New restaurant will open Thursday in Cranberry
The Derrick, By JUDITH O. ETZEL

A special thank you goes out to The Derrick for allowing this story to be posted

Sean Hengstler, Kevin Dittman, Aaron Davis and Nate Bowen warm up their cooking skills in the new Red River Roadhouse restaurant on Route 322 in Cranberry Township. The four were cooking meals for fellow employees and friends during a trial and training run Tuesday. The restaurant, located in the former Dandy's Frontier Amusement Park arcade, will open Thursday for business.

The Red River Roadhouse, located in the former Dandy's Frontier Amusement Park's arcade building on Route 322 in Cranberry Township, will open Thursday for business.

"We're doing a dry run these next few days so we caution that things could get backed up. We should be in full swing next week," said Bob Bolan, president of the Red River Roadhouse restaurant chain based in Akron, Ohio. He and Franklin physician William Fritz are partners in the Cranberry Township franchise.

Spencer Warfield of Knox has been named general manager for the restaurant. The staff includes 85 full- and part-time employees. Early projections by the Fritz-Bolan partnership show the new restaurant is expected to serve an estimated 4,000 patrons a week.

Bolan said the family-style restaurant features a country-western theme and will offer lunches and dinners with a menu specializing in wood-fired steaks and honey glazed chicken. A large assortment of children's meals will also be offered. The restaurant has seating for 300 patrons and also offers a 100-seat banquet room.

The Cranberry restaurant is the fourth Red River Roadhouse in Bolan's company. Others are located in Erie's Millcreek Mall, Springfield, Va., and Hartville, Ohio.

An estimated $70,000 in renovations have been completed at the new businesss in the Dandy's park area. Although much of the amusement park equipment was sold at auction in September, Dandy's still features miniature golf, go-karts, batting cages and bumper boats.

The Fritz-Bolan enterprise holds one of two new liquor licenses awarded to Cranberry Township last year. The other license belongs to Pappan's Restaurant in the Cranberry Mall. The Red River Roadhouse will have a 15-seat bar separate from the dining areas.

The Red River Roadhouse opening comes one week before another new restaurant opens just down the highway. McDonald's Restaurant, a 64-seat facility off Route 322 near Wal-Mart, will open for business Wednesday, Dec. 19. The staff numbers 70 full- and part-time employees.