Owners of Mercer Co. bar that burned remember it as ‘their place’

Local News

A fire destroyed a bar just outside of Greenville, Pa. on Thursday morning. The Drawbar was named after the metal coupling between a car and the load it’s pulling. The name meant something to the Burdett family, who is emotionally attached to the place.

Russ Burdett was having a tough time looking at the rubble of the Drawbar & Grille — a place he’s owned since 2004.

“Almost every day down here, working on it. Cleaning, fixing stuff,” he said.

It would’ve been paid off in November.

The sign says Russ & Val’s. They met there, sang karaoke together and eventually got married. It was special.

“It was our place,” Russ said. “So many other friends and customers that met here, too.”

Russ said he never bartended, but did the maintenance, cooking and DJ’d.

Val handled the bartenders. She watched the fire with them at 3:30 a.m.

“We just sat and watched, and watched and watched. It took forever,” she said.

PHOTOS: Fire at Drawbar and Grille

There are no fire hydrants close, so the water had to be trucked in.

Investigators think the fire started in a vehicle parked out back and spread to the building. The Burdetts looked inside that car, trying to understand why.

A man inside the car was treated for smoke inhalation. He talked to the Burdetts from the hospital.

“He called us, actually. Apologized. Feeling terrible,” Russ said.

“He said he heard a spark and all of a sudden, there were flames,” Val said.

The fire left very little to try to salvage.

The Drawbar is not reopening anytime soon, but it may have a future.

“I’m hoping we can rebuild,” Russ said.

“We’re going to try and rebuild. I hope,” Val said.

The bar has been there for years. It used to be called the Friendly Tavern and then The Turnaround.

Russ said the bar had closed an hour before the fire started and it had been a good night.

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