WATERTOWN - Owning and operating his own restaurant has been a learning experience for Jason Pyatt.
"I've worked construction just about all my life," he said. "I just wanted a change and I decided to pursue my lifelong dream."
In June, Pyatt opened the Wolf Creek Grill on Ohio 339 near Watertown. The restaurant has already undergone some changes and is also developing a loyal following.
EVAN BEVINS The Marietta Times
Watertown resident Dave McCauley, left, picks up a takeout order from Wolf Creek Grill owner Jason Pyatt on Tuesday. The restaurant, which features steak and burgers along with various other dishes, opened in June.
"There are some people that we see three times a week," said Pyatt, who noted folks from Vienna, W.Va., and Athens have also made their way to the restaurant.
Pyatt said he wants the restaurant to be a family place, somewhere anyone would be comfortable hanging out and watching a game on the big-screen TV. The menu features burgers and steak, along with daily specials including fried chicken, pasta and fish.
As much of the meat and produce as possible comes from local farmers, Pyatt said.
Wolf Creek Grill
- Location: 13438 Ohio 339, Watertown.
- Hours: 4 to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday.
- Phone: 678-7778.
- On the Web: Wolf Creek Grill on Facebook.
The Wolf Creek Grill is located in the former Buckeye Gun Works location on Ohio 339, just south of the intersection with Ohio 676 and right along the restaurant's namesake. It's a "handy" option for Watertown resident Dave McCauley, 66, who said there are plenty of restaurant options in Barlow and Beverly "but not a lot in between."
"It's convenient," said McCauley, picking up a takeout order Tuesday evening. "Anything's an improvement to a little community like this."
The rustic exterior of the one-time gunsmith shop fits well with the decor Pyatt has set up, with vintage tools adorning the walls and even the glass surface of a table in the center of the restaurant. The cooking area is in plain view of customers, right behind the counter.
A room off to the side once housed antiques for sale but Pyatt changed it to a game room with a pool table, dartboards and video games after the first idea didn't generate much interest.
"I believe you have to be constantly open-minded and constantly changing to improve your atmosphere and ... your service level so that people have a general interest in coming back," he said.
Pyatt said he's planning pool and dart tournaments in the future and a private dining room is expected to open by the end of this month. The restaurant will soon begin offering beer but that's the extent of the alcohol options Pyatt plans, noting a desire to keep that family atmosphere.
There's a family feel behind the scenes too, as Pyatt's mother, daughter and niece have all worked in the restaurant, which currently employs four people.
"They all put forth the effort to help me get open," he said of his family. "We've gotten a few wrinkles ironed out and things are moving in a positive direction."