NFL football is off to fun start, at least for the LA RAMS fans! If I am still talking trash at the end of October, it just may be their year. Mike Cooke and I are going out to LA for the Chargers and Vikings games, and to cheer for SEBASTIAN JOSEPH-DAY, our own local hero and Rams player. Hopefully the other Rams fans in our group, and fans of all teams are out supporting their teams at the Sarah Street Grill, enjoying our beer and wing specials, and getting as many chances as possible in the raffle for the $500 SSG Super Bowl Party. Only Sarah Street has every game posted on the monitors they will be on days in advance, gives out raffle tickets for prizes every night game, and those tickets stay in the bin for the BIG prize – the $500 SB Party – which we draw for at the NFC AFC finals games. Every commercial we draw until someone in the room’s name comes up, and the more games you make, the more chances you have!
Also, while we are talking sports, we have a Wild Card Yankees game coming up. We will have sound on that game and music over the commercials, and of course, plan well for all the MLB playoff games. If the game is Oct 3, open mic will follow it.
ESU Homecoming Weekend, the 5th and 6th, has great live music with THE OUTCROPS on Friday and THE FUSTICS and TOM GRAHAM doubling up on Saturday. The rest of the month is full of great shows too: DARK CITY STRINGS, a fun blue grass band on the 12th, QUINCY MUMFORD AND THE REASONS WHY back from the Jersey Shore on the 13th, POCONO DUO TRIO on the 19th, MOCHESTER on the20th, YOUNG LION on the 26th, and BIG BONE DADDY on the 27th. Sarah Street truly is one of the best music rooms in the Word and this group of great live music proves it! As I preach non stop, show your love and show up for as many of these shows as you can.
Halloween is coming too. We will be photo taking of all those in costume on the 30th at the STEVE MCDANIEL show and OPEN MIC on the 31st, and the Scariest, Funniest, and most Original will all win $50 Sarah Street Gift cards. We may have some more details on this as it gets closer.
So has anyone besides me noticed the insanity on the roads – not the erratic and taking forever construction, but the way people are driving? Too slow, too fast, too aggressive, too complacent? You can be going 80 on the highway and have someone on your butt, or be stuck behind someone going 25 in a 40. People are swerving all the time, something you would think you wouldn’t see with our strict DUI laws. Locally I have seen some clown in a giant black truck that has black smoke they can send out at will, and they drive like they are in a Mad Max movie. If you want to drive slow, pull over and let others pass, you want to drive faster wait for a safe time to pass, if you can’t drive straight call a cab or a Uber, you want to blow black smoke out of your vehicle intentionally drive off a cliff. Okay, thanks for letting me vent.
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STROUDFEST is upon us! Hopefully we will see a strong crowd Friday night the 31st for THE LEADERS OF THE SHIFT, then for them opening the Court House Square Stage at Noon on Saturday for the Long Running Annual Event: STROUDFEST! They are followed by THE DIRTY GRASS PLAYERS, and then the real popular band CHRIS ROSS AND THE NORTH are both closing the Main Stage at Stroudfest and then playing Saturday night at Sarah Street. This event is a great way to close out the Summer, and if your not a local, get a hotel room or an Air B&B and make a weekend of it. If you are a local, you would be loco not to show for all these great shows! Lots of other great music events happening in September too. Just take a look at the calendar and pick your nights. I am a little bummed that i will miss THE VINE BROTHERS on Saturday the 22. They only play once or twice a year and like many of the shows at SSG are don’t miss. Hopefully you will help make it special in my absence.
So why am I missing The Vine Brothers, you ask? Because it’s NFL FOOTBALL TIME and the only Rams games I don’t watch LIVE at Sarah Street are the ones I go to, and thats what I am doing on the 22nd in LA. The LA Coliseum is where they played when I first became a Ram fan as a 10 year old, and I want to see them there before they move to the new arena that is being built. The NFL season starts on Thursday, September 6, with the Falcons vs Eagles game and that game, and all Thursday, Sunday, and Monday night games are on with sound on the game and music over the commercials. Add to that our 50 cent wings, the prizes we give away at every night game – including some big ones, like Eagles Giants tickets for November 25th, why go anywhere else? Of course you know that we also show every game, every Sunday, and that the monitors are labeled days in advance so you don’t have to worry about requesting your favorite one to be on. In case they disappoint , I am gong to get in some Rams trash talk now: they could be the powerhouse I am hungry to see since the Warner days and their defense may be ending a lot of QB’s season early. It also looks like SEBASTIAN JOSEPH-DAY will make that defense. Sebastion is a local great guy who also played at my other favorite College besides ESU, Rutgers! Come out and watch him live every weekend – maybe we get one of his Rams Jerseys to hang in our room forever someday to help celebrate a local making it to the BIG TIME!
