Mario’s Fishbowl opens new location
Published: Sunday, August 26, 2012
Updated: Sunday, August 26, 2012 23:08
For more than half a century, Mario’s Fishbowl Bar and Grill has charmed local patrons with its friendly atmosphere and trademark beer goblets.
Now, "The Fishbowl" has opened a second location in the Suncrest neighborhood – a move co-owner Mark Furfari felt was a long time coming.
"After 62 years, we thought it was time to open another Fishbowl," he said.
The Suncrest Mario’s Fishbowl is located at 3117 University Avenue. Furfari said the second location will be just as satisfying as the first.
"Of course, you can’t physically recreate the original Fishbowl," he said. "But this one is much larger, more open and maintains the ‘diner’ feel."
The original Mario’s Fishbowl became famous for its trademark goblets – giant frosted glasses filled with beer. For decades, patrons attached handwritten messages to the walls of the establishment, a tradition that’s continued to the new location.
The new location also includes a downstairs club, where customers 21 years and older can enjoy pool tables, video gambling machines and a full bar. The main dining room is open to all ages, however.
"We still encourage entire families to come," Furfari said.
The new location maintains some traditions of the original, including a monthly drawing for "Little Fish," when lucky winners can get a pass for two free beers a day for a month.
Furfari said the second location was a move made for business and convenience reasons.
"Suncrest is a perfect place for us. It’s in close proximity to lots of residences and businesses," he said. "People on this side of town can come in whenever and grab a sandwich and a beer. Business has been great."
Kim Laurita has worked as a cook for Furfari since 1997 and said she was excited about a Fishbowl opening in Suncrest.
"I was tickled pink when I heard they were opening a new location," she said.
Laurita has seen a lot of changes in her time, but she said one thing hasn’t changed at the new location: quality service.
"It’s different, but we still have the same great homemade food," she said. "The only pre-made thing we have are the appetizers."
Laurita takes pride in the Fishbowl’s dedication to fresh cuisine.
"Frozen fries – they’re full of preservatives," she said. "We cut ours by hand, and you know the only ingredients are fresh potatoes and sea salt."
Laurita said she appreciates her work and her relationships with customers and coworkers.
"They’re good people, and I’d do anything for them," she said. "That’s part of being family."
Many customers consider their friends made at the Fishbowl family.
"It’s like the bar from ‘Cheers’ – people come here, and everybody knows each other’s names," said Catherine Thieme, a longtime Morgantown resident who works for West Virginia University. "Plus, you can’t buy a better bowl of soup anywhere in town," she said.
Thieme and her husband Robert are frequenters of the original Mario’s Fishbowl, but they are growing fond of the new location.
"It’s really open and friendly, with the same food and great service," Robert said. "We’ve really gravitated towards this one."
Robert grew up in New Jersey, where he garnered a love for family-owned establishments.
"We’ve always enjoyed the family bar environment, but we normally go home by eight – that’s when the students take over," he said with a chuckle.
To learn more about the Suncrest Mario’s Fishbowl, visit http://www.mariosfishbowl.biz.