By Garrett Dvorkin
Herald Staff Reporter
Titusville has had a hole in the City’s downtown.
With so much rich history, Titusville is a popular spot for tourists to come visit and spend a weekend. A big aspect of visiting a new town is where you can have that nice meal you tell your coworkers about on Monday.
The hole in Titusville is the vacant brewery building located at 113 South Franklin Street. That hole is being filled by a local resident, Chad Covell, owner of Boonies Sports Bar.
Covell’s new business will be named after himself, Fat Chad’s Taproom and Steakhouse. Covell currently has a goal to open his family-oriented restaurant the first part of March.
While the name “Fat Chad’s” is distinctive, it also comes with a story.
Covell is the coach of a local travel baseball team, the Titusville Go-Devils. As Covell is not a tiny guy, his players always called him “Fat Chad.” The nickname seemed to stick.
Covell’s players made him promise if he ever opened up a new business that he would name it Fat Chad’s. With his new restaurant opening in town, Covell made good on his promise.
Covell received the keys to open his first restaurant from Executive Director of the Titusville Community Development Agencies (TCDA) Laurie Baker.
As the TCDA is the owner of the space, Baker was excited to have someone who knows Titusville so well to move into the space.
“We are not only pleased that (Fat Chad’s) is opening, but pleased that it is by someone local. Someone from the community,” said Baker.
With 17 years of experience running Boonies, Covell hopes to use his knowledge to give residents a proper spot for a gourmet meal.
The steakhouse will have a classic menu of steaks, salads and other typical American dishes.
The hope is that Fat Chad’s will be a restaurant that will draw customers from around the area. Covell felt that families around Titusville would frequently travel to other cities for a delicious sit-down meal.
“Titusville’s never had a decent steakhouse,” said Covell. “People would have to travel to Erie or Meadville to get a nice meal.”
Covell hopes he can draw on the entire Titusville area for hungry people to come down and “try something new.”
Covell’s focus on giving residents a good meal was well received from Baker. Baker said that while the building’s previous tenants were bars that serve food, she is excited to have a “family restaurant that serves beer.”
As someone who owns an establishment that primarily serves alcohol, Covell thinks that opening Fat Chad’s will be something new. “This is a different adventure from the bar scene,” said Covell. He thinks that the new space will be “very community oriented.”
The space Covell is taking over is known for having brewing equipment inside the dining space. While previous tenants have emphasized local beers and home brews, Covell will take a different approach.
Covell thinks that starting with just the restaurant will allow for an easier start to his business. He said that currently there are no plans to start a brewery operation, but may consider it down the road after the restaurant is more established.
Those who wish to have a cold local drink should not despair, however, as Covell plans on stocking his taps with a mix of domestic beers and local microbrews.
Before the restaurant can open, Covell plans to make some changes to the space. The first thing he mentioned was “the acoustics.”
Covell said residents will be very familiar with the space’s echo. When the restaurant is full, the cacophony of noise can make it so you cannot hear what the person next to you is saying.
In addition to the sound work, Covell wants to add TV screens all around the space. While before the screens were only by the bar, Covell plans to place them so all patrons can watch.
While happy to open his restaurant, Covell was not necessarily looking to expand his business holdings.
Covell said that talking to people around town, he got a sense that a new restaurant in the brewery space was “something the town has wanted and needs.”
When Covell inquired about the space, it became obvious that he needed to do something with such an impressive area. “It really was just the right time and the right space,” he said.
Dvorkin can be reached by email at Dvorkin@titusvilleherald.com.