Waterville Tavern: A come-as-you-are place

WATERVILLE – The Waterville Tavern, 10783 Route 44, is nestled along Pine Creek and the Pennsylvania Rails to Trails. The tavern owners, Deb and Al Harakel, run a family-friendly, come-as-you-are restaurant in the heart of the valley.

The Harakels bought the building in 2008 and began renovations to bring it back to its original look in 1825 when the restaurant was built, they said. They did not want to see the building to become dilapidated, the couple said.

“We tried to get it as close as we could to how it was in 1825 with the wood and different sculptures that look like they belong,” said Al.

They brought back the front porch that was present during the early years of the restaurant where people can sit and relax on weekends during the summer months, the couple said. During the summer they also have an ice cream shack open, said Deb.

The Harakels said that having a family-oriented restaurant is very important to them.

“This is a destination restaurant,” said Deb. “People come here for camping, hiking and the Pennsylvania Rails to Trails which borders our property.”

Many families come out for the recreational activities so having a place where everybody can enjoy themselves is essential, she said.

“Kids are special here,” she said. Each child gets a special cup, an ice cream sundae for dessert, their meal is served on a Waterville Tavern frisbee that they can take home and there are temporary tattoos with the logo on them, she said.

On the tavern’s menu, the couple said that they have something for everyone at an affordable price. Being a casual place is essential because people come in after they do outdoor activities, said Deb.

“Everyone has their favorite at the Waterville Tavern,” she said.

Every Friday night walleye is their special and there are dozens of original martinis created by Al, they said.

He said that the flavors he uses masks the taste of alcohol so they taste good to everyone, said Al.

The newest addition to the tavern’s menu is the Big Bear Sandwich Challenge which will begin on March 12, they said. It is a 45-minute challenge to eat the sandwich, French fries and pickles which equates to a little over six pounds, they said.

The sandwich consists of roast beef, sauteed onions, mushrooms, roasted red peppers, Swiss cheese, barbecue sauce, lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise on a house baked bun, they said.

“This sandwich is truly a beast,” they said.

The couple said that the tavern is always looking to expand their staff due to their growing number of customers. For people interested in the restaurant industry, contact the tavern at 753-5970.

The Waterville Tavern is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesday until May, the couple said.

For more information about the Waterville Tavern visit watervilletavern.com or Facebook page.