losing his job was an answer to prayer, although we didn't realize it at the time. My dad called us up and said that he found a little restaurant in Volant that was for sale. He thought it would be a great opportunity for us.

Now I grew up in the restaurant business. But Joe.. he was an engineer. Although he did work at Perkins while going to school, he didn't have much restaurant experience. But we prayed and we trusted God that this was the right path for us to take, so we did it! We became the owners of the Neshannock Creek Inn Restaurant in Volant Pa.

That was 17 years ago! Joe learned how to cook and he became really good at it! He also grew to love cooking and it shows in the incredible food that he creates in Volant.

During the first ten years of owning the restaurant, I stayed at home to take care of my girls, Ally and Lauren. After the girls started school, I began waitressing at our restaurant. I loved it! I loved meeting new people and serving them. I loved being that friendly welcoming face, when people walked through our doors. I loved making people feel comfortable and I loved feeding them! Joe and I made a great team in the restaurant business.

So..that is where we came from. Our Past. Our story. I can't wait to tell you what we plan for the future!! Like I said many times before, we are so excited we can hardly wait, for the Tavern to open. We have so many dreams and plans and a vision to what we want to be.. FOR YOU.. For NEW WILMINGTON! We want to serve this community, not just with a good meal, but with our hearts. We LOVE New Wilmington. This is our hometown! We love the people here. We Want to breathe life back into that corner on the square. Like a City on a Hill, we want to shine with the love that God has given us, to give to others!

Well that's my post for today. There's so much more to come. Next I will share with you what we hope the Tavern will be like. We plan to put a bakery next door in the little house. We plan to be open seven days a week and serve lunch and dinner! Oh we have so many plans!!

I hope you have an incredible day today! Make it Incredible! : )
With love, Susan

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Sticky Buns!

Frequently asked Question #1
Will you still have the sticky buns?

YES we will still have the sticky buns! Not only will we serve them with your meal, but we will sell them for takeout in our bakery!! MMMMMM!!

Send us your recipes!

Do you have a favorite recipe? What food dish are you famous for making? Do you bake awesome pies? Does everybody love your Monster Cookies? Do you have a favorite dish that you would love to see served at the Tavern? Then send us the recipe and we might put it on our menu along with your name! For example, Nancy Wright sent us a recipe for Parkerhouse rolls that she loves. If we choose to make parkerhouse rolls at the restaurant they will be called Nancy Wright's Parkerhouse rolls! You may become even more FAMOUS! People from all over the world might fall in love with your famous dessert! The food network might want to come investigate! Okay..maybe I'm getting a little carried away. But we would love to hear from you. We want to hear your ideas. What kind of foods would you like the Tavern to serve? What's your favorite pie? What soups do you love? Write and tell me!
Susan Hougelman

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Tuesday, Nov 4th, 2009

Today we are measuring the dining room for new furniture! We are going to have Amish made furniture in the main dining room of the Tavern. We are going to draw a map of the dining room and measure it out. Then we will design the set up!

We are also going to get photographed by the Globe for the article that should be in the paper this week!

Tonight Joe and I are going to try to gather all of our recipes to put together in one notebook. We have been collecting recipes for a while. It's time to organize them now! We have many different cookbooks that we've collected, plus our notebook from the Neshannock Creek Inn. We love looking for new recipes on the internet too!

Did you vote today?

I am getting ready to walk out the door and go vote today! I woke up this morning praying for our country. I am not praying for a particular candidate (Although I know who I'm voting for!). I'm praying for God to have mercy on us and for our country to put HIM first! Rick Warren wrote a great article about our country needing Leadership! I'd like to post it here for you to read. Have a beautiful day today! Susan

Our Country Needs Leadership!
by Rick Warren

America needs leadership. As we head into one of the most talked-about elections in American history, we’ve heard about a lot of different issues. But we’ve talked very little about one of the defining issues of elected government – leadership.

I don’t know a lot about politics. But I do know a lot about leadership. I’ve been studying leadership for 35 years. I’ve read hundreds of books about it. I’ve been training leaders for 28 years. Saddleback teams have trained well over 500,000 leaders in business, government, and the church in 160 countries in the last 28 years.

Sure, I’ve been a leader. But the biggest reason I know something about leadership is the Bible. It is the greatest book ever written on leadership. The kind of leadership America needs right now is the kind of leadership God blesses. The Bible says a lot about the kind of leadership God blesses, but let’s focus on three primary characteristics: integrity, humility, and generosity. If you read the last issue of the Toolbox, you’ll recognize those three characteristics. In the last issue, I focused on the need to develop those characteristics when we find success in our ministries. This time, I want to look at the upcoming U.S. election through the lens of those characteristics.

1. God blesses leaders who live with integrity.

The Message paraphrase says, “Love and truth form a good leader. Sound leadership is founded on loving integrity” (Proverbs 20:28).Above all else, a leader needs his or her credibility. If you have no credibility, you have no trust. If you have no trust, you have no leadership. All leadership is built on trust. If people trust you, they follow you. If they don’t trust you, they don’t follow you.

