#ShaleBenefits: The Shale Tavern And Grille
The Shale Tavern and Grille opened its doors eight months ago in Lisbon, a testament to the positive benefits Utica Shale development has made in eastern Ohio. Michal Naffah opened the restaurant after customers at his Days Inn remarked that they had nowhere close by to go for dinner and a drink. These customers were mostly associated with shale development in Columbiana and Carroll Counties.
Five years ago, Mr. Naffah purchased the Lisbon Inn, which had a restaurant attached to the property. He closed the restaurant and renovated the Lisbon Inn, reopening the hotel as the Days Inn in 2010. The newly remodeled hotel was sorely needed to provide accommodations for those traveling through the Lisbon area.
Upon it’s opening, the hotel wasn’t busy. They had a moderate occupancy through out the first few years, but soon noticed a change about 2 years ago. The Days Inn started filling up more and more with landmen and title searchers talking about shale development. Soon, they started housing some of the crews who worked for Nomac, which Mr. Naffah remarked were some of his first shale development customers.
Since these companies were staying at his business, Mr. Nafah recognized the need to re-open the restaurant that was originally with the Lisbon Inn. He remodeled, and, at his wife’s request ,reopened the restaurant as the Shale Tavern and Grille as a tribute to the Utica Shale development that has helped take eastern Ohio’s economy off life support.
Basically what we needed to do for the community, the people staying at the hotel, the Days Inn, we opened up down there had been asking for a restaurant close by to eat and drink at and be able to be walking distance. We went ahead and did that especially because of the drillers. That is why my wife lovingly named it the Shale Tavern and Grille kind of after that. Even with the kids menu, instead of calling it a kids menu she named it little drillers. – Michal Naffah, Owner, Shale Tavern and Grille
After being open for only 8 months the restaurant is a success. Not only are those staying in the Days Inn happy to have a restaurant nearby but the community has embraced the Shale Tavern as a nice place to relax and grab dinner. And business has been going well for Mr. Naffah. Between the two establishments Mr. Naffah estimates that he has hired 75-80 people due to increased business thanks to Utica Shale development.
Thank god it’s been good. The weekends especially we are on a wait, that’s at the restaurant. The hotel has picked up tremendously over the last year. And it’s basically because of the land guys coming in, the leasing guys, the drilling. A little bit of everything. We have hired between the restaurant and hotel right around 75-80 people already. – Michal Naffah
With all of the activity happening in Carroll, Columbiana, Trumbull and Mahoning counties, Mr. Naffah sees Utica Shale development as having a very positive impact for Ohio. He has experienced it firsthand, with his hotels and restaurants throughout the region as, well as talking with locals and farmers who have been blessed with a great opportunity provided by the Utica Shale.
It’s the best thing that could have possibly happened in our community right now. Whether it’s in Columbiana County or Carroll, Mahoning or Trumbull we all need it. We lost a lot of jobs with the steel mills when they went down in the Youngstown area. It was sad, it was a sad situation, and now God has finally blessed us with something.- Michal Naffah
Mr. Naffah shares the same sentiment as most of us in eastern Ohio. We have finally been blessed with a great opportunity to provide jobs and economic development in a region of the state that has remained economically stagnant for far too long.
Our area of the state is just beginning to recognize the prosperity brought forth by the development of our natural resources. The Shale Tavern is just one example of how Utica Shale development is beginning to change eastern Ohio into something we can all be proud of.