Ribs And History Served In A Rustic Setting
On a recent visit to Warren, my husband and I were looking for a Mom and Pop restaurant where we could have a late evening meal. When I researched on Google, I was surprised to find a rural restaurant located between Warren and Sugar Grove called Ribs n’ Bones Country Bar n’ Grill. I was even more surprised when we arrived to find it was quite busy on a week night, but most surprised to get responses from my friends saying “I love that place” when I checked in on Facebook. How had I not heard of this place before?
The property has acquired a long history since Elsie Martin Campbell purchased the land in 1939. The farmhouse, that was opened to passersby, became known as Elsie’s, one of the area’s first speakeasies. In 1966 Mr. and Mrs. Kirberger purchased the establishment and a local group opened Yankee Airman, running it until 1975. After The Gamecock Inn was established it saw many land contracts and title transfers. The property changed hands many times between 1984 and 1993 and somewhere within that period of time it became Brown Trout Inn. Steven and Patricia Cochran opened S&P’s in 1993 and ran it until 1996 at which time Tom and Fran Beck opened Ribs & Bones. Unfortunately, in 1999 a fire broke out and the owners had to rebuild. Ida North and Keith Sheldon purchased the new building from the Becks in 2004. Travis and Amanda Hummel, Ida’s son-in-law and daughter, purchased the business in 2013 and continue to run Ribs n’ Bones.
Amanda Hummel, worked as a server, a bartender and as kitchen help, not only for her mother and Sheldon, but for the owners prior to them, for a total of 10 years before buying the business. Now Keith Sheldon is under her employ as a chef and Mrs. North hostesses on occasion.
Mrs. Hummel’s history in food service began before her years at Rib n’ Bones as a waitress at Cable Hollow Golf Course. She met Keith Sheldon during her time spent at Indiana University of Pennsylvania when she was waiting tables at Ruby Tuesday.
Sheldon began his career in Sumter, South Carolina while working as a pizza delivery boy. His boss, who was also the chef, needed help in the kitchen, enabling Sheldon to apprentice under him for seven years.
Knowing that Mr. Sheldon was a cook, Mrs. North called her daughter asking if he would like to go into the restaurant business with her in Warren, Pennsylvania. Sheldon’s purchase of the business brought Mrs. Hummel back to Warren County.
“We’re a great click in a restaurant,” she proclaims. “He’s great in the back of the house and I’m great schmoozing customers.”
Both of her parents were small business owners, so it seemed to come naturally to her.
“My father would always tell me when we talked on the phone to ‘go sell something.'”
“I have a great staff and I’m so lucky to have this guy,” she says while looking at the chef. “Our servers and bartenders are wonderful. When my dad died, I was off a week and the staff covered my back.”
The restaurateur has two others cooks, bringing the total of full-time employees to three.
“We have a really great regular crowd. Weekly customers come from North East, Erie, Corry and Kane, Pennsylvania and from the Jamestown area of New York. Our customers are great.”
An entryway separates the dining room from the enclosed barroom. Interesting local memorabilia has been hung on the knotty pine tongue and groove walls throughout the building. The Warren County Historical Society furnished photos found on the dining room walls of local farms taken throughout Farmington Township.
Mrs. Hummel stenciled a list on each of two large signs that hang near the kitchen door. On one is a list of roads found in the township and the other lists the businesses found there.
The original Yankee Airman sign that once hung outside the business, takes up much space on the back wall. A rag rug her grandmother intended for her wedding gift and which was found on the woman’s loom when she died, also hangs in the large room. In the peak of the end wall hangs a hand cultivator and a wooden rake found in a shed at the Northstead Dairy Farm, her grandparents’ farm in Akeley, Pennsylvania.
The rustic barroom is worth a peek, even for a non-drinker. There are several pieces of taxidermy on the walls and a bear skin on the ceiling on loan from local people. A most unusual bar top, made by Rich Beck, is embedded with various items. Coins, shells, ammunition boxes and bottle openers, jack knives, a pocket watch and wooden nickels are displayed in the top. A very odd and eerie set eyes from an animal is also embedded in the wooden top. A branch from a tree forms the trim around the outside edge of the unique surface. The same rustic trim made by Rob Anderson, frames mirrors and shelves throughout the room.