Okay, one last point. It has been shared in other letters how scary and disappointing it has been to be a MET ED customer in Stroudsburg. While most of the town has been fine with PP&L, the NINE days we have lost business just this year as a Met Ed customer have been horrible. It is to the point that every time there is any kind of weather issues – and sometimes not even that – it is “I wonder when the power is going off”. Just two weeks ago we were in the middle of one of the busiest Mondays in our 23 years – all dining rooms full, two large groups celebrating birthdays and retirements, a film crew shooting a documentary, and a Johnny Rydell and Hamell On Trial show about to start and BAM out goes the power again. While all surrounding buildings were fine, our town Met Ed grid went out again. Reality: they band aid their system, they count on locked grids and customers without choice, and its time to tell our leaders we don’t accept it. If your Met Ed in Stroudsburg in a small, obviously neglected grid, call and write our town, state, and federal politicians and tell them it is not acceptable. It is time for Met Ed to upgrade their system, or let PP&L have the whole town.
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So when I look at The Sarah Street Grill, well into our 23rd year, I am pretty satisfied with both our history and where I think our future is heading. I know we have matured in many positive ways, one of which is offering more varied and often healthier choices on our menus, many of which are connected to our own garden and buying fresh produce from other local gardens. Another has been, and will continue to be, limiting our waste creation. We recycle our cardboard, our glass, aluminum, and plastic and try to have policies that reduce harm to our global environment. We have eliminated plastic to go bags and offer either a cardboard box, or a reusable canvas bag at a cost of less then we purchased them, and are exploring options at no longer using plastic straws. We have tried to improve our insulation, our equipment, added solar panels, all to use less electricity. Our house music system has always been fantastic, but none the less, we have continuously worked to make it better, both acoustically and visually. When we find or have new art work created, it is often difficult to find a place, or what to remove, to find it a home. All these things, and many more, have surely helped our growth of business and contributed to 19 of the 23 years to be the best ever.
Yet, when I look at one of our biggest identities, being a live music room, I am too often disappointed. Not in the music, as it is almost always fantastic, but in the response and support it receives. Too many nights in our 23 years a truly great performance was happening to too few spectators. I have whined about it, threatened to end it, jumped up and down to draw attention to it, yet it still happens. Obviously, not every time, there is often great crowds too, but in our relatively small room there should almost never be too few for something great. Now I understand how hard it is to make every show. I too will stay home sometimes when something great is happening on our stage. We all love our couches, our homes, our pets, and I am sure for many, their children, go out less late night, and just like time to do nothing, and that is why we need more live music fan regulars. It should go from good crowd to packed, not “I can’t believe there isn’t more people here” to good crowd. I think going to see live music is like going to the gym/working out/playing in rec league sports, hard to go do but feels great after you do it! Check out new bands, support the ones you already know you love, buy the bands CD’s – hearing the songs the order they were recorded in is part of the message the artists are sending – and having it to share with others helps grow the music and the support it gets. If you love what your hearing, throw some money in the tip jar. Many of these artists are traveling the world and living day by day and need all the appreciation they can get. Obviously drinking and eating at Sarah Street while their is live music happening is also showing support, as is paying the music charge at the door when there is one, but these artists very often deserve more. More fans, more money to allow them to stay artists, and more rooms like Sarah Street to exist for them. Watch and share the videos of the bands playing on your Facebook and Twitter, whether live from a phone video, our SarahstYouTube Channel, or from the artists sites and posts. There is even talk of making Stroudsburg more of a live music town, and support of live music at the Sherman, Sarah Street, and other local places would certainly help make that happen. A lot of this letter was inspired the other night while watching Leaders of the Shift with my parents at Sarah St. They sat next to me at the bar when not dancing and they danced a lot! I realized the three of us were the same distance from the artists that we were for my Dad’s birthday when seeing Bruce Springsteen’s Broadway show just a month before. I truly felt that both events were close to equal in experience, quality, and even in long term memory, yet there was not enough people to enjoy it like we were lucky to do. I felt bad for the band, and those not having what we were having – a lot of fun!
Look on the calendar side for anther full month of great music events. Even if I pick just a few of the many don’t miss nights to give an extra plug to in this letter, it will be too small print to fit on the paper version and be able to read. Nothing lasts forever. Many great musicians and bands no longer exist, many great music rooms no longer exist, and they all fall to memory – so make sure you, and all who you know who would appreciate them, get those memories.
