Blue Wolf Tavern Marks 20 Years in Business

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — Blue Wolf Tavern, located at 1295 Boardman-Canfield Road, is celebrating its 20th anniversary since opening originally in Struthers.

Drawing support from area communities, the family-owned restaurant expanded and, in June 2004, moved to its current location in Boardman, Executive Chef Joe Rzonsa said. With more space, resources and exposure, Blue Wolf was able to create more jobs, he said.

“The community was behind us when we moved to Boardman,” Rzonsa said. “Struthers and other communities followed us to our current location and were happy about our success and expansion. We couldn’t be where we are today without all the support we’ve gotten. And that’s not just the people that eat here, but it’s also the people that work here and trust us with their livelihoods. The people make us who we are.”

During that time, he met his wife, Stacey Rzonsa, who is vice president of Blue Wolf Tavern and director of Blue Wolf Events, which formed in 2011. Three years later, Blue Wolf Events moved to The Maronite Center at 1555 S. Meridian Road, where it plans, caters and hosts events.

Stacey Rzonsa is proud of the event center’s reputation to deliver “intimate and exquisite experiences” for all special occasions, she said in the release.

“This journey has given me a family and a career that I love,” Stacey Rzonsa said. “The success we’ve had is the perfect cherry on top. It’s a great feeling to know that the work Joe and I have done is paying off. And the most fulfilling part is that we’ve done it as a family.”

Blue Wolf Tavern offers a diverse, farm-to-fork menu with award-winning, handcrafted recipes, according to the release. Joe Rzonsa believes the consistency of the food and staff have carried the company the whole way, he said.

“We’ve done things pretty consistently over the past 20 years,” he said. “There have been some small changes to our menus and recipes, but for the most part we do the same thing we did 20 years ago, and we still do it as good as we did then.”

Experiencing business after the events of 9/11 in 2001 to enduring the COVID-19 pandemic, Rzonsa said there have been obstacles since day one. But reflecting on the peaks and valleys allows him to put the last 20 years in perspective.

“It’s kind of bittersweet because you think of all the trying times and long hours,” he said. “But then you think of all the great successes. I know how long I want to do this for, and I know the kind of legacy we want to leave. These 20 years have been such an important part of my life.”

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.