Legends offers classy setting, cuisine

WELLSBURG – While enjoying a meal of filet mignon, shrimp, burgers or wings, visitors to Legends, a new restaurant at 735 Charles St., can watch a game on one of several widescreen televisions or view a piece of West Virginia history.

Hanging on the walls of its spacious bar and dining area and a separate dining room are framed photos of state, county and city leaders over the years, local industries and points of interest and local residents who have achieved notoriety in sports, entertainment and other fields.

Examples of the latter range from Follansbee’s Glenn “Jeep” Davis, a two-time Olympic gold medalist; to actor Don Knotts, a native of Morgantown.

The casual exhibit also includes the St. Louis Cardinals jersey worn and donated by Brooke County native and Cards bench coach Joe Pettini.

Howard Armstrong, who co-owns Legends with Ernie Stucin and Craig Sperlazza, said many of the photos were donated by community members.

But the pictures of West Virginia’s 32 governors and 30 West Virginians who received the Congressional Medal of Honor, the highest award given to a service member for valor above and beyond the call of duty, were purchased from the West Virginia Division of Culture and History.

Armstrong said he was proud to learn that 62 West Virginians received the military honor. Photos weren’t available for all of them, so plaques bearing the names of the remaining 30 have been posted at the restaurant.

Armstrong said he hopes to display photos of the past commanders of Wellsburg American Legion Post 34, which once occupied the location.

After the post disbanded, the building was unoccupied for nearly two years. Recently revived, the Wellsburg American Legion is moving into the former Hudson House Saloon on Main Street.

Since the three purchased the building, it has undergone many improvements, including an entirely new kitchen and new flooring and air conditioning.

The long curved bar was refurbished with mahogany, the interior was repainted and a new facade was established.

The restaurant has a seating capacity of 104, including 34 in the separate dining area, which also is available for private parties. All but an enclosed area for limited video lottery machines is smoke-free.

Patrons may choose from an assortment of entries, including crab cakes, broiled scallops, Italian baked cod, calamari, Chesapeake and parmesan chicken, chicken marsala, several burgers and wings in several flavors.

For dessert there’s New York cheesecake or white chocolate bread pudding.

“We wanted to include some food you don’t find at most other restaurants,” Stucin said of the menu, which is served up by Kevin Castellucci and Rush Armstrong.

The kitchen opens at 4:30 p.m. Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays and at 11 a.m. Saturdays and Sundays. It’s open through much of the night except Sundays, when it closes at 7 p.m.

Stucin said the partnership with Armstrong and Sperlazza has been a good one because they bring different talents to the venture.

A Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel employee for many years, Stucin enjoys building things. Sperlazza, who also owns the Make Your Day Cafe in Follansbee, enjoys the day-to-day interaction with people.

Both credit Armstrong for much of the planning and legwork involved in opening the new restaurant.

The three worked together to establish the Pier 12 restaurant in 1993 and Armstrong followed that over the years with Scores, Trax and the Hudson House.

They are among a number of businesses Armstrong has established in Wellsburg.

“I like creating things. Wellsburg is my home and I made the decision to invest my time and money into it,” he said.

Armstrong said he would like to see downtown Wellsburg become a destination again for many people and hopes other new businesses – more specialty shops like nearby Bloom’s Antiques and even other restaurants – will follow.

“We’re hoping our success will lead to others,” Armstrong said.