Eori enjoying move to restaurant business

Business partners Joe Eori and Sharon Thomas pose in front of Big E’s Bar and Grill in Elizabeth Township.

By Sarah Pellis

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“Big” Joe Eori had never been in the restaurant business until he acquired property in Sutersville after selling Big’s Sanitation in September.

Formerly Driscoll & Sons Cafe at 2101 Douglas Run Road, Eori renamed it Big E’s Bar and Grill. The business reopened March 22 as a bar and restaurant offering a diverse menu and weekly specials. 

Eori said he got into business with Sharon Thomas — who handles day-to-day operations at the restaurant and makes the weekly specials — because he wanted to bring life back to the Elizabeth Township area.

“After selling my business in September, I went into a venture in the township to buy property to keep myself busy,” Eori said. “(Thomas is) the operating partner of the restaurant because she has restaurant experience. Together we came into Elizabeth Township and we are going to make this area of Elizabeth Township great again.”

The restaurant has a variety of food options, including American specialties such as  burgers and sandwiches and Italian specialties like wedding soup and chicken piccata ranging from $10-$30.

Eori said the French onion soup and the chicken piccata are his favorites. The restaurant has taco nights, burger nights and is planning to do more.

“Again we are going to keep expanding and she is going to keep growing,” Eori said. “Daily specials always change, the people that come in here are great. They really are. 

“We get a lot of people from Elizabeth Township, we get people from Sutersville. I was all the way up in Pleasant Hills, and people were saying they were here and said it was great.”

Thomas also creates daily specials and posts them on Big E’s Facebook page. A Mother’s Day menu will be posted for Sunday.

“That’s our thing,” Thomas said. “We do daily specials every day, on our Facebook, Big E’s Bar and Grill, there is always a special on there if people would like to share. 

“The specials are always my favorite because it’s always something different when people come in. That’s my special thing and my special task to get new people in here for something unique.”

Big E’s is family and kid friendly as well as pet friendly.

According to Thomas, a lot of people found the restaurant through BringFido, a website that shows businesses that allow dogs. Someone posted a picture of their food, and people started coming.

Thomas said there will be pup cups with whipped cream, rice and chicken, doggie meatballs, peanut butter and banana cups and more.  

“We would like for people to feel like they can bring their baseball teams here, any sports teams, any pets or if they want to have a birthday party in the pavilion,” Thomas said. “We have fresh dog bowls here, if they need anything for their pets, we have it. We have a kids’ menu also. We want to try to get some entertainment.”

The property that Eori owns includes Big E’s, an old ice cream shop named Big Twist and the gas station across the street. Thomas said it’s “Big’s corner,” and Big Twist will reopen Monday after being out of business for years.

Eori and Thomas said the restaurant has been remodeled — with all new televisions, fresh paint and a new kitchen. They cleaned the place with the help of their 16 staff members.

“We put a separator up, not just to separate the families and the bar, but so that way the families felt they didn’t have to watch people sitting at the bar,” Thomas said. “Our staff came in daily and helped work. 

“People were here four, five, seven, nine years ago at Driscoll’s and stayed with us because we proved to them what good people we were going to be to take over and make sure they stayed here, and they helped us clean and everything,” Thomas said. “If it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t be where we are. We would be struggling to look for people.”

Thomas, who has known Eori for nine years, said he goes “over and above to help people out,” likes to “grow” and is a kind and caring person who  “doesn’t stop at one thing.”

Eori said it’s a “two-way street” because his partner, Thomas, “will not sit still.”

“He believed in me and he’s given me something nobody has ever given me in my whole life and I totally respect the man for it,” Thomas said. “And I want everyone to know how much and what he has done to change my life, to help me change my life in the opportunity he gave me.”

The restaurant can be reached at 724-633-0797 and can be found on Facebook, Yelp, BringFido and its website, www.bigesbarandgrill.com.

An Elizabeth Township native, Eori wants to contribute to the township in any way he can. The restaurant is one of several ventures he has planned. 

“Without disclosing anything, I have other things coming down the pike. We aren’t going to stop,” Eori said. “What we see fit if we find other avenues to do in Elizabeth Township, we are going to take a chance and we are going to try. We enjoy seeing people coming in here and having a good time.”

Eori added that people stop in from the nearby bike trail, and Thomas said they prioritize their customers and their hospitality.

“We would like to do different stuff,” Eori said. “The summer is coming so different stuff for the people on the bike trail and keep growing. If anything else arises in Elizabeth Township, I would be interested in making Elizabeth Township bigger.

“And it’s a great community, it really is. This is at the end of Elizabeth Township because right across the street is Westmoreland County so being by the bike trail, we are going to have different activities here, venues here. Some people said we aren’t kid oriented; that’s not true. We want to make everybody happy here.”

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