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CONGRAGULATIONS to Teddy’s Tavern for holding on to there BEST OVERALL WING, with their Wasabi Ginger, at the Sarah Street 4TH Annual Wingoff and HOTEST WITH FLAVOR, with their Spicy Bluberry! They have won BOW four years straight, but there were many great flavors this year from all the local Bars that participated, as well as Blue Ridge Hook and Ladder, and all had many votes. GOALINE won MOST ORIGINAL with their KOKO BACON WINGS . A very special thank you to all the people that came in the rainy weather and made it a big success, and to the Sarah Street Staff who made it possible. Aeisha also defended her title as BEST SARAH STREET WING with her HORSERADISH HONEY MUSTARD – luckily for Teddy’s, we are not part of the overall contest since we are the hosts! Now there is some “controversy”, as in support of the Fire Company Charity, Teddy’s does buy a lot of wing vote tickets, and maybe some self votes did put them over the top, but I know they had many real votes too, and I myself voted for their Spicy Blueberry. Besides, it is a charity, and buying vote tickets is how the money comes in. We raised $1500 for Blue Ridge Hook and Ladder, and considering the rain, I think that is pretty good. Thanks also to Banko Beverage for all their help in making this happen – Brody your the man!
As always, lots of great music happening. Mondays and Tuesdays have terrific solos and duo acts, Wednesday has our Open Mic – except for July 4th, when we are closed to celebrate both our Country and our SSG team, with our Staff Summer Party. Thursdays has SHAKEN NOT STIRRED as the featured band of July. The weekends have one great act after another, as we always do. People, come out and listen to live, and often original music at Sarah Street. Please go to the Sarah St YouTube page, and to the sites of the bands coming in to check them out. Tell your friends, tell your family, and remind each other, that there is almost always great music happening and that it needs support. 2ND ST PLAYERS, YOUNG LION – after their big show at Mnt Airy opening for Matisyahu, THE SHIFT, KEITH KENNY, and a lot more are taking the stage this month, hopefully we see you here too!
So unless your a Yankee fan, and maybe a Philly fan, there isn’t a whole lot of sports to get excited about. The Mets are terrible, and find interesting ways to lose, if one finds stomach pain interesting. There is the World Cup going on, and soon NFL Preseason starts up, but in the meantime, its a good thing we have our music videos to play and entertain while we wait.
Before I begin sharing what we have planned for June, I want to share some thoughts about the power outages that have been going on. The snow storm in March and the crazy tornado/hail/lightning storm we just had in the middle of May. You may have noticed that on both occasians The Sarah Street Grill was shut down without power for many days while most of Stroudsburg stayed on. In fact, in our 23 year history we have lost about a month of business while many others right next door were able to function. Why? Well it is because MET ED has a small grid, in comparison to other ones they have, through the middle of town that SSG is a part of. When there is major outages, it falls down their list of priority. For example, I also have Met Ed at my home in Shawnee, and if there is an outage it is always back on before the Grill is – not always quickly, but quicker! The rest of the town is PP&L, and often they have not lost power at all, or for a very short time in comparison. It is time for our town to insist that MET ED gives up their grid in town to PP&L, and that the town is either powered together, or shut down together. It is very confusing and misleading to see a place shut down while lights are on a few feet away. People probably think we didn’t pay our bill! Hey, many years ago, there was a few times we were on and most the town was off, but the playing field has gotten very uneven for the past 18 years and it is time for a change. Those of you on our grid, and those of you who are disturbed to lose their home away from home this way too often, please speak up to our town leaders, and lets make this problem one we don’t deal with so often.
Now lets look at June – oh boy, as usual there is so many nights that deserve special plugs and attention! When I look at the calendar I don’t know where to start! Do I emphasize the first weekend with COYOTE LOVE and then BOBBY KYLE and the ADMINISTERS ? Of course! Do I mention HAMELL ON TRIAL and JOHNNY RYDELL will be doing two more Mondays on the 4th and 25th? Or that SACHI RODRIGUEZ is back after a long absence and bringing her friend MICAH NICOL to perform on the 18th? I have too! The second weekend starts with house favorites YOUNG LION, and on Saturday the 2ND ST PLAYERS – I better bring that up! NANCY AND SPENCER REED here three of the Thursdays with BRIAN DOLZANI here for the first time on the one they are not, June 14th, AND our great rotation on Tuesday continues -yep, that deserves a strong mention! Two full weekends with one band, the 15 and 16th having one of our most popular shows CHRIS ROSS AND THE NORTH, and the next weekend – some loud mouths b day weekend – the 22 and 23, the return of QUINCY MUMFORD and the REASONS WHY? Gotta bring that up! How about our ANNUAL LOCAL FIRE COMPANY CHARITY WING OFF on Sunday June 10th? Live music in the parking lot, lots of local bars and some others looking for the SSG Wing Titles followed by Sundays evenings regular show THE POCONO DUO – plug plug plug it! I still haven’t mentioned all that is going on, so follow us on Facebook and Twitter, check our website, print or pