Evelyn Quagliana's Bark Grill at 14 East Pearl Street in Westfield, although in an out-of-the-way location away from Main and Portage Streets, is one of the most-favorite and busiest restaurants in the area, serving some of the tastiest lunches and dinners at moderate, reasonable prices to its loyal clientele. Depending upon the ages or generation of the diners, stories abound about the cuisines and the proprietors, chefs, servers, and customers from 2007, when Quagliana purchased and revived beloved place, back to the early 1930s when the Bark Grill opened as a bar and sandwich shop.
Although Quagliana hesitates to categorize her restaurant, officially tagged as "casual family dining with an Italian flair," she serves a variety of appetizers, drinks, and entrees in a combination of hearty Italian and American meals. From Black and Blue Prime Rib to Bruschetta Burgers, you can find just about anything to delight the eye and please the palate, and the servers and chef will provide special consideration for special dietary concerns of the diner.
One of the owners of the Bark Grill, Tony DiPasquale, is pictured here sometime in the 1960s behind the bar with unnamed customers and a Tony Baideme painting of the Barcelona lighthouse on the wall.
One of the fascinating historical stories about the place was recorded by Carson Carey, in a recent Chautauqua Star article, "Restaurant Spotlight: Quagliana's Bark Grill, WestfieldWhen she purchased the Bark Grill (2007), Quagliana purchased an old and venerable building operating continuously under the same name since 1932 according to Quagliana, before it became a restaurant it was a speakeasy one of those Prohibition era localities where a gentleman could go, grab a drink, and stick it to the 18th Amendment."
Prior to Quagliana, Jim Blanchard and Lisa Schultz co-owned and served Contemporary Continental Cuisine from 2001 to 2006, in a cozy and intimate, lightly elegant atmosphere including cloth napkins and tablecloths. Rack of lamb, veal Norfolk, crab-stuffed shrimp en croute, with homemade soups and desserts were highly recommended dishes.
Jim Blanchard shared more history of the restaurant and building during recent interviews with the Westfield Historian. In addition to the so-far undocumented story about beginning as a speakeasy in the 1920s, Blanchard commented that long-time residents of Westfield had mentioned that long-time Westfield residents have recalled that before it was "The Bark" it was "a boarding house or hotel for sailors" and/or a grocery store. One person thought he remembered there being a "barber shop" at that location. Blanchard also mentioned that later, in the mid-1970s, before or after locating on Main Street, part of the Bark Grill building complex also housed Walter's Meat Market.
Marybelle Beigh is the current Public Historian for the Town and Village of Westfield. Her office is located at 3 East Main Street in Westfield, N.Y, 14787 - inside Parkview Ice Cream Parlor. Her scheduled office hours are Monday through Friday 9 to 11 a.m.; other hours by appointment.
Beigh can be reached at email@example.com or by calling 326-2457 (office), 326-6171 (home) or 397-9254 (cell).
According to a reprinted and edited article by Anne Johnson, "A Little Bit of the World is Yours When You Dine at The Bark Grill," Westfield Republican, in the late 1960s, "Tony [DiPasquale] has always lived in Westfield. His first business enterprise was a pool room which he operated at the present location of the Bark Grill. His mother, Mamie DiPasquale, opened the Bark Grill in 1932 In the beginning, the Bark Grill was a bar and sandwich shop. About 1935, Tony opened the restaurant."
The late Billie Dibble, in one of her Dibble's Dabbles first published December 8, 1983, located the first issue of a "little advertising paperWestfield Consumers' Guide" that was published in the summer of 1935, and shared the following ad and comment: "Spaghetti Restaurant, Henry Cozza Prop. Res. of Mamie Pasquale, 14 E. Pearl St. - Monday, soup, bread and butter, 10 cents; Tuesday, spag., salad, bread and butter, 25 cents; Friday, fish fry, salad, bread and butter, 15 cents. There is still a restaurant at 14 E. Pearl - it is now known as The Bark Grill."
Johnson's article from the late 1960s provides some additional, fascinating information about "The Bark" as it is affectionately known today. "The Bark Grill is aptly named as the walls of the bar and dining room are actually covered with the bark from a variety of different trees. Tony [DiPasquale] purchased large sections of tree bark from the former Ripley Basket factory and covered the walls with the barkBefore television became common, he installed a movie projector and screen to show movies while his dining room guests were served dinner Several Tony Baideme oils are proudly displayed at the Bark Grill. One of Westfield's greats in the field of art, Tony Baideme was a close friend of the owner of the Bark Grill. Among the Baideme gallery is a portrait of Tony DiPasquale."