In a recent Buzzings from BeeLines about "Feedback regarding Bark Grill Restaurant history, series," readers may recall the following paragraph:
"When Donald Bova, grandson of Carrie (Bova) DiPasquale, saw the first article about the Bark Grill history, he phoned and left a message for the Westfield Historian, exclaiming that as a surviving family member who 'grew up in The Bark' he could provide correct information and 'true stories' about the place. Bova is the long-time proprietor of Bova's restaurant in North East Pa., where he serves authentic family recipes that were previously served at the Bark Grill when his grandmother ran it with her second husband, Tony DiPasquale."
During the follow-up phone call, Bova shared much more information about Tony and Carrie (Bova) DiPasquale, and added he still has a huge 4' x 8' Tony Baideme painting of "The Big Gulf" and a Baideme "Polar Bear" painting, both of which used to hang on the walls of the Bark Grill restaurant and bar rooms. Having worked with Theresa Baideme, painter Tony Baideme's granddaughter, to locate and photograph or request the loan of as many Baideme paintings as possible for inclusion in the 2009 Octagon Gallery of Patterson Library art show featuring Baideme's work, the Westfield Historian immediately contacted Theresa Baideme about the newly discovered paintings. Excitedly, she exclaimed, "This calls for a field trip to Bova's Restaurant."
Marybelle Beigh and Donald Bova recreate an old photo of Tony DiPasquale.
So arrangements were made to have a "late lunch" at Bova's Restaurant followed by a visit to the Bova home where the remaining two Baideme paintings are displayed, for safety, because of the theft of the "Dog and Feather" painting from Bova's restaurant 30 years ago. Donald Bova commented he also has the old bowling machine - recall the bowling photos from part 4 of the Bark Grill History series - and the big juke box that were originally at "The Bark."
Eating at Bova's restaurant was a first for Theresa Baideme, Fran Anderson and Westfield Historian Marybelle Beigh. All were delighted with authentic and delicious family recipe treats reminiscent of the cuisine when Tony and Carrie were running "The Bark." Following the meal, Donald Bova led the way to a family home to see the paintings and machines, so they could be photographed for additional Bark Grill history stories and for Baideme paintings photo archives. The huge Gulf painting is so large, the only wall capable of displaying it is in the two-car garage. It was not easily photographed as it is covered by glass which reflects light spots from every window and door in the garage.
Bova led the way down steep stairs into the basement where the other items were said to be located. As we stepped through the door, we gasped in utter disbelief. We entered a fully functional 1950s kitchen, containing many of the pots, pans, utensils and dishes from the Bark Grill of Tony's and Carrie's era. Bova explained the larger Bark Grill kettles are still used in the Bova's restaurant kitchen. To the right of the basement's kitchen area was a very long dining table, set with candles, and surrounded by various other memorabilia and furniture from the old Bark Grill. About halfway down this dining area on the left was the "Polar Bear" painting by Anthony Baideme, which Theresa Baideme photographed.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 326-2457 (office), 326-6171 (home) or 397-9254 (cell).
Moving further into the basement, we entered a two-room area lighted by lanterns and every imaginable type of bar room sign that Tony DiPasquale had given Donald Bova to add to his collection as new signs were provided monthly by various beer and liquor dealers. Straight ahead was the "famous" bowling machine, and on the far left wall of a fully functional bar and barroom was the large old juke box, both of which still function, although the bowling machine needs repairs. We all felt like kids in a candy store as we pointed and asked questions about various items. Bova pointed out other old and unique items, such as the intercom connecting the bar room with the apartments upstairs in the Bark Grill.
A huge VAT-66 bottle was seen, and pulled out for a photo and this shot also included an old photo with Tony "Bark" holding the same bottle. Refer to photo with this story.
On the way back out, Bova pulled out another surprise - a sign hand-painted by the late Tony Baideme - and Bova and Anderson held it up for photographs. A second field trip to Bova's restaurant and Bark Grill's Golden Age Private Family Museum provided more photo-ops including some with Anderson bowling on the old bowling machine some 50 or more years later than the photo shown in part 4 of the Bark Grill's history.
Since it is impossible to publish all the wonderful photos in the newspaper, a history album containing these photos is being constructed, and copies will be provided to both Evelyn Quagliana, current proprietor of the Bark Grill in Westfield, N.Y., and Donald Bova, grandson of Carrie Bova DiPasquale and proprietor of Bova's restaurant in North East, Pa.