By Katie Demeria
WINCHESTER -- Joe Wobble has opened three locations of Joe's Steakhouse in the past five years. The latest opening is more historic -- and ghostly -- than ever.
What Wobble's team refers to as "The Piccadilly Mansion," but sometimes called the Philip Williams House, at 25 West Piccadilly street in Winchester, is home to the restaurant's newest location.
On Tuesday, Wobble, Winchester Mayor Elizabeth Minor, and representatives from the Top of Virginia Regional Chamber celebrated the new location with a ribbon cutting.
Rich Weller, director of membership development with the chamber, said the restaurant is a good example of a successful business model.
"Every business started out as a 'Mom and Pop,'" he said. "There's so much negativity right now around businesses closing, it means everything when a new business opens up."
And Wobble does not plan to end his expansion anytime soon. He is next hoping to open a location in Staunton.
The opportunity to put a new restaurant in the historic Winchester building was too good to pass up, Wobble said.
"I fell in love with the building, and didn't want to turn it down," he said.
At 11,000 square feet, the restaurant will utilize the entire building. The first and second floors are reserved for dining as of now, with the third used as office space.
What Wobble referred to as "stage two" of the business's development will include the completion of the outdoor patio and a beer cellar in the basement.
Diners at the new location will likely learn about the Piccadilly Mansion's "resident ghost." Colonel George S. Patton reportedly died at the location, in the upstairs dining area.
Wobble said some paranormal groups have already asked to use the space for a dinner, thanks to the supposed presence of the ghost.
"We are very fortunate to be here, it's a wonderful building," Wobble said.
Joe's Steakhouse has seen a substantial amount of success since its first location opened in Woodstock.
"Maybe Woodstock was steak-deprived," Wobble said of the first location's success.
But the Front Royal location also did well, he said. The Front Royal residents "went wild," he said, when the second Joe's Steakhouse opened there.
As of now, the business employs about 150 local individuals, according to Wobble.
Woodstock native Brittney Herald is the general manager of the new Winchester restaurant. She started her career as a server at the Woodstock location. She worked up from there, becoming shift supervisor, then assistant manager, and finally landed in her new position.
She said she is most excited about the history surrounding the new location.
Wobble said, in his experience, the best way to run a successful business is to actively engage with the community.
"I think you have to work the cities and towns," he said. "Work with other restaurants, not against them."
To learn more about Joe's Steakhouse, go to www.joessteak.com.
Contact staff writer Katie Demeria at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or firstname.lastname@example.org