Looking for a cold beer? Ice House Pub at 715 Ridge Road in Lackawanna is the place to find the perfect draft poured upside down from a new state-of-the-art system. It’s one of the finishing touches that the new owners added after buying the old Cherry Stone Inn in 2016 and renovating it from top to bottom.
Ron Vanyo, his sister Lanette Welch and her husband Dan are the trio behind the project. Vanyo shares the inside scoop on how the project developed and why a trip to the Ice House is in order.
Question: You’ve been open over a year. How does it feel to know you’ve invested in the local community?
Answer: To be honest this has been a lifelong dream of our family. When this opportunity presented itself, we couldn’t resist. To know that we can give back to our community and help rebuild Lackawanna to the booming town it used to be back in the day brings us great joy. This building used to be the Lackawanna Police Department. I think that was 1905.
Q: Was it a lot of work to fix up a landmark bar?
A: We knew this place was a diamond in the rough. It certainly took some hard work and elbow grease to get it up and running and in the end it turned out beautiful. From the original hardwood bar to the newly added patio with three fire pits, we are proud of the end result.
Q: The woodwork is beautiful. Was that a draw?
A: That was one of the reasons I wanted to buy it because of all of the wood. It was really bad when we bought it - really bad. We touched up the entire bar, all the woodwork, bathrooms, all the plumbing, all the electrical. It was so bad.
Q: What was your goal with the project?
A: To provide a clean, friendly place for our local community that is both comfortable and affordable.
Q: What’s the reaction from customers?
A: They’re shocked. But a lot of people don’t know it changed yet. They think the Cherry Stone is still there. It’s hard to get the word out, but over the last year and five months we’ve been doing very good. Every week it seems to be more and more.
Q: How do you plan to expand the menu?
A: Our fryers should be done getting installed on Friday. We’ll add chicken wings and fish fries.
Q: The beer tap is unique. How does it work?
A: It’s called Bottoms Up – it actually squirts the beer in from the bottom (of the glass) so there’s no foam at all. Absolutely a perfect pour every time with the same temperature.
Q: That must be a hit with football fans. You get busy for Bills games. How else do you draw people in?
A: When football season starts it’s always a lot busier. We do something every single day of the week. We do bands every Friday, karaoke every Saturday, poker tournaments every Sunday at 6:30, Monday is karaoke, Tuesday we have a magician, Wednesday is our dart league, Thursday is trivia. So every single day is pretty much booked with something going on. There’s something for everyone.