HYDETOWN — Joe Frelick has owned The Rustic Inn for the past 31 years. He and his wife took over the Hydetown bar and grill affectionately known as “The Rustic” in 1989.
Since the Frelick’s purchased The Rustic, it has been a local favorite spot providing wings, beer and a place for friends to come together.
Last week, The Rustic announced via Facebook that they were closing down due to COVID-19 restrictions. “A lot of our business happens right here,” said Frelick pointing down at the long wooden bar surrounded by televisions and neon beer signs. The business had to close off the bar area due to COVID-19 restrictions that require patrons to be seated at a table.
Frelick thought that the inn could operate under the new restrictions for a while, but when the Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement showed up at his front door, Frelick had to adjust that prediction. According to Frelick, last week a patron reported the Rustic Inn to the PLCB. Frelick said he felt betrayed and decided to close his doors. He owns his own building, and insisted that it makes more sense financially to “wait things out.”
Even with all the challenges that bars and restaurants face, The Rustic Inn isn’t gone for good. When asked what he intends to do in the short term, Frelick expressed that he doesn’t plan on going anywhere. “I plan to reopen,” he said. “I want to be open as soon as possible. When that is, I just don’t know. I’ve been here for more than 31 years.”
Like many other struggling businesses, Frelick decided to apply for funds made available through the CARES Act. The CARES Act provides a lifeline for businesses impacted by the pandemic. Frelick hopes that money would allow him to stay open even at a limited capacity for 12 months.
While The Rustic remains closed, Frelick plans on taking some time to update the menu which he admits is “a little dated.” “Don’t worry about the wings,” said Frelick. “They’re not going anywhere.”
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