A Budweiser Christmas Stein Collection with one representing each year the owner has worked there, is displayed above the liquor shelf. Near the bar are a couple of vintage reels on bamboo poles. A “Home of the Crushers” sign from a baseball field where her dad’s business once sponsored her sister’s team and an article from a 2007 edition of “The Progressive Farmer” telling about Warren County being voted Second Best Rural County in the US hang on one of the walls.
There is a picture of Bob and Harry, two older gentlemen who used to stop at the bar every night.
“They would talk about politics, the Navy and other things, but both have passed away since,” recalls Mrs. Hummel.
The businesswoman loves to travel having gone on two trips in recent months. The first trip was with her mother and sister when they drove from Las Vegas, Nevada to San Francisco, California. Later she went with her husband to move their niece from Iowa to Portland, Oregon by way of Mount Rushmore and the Badlands.
She lives in the house her grandmother once lived in, where she maintains a garden.
“My mom, my husband and me had a massive 30-feet by 60-feet garden last summer. We grew potatoes, beets, carrots, zucchini, yellow squash, peppers, green beans and snow peas. We had grapes and raspberry bushes my grandmother planted in the early 70s.”
She goes on to tell about the many connections she has had in that neighborhood over the years. Two of her father’s uncles lived there, as well as her grandparents, her father’s sister, her own sister and her father. Her best friend lives next door and her father’s business was located in the same neighborhood.
“I have a lot of roots there.”
She is a member of Warren County Chamber of Business and Industry and Warren County Visitor’s Bureau.
The chef and owner share some of the recipes from dishes served at Ribs n’ Bones.
“I know Peanut Butter Pie is kind of common but we sell a ton of it. I think they would be more upset if we ran out of it than if we ran out of ribs,” she says while smiling.
Ribs N’ Bones is located at 6452 Jackson Run Road in Warren, Pennsylvania. The number is 814-723-8205. Hours of operation are Tuesday through Thursday 4-9, Friday and Saturday 4-10, Sunday 4-9. They are closed on Monday.
Honey Pecan Chicken
4 c flour
2 T salt
2 T garlic powder
2 T red pepper
1 T white pepper
1 lb butter
3 c honey
3 c chopped pecans
Thoroughly mix dry ingredients. Slowly simmer butter, honey and pecans until melted. Dredge chicken breast in flour and then dip in buttermilk. Return to flour. Pan fry on both sides until chicken is cooked thoroughly. Drizzle with honey pecan glaze.
Peanut Butter Pie
9-inch graham cracker crust
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1 c whipped topping, thawed
1 c peanut butter
1 T butter
1 T vanilla
Combine all ingredients, except crust. Mix well and pour into graham cracker crust. Refrigerate overnight.
1/3 lb sausage
4 oz cream cheese
† c bread crumbs
† c parmesan cheese
2 T scallion
3 T parsley
1 T garlic
dash salt and pepper
Hot cherry peppers
Cook sausage. Add remaining ingredients, except peppers. Mix well. Cut tops off and hollow out hot cherry peppers. Stuff with mixture and bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.
Honey Key Lime Dressing
™ c olive oil
™ c key lime juice
2 T honey
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp garlic powder
Combine all ingredients well with whisk.
1 lb crab meat
1 1/2 tsp Old Bay
3 T Dijon mustard
1/4 T salt
1 T Worcestershire sauce
1/8 c roasted red peppers, chopped
1/8 c green onions, chopped
1 T chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp lemon juice
3 pieces bread, finely chopped in food processor
Mix all together. Form into patties and pan fry.
Mango Crab Salad
Spring Lettuce Mix
Red onion slices
Radish, thinly sliced
Ç c diced or sliced mango
5 cherry tomatoes
1 crab cake
Arrange salad ingredients on plate. Serve with Honey Key Lime Dressing.
Baked Scallops and Thyme
2 c alfredo sauce
3 T fresh thyme, chopped
1/4 c lemon juice
Panko bread crumbs
Mix alfredo sauce, thyme and juice well and pour over baking dish filled with sea scallops. Sprinkle with panko bread crumbs. Drizzle with melted butter. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.