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Ye Olde Alpha closed by health department

Restaurant to reopen under new name, owners

WHEELING — As Ye Olde Alpha enters its last month in operation at its home on Carmel Road, a recurring plumbing problem has it temporarily shuttered by the Ohio County Health Department.

Owner Charlie Schlegel said the Alpha was closed Tuesday morning when health inspectors found water in the crawl space beneath the restaurant, a recurring problem at the property over the years. Until the problem is fixed, the restaurant can’t operate, and Schlegel said repairs fall to property owner Anthony “Herk” Sparachane, who purchased the property at auction last year.

“I am in the biggest, bleakest limbo you’ve ever known,” Schlegel said. “After speaking with the health department, and with (Health Administrator) Howard Gamble specifically, they told me it was something the landlord would have to take care of. … Until we get it rectified, we can’t open.”

Sparachane could not be reached for comment Tuesday evening regarding the closure. However, earlier in the day, Wheelhouse Creative, on behalf of Sparachane, announced what he plans to do with the property going forward.

Sparachane said that the building will be extensively updated and will continue to bring quality food to the Ohio Valley once it is back up and running, currently slated for Feb. 18. He specified that the restaurant will not be an Undo’s, a business group that Sparachane’s family owns.

“We’re excited for what’s in store for the people of Wheeling,” Sparachane said. “We’ve enjoyed working with former owner Charlie Schlegel through this process and know future customers will love all our improvements.”

Schlegel has been offered a position with the new restaurant but has not given Sparachane a decision, according to the statement.

Sparachane said the building is in a state of disrepair and requires extensive work. The initial budget for renovations was $60,000, but estimates now have the cost of the work over $100,000, he said.

The updates will include a new roof and kitchen, a remodeled dining room and restrooms and a resurfaced parking lot — as well as repaired plumbing in the basement, which Tuesday’s closure may force sooner than later.

Sparachane said the new name of the restaurant will be announced at a later date. Current Alpha employees will be welcome to interview for positions at the new eatery, and as many as 40 people will work at the new restaurant.

As for the Alpha name itself, Schlegel said Monday that the future of the business is up in the air and that it is currently unknown if Ye Olde Alpha will return at a new location or if he will pursue another venture.

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