- October 30, 2017
Jimmy G’s Railroad House is a local pub with staying power.
When Jim Giuffrida opened the doors to Jimmy G’s Railroad House 10 years ago, he could have only dreamed of the success it would become. “I’ve learned a lot in 10 years. We made a lot of mistakes, but we did a lot of things right. There’s a special satisfaction in being part of this place. It’s a local landmark.” Giuffrida pulled up a bar stool with Heady Times to talk about Railroad House and his latest business venture.
Heady Times (HT): How did you get started in this business?
Jim Giuffrida (JG): Early retirement from my engineering career at Carpenter Technology afforded me the opportunity to do something I always wanted to do –own a bar. Growing up, my mom and dad owned a neighborhood bar in York, PA, and my extended family owned several bars, pizza shops and restaurants. My plan was to own a small neighborhood bar and that’s when I found this building.
HT: It needed a bit of work, didn’t it?
JG: It had been a local hotel/tavern for nearly a century, but was shuttered for years and fell into disrepair. I thought it was perfect; it was a block off the main road and it had great ambiance, but it needed so much work, my dad said I was crazy. The renovations took almost a full year… I had to gut everything! But if I was going to do it, I wanted to do it right.
HT: What was the competitive landscape like when you first opened compared to now?
JG: When we opened there weren’t many sports bars in the area, so the anticipation had built up. We opened the first Sunday of the 2007 football season and actually had to turn people away because we were packed wall to wall. Initially, we spent a lot of money on technology. At that time, hi-def TVs were still really expensive, but I bought a bunch and put them all over this place. I could show up to 11 games at the same time! It was a great selling point.
In recent years, all of the local sports bars have had to step up their game, especially with big chains moving into this area. In response to this, we expanded the inside bar, added the outside deck and doubled the number of beers we have on tap. Our challenge now is to keep ahead of the times and on top of the trends to keep bringing people in.
Also, a few years ago I purchased another local bar and restaurant, Beverly Hills Tavern. It’s much larger than this and has an enormous outdoor beach bar and seating area, a fine dining restaurant and kitchen capabilities for small catering services. The combination of the two locations is very complementary.
HT: What sets Railroad House apart from other bars in the area?
JG: We have a pretty deep pub menu and we start with the best quality food we can get. I would rather give up some margin and make it up in volume. When it comes to food, our wings and shrimp are amazing; they have been our biggest sellers since day one. We have been the hottest spot on a Friday night for a long time; we don’t charge a cover or raise our prices. All of our drinks are very reasonably priced. Our staff is very friendly, most of them have been here since we opened. They have great rapport with our customers. That’s hard to find but so important.
Railroadhouse.net • 152 Woodrow Ave., Sinking Spring, PA • 610-678-1177