Where do leaders get that trust? All trust comes from integrity. All of our leaders used to be known for integrity. We talk about the honesty of Abe Lincoln. Today, many leaders are much more interested in image than they are in integrity. Image is what people think you are. Character is what you really are. Character is what you are in the dark.

Some people say that it doesn’t really matter what a leader does in his private life. It matters if you want God’s blessing. What you do in your private life always affects your public life. In fact, that’s the definition of integrity – your public and private life is the same.

Integrity does not mean perfection because nobody’s perfect. God has never used a perfect person – except Jesus. God only uses imperfect people. You don’t have to be perfect to have integrity. You have to be honest.

We don’t need more visionaries in America. We don’t need more smart leaders. We need leaders with character. We need leaders who aren’t interested in image, but are willing to say: “What you see is what you get.”

2. God blesses leaders who serve with humility.

Jesus gave us a whole new standard for leadership. In Mark 10:43b (NLT) Jesus said, “Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant.”

Jesus said you measure a leader’s effectiveness not by how many people serve him, but by how many are served by him. Most people genuinely start off wanting to make a difference with their lives – that includes government leaders. But slowly service becomes serve us. It becomes how do I feather my nest? How do I consolidate my power? How do I get re-elected? How do I get people to serve me instead of them being served by me?

Why is humility important? The Bible says in James 4:6b (NIV), “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Grace comes through humility, and disgrace comes through pride. The fundamental problem with pride is that it makes everything all about us. It’s the root of every other problem in our lives – and it’s the antithesis to good leadership.

The Bible tells us that God opposes the proud. That means every time a leader thinks he’s “hot stuff,” God opposes him. Every time. And when God opposes a leader, he’ll lose the battle. Every time. The Bible says be humble or you’ll stumble.

We need leaders in our country who’ll be humble.

3. God blesses leaders who share generously.

Generosity matters to God because it makes us like him. Everything you have is because of the generosity of God. You would have nothing if it weren’t for the generosity of God. You cannot say I’m a loving person and not be a generous person. They are synonymous. Generosity is love in action.

Psalm 112:9 discusses generous leaders: “They give generously to those in need. So their good deeds will never be forgotten. They will have influence and honor.”If you want to be a leader of influence and honor, you must learn the principle of generosity.

Jesus said it like this: “Much is required from those to whom much is given, for their responsibility is greater”(Luke 12:48b TLB). A few months back when I interviewed John McCain and Barack Obama, I talked to them about this. America has been the most blessed nation in the world. I believe we have to be a blessing to other people. It is our responsibility. We have not been blessed just so we can enjoy it. We have been blessed to bless the rest of the world. We need leaders who understand the principle of generosity – we’re blessed to be a blessing to others.

We need to be generous with our money, but we also need to be generous with our influence as well. The kind of leader we need for America will do what Proverbs 31: 8-9 says: “Speak up for those who cannot speak up for themselves; ensure justice for those who are perishing. Yes, speak up for the poor and the helpless, and see that they get justice.”We need a leader in America who sees how much we’ve been blessed as a country and wants to use our influence to speak for those who have none.

The purpose of influence is not to build one person – or one nation’s power – it’s to speak up for those who have no influence. We are to judge our leaders on what they do with the influence they are given.

Tomorrow we’ll have an opportunity to pick a whole slate of leaders in our country. I’m not just talking about the presidency. We’ll have a chance to pick local, state, and national leaders. How can we prepare for that election?

First, we need to pray, and we need to encourage others to pray. I hope you’ve been doing this already. Pray for the candidates. Pray for yourself. Ask God for wisdom.

Second, check the candidates out. Check out their character and competence. Know where they stand on the issues that are important to you as a Christian.

Then you need to vote. And make sure as many of your church members as possible get out and vote. If you don’t vote, you are giving up the privilege that people died to make possible. I’ve been all around the world. There are many places around the world where the people would die to have the freedom to vote. We need to take advantage of the freedom we have.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Our First Article!

NEW WILMINGTON, Lawrence County-- Real estate agents have put the "sold" sign up outside New Wilmington's Tavern Restaurant which will now reopen in January 2009 under new management. New owners Joseph and Susan Hougelman tell TR News they're excited to see the community landmark reopen. They also say they welcome all suggestions for the future of the restaurant and they'll use the Internet to do that research. "We are putting up a website and we want it to be interactive where people tell us what they want the restaurant to be," Susan Hougelman told TR reporter Allyson King. "We want people to tell us what kind of food do they want it to have. What kind of baked goods are they interested in." The Tavern has sat dormant and up for sale for more than a year now after the previous owners hoped to add a liquor license. The former owners brought forth an election initiative that failed to repeal the borough's long standing "dry" status. The current law prohibits the sale of alcoholic beverages inside New Wilmington's town limits. However, having a working bar doesn't seem to be an issue for the Houglemans. The couple also owns and operates the Neshannock Creek Inn in nearby Volant. "We're going to put in a little bakery next to the restaurant and we hope to restore it to the way it was in the original days. We want it to have have good homemade cooking and homemade baked goods and other old fashioned comfort type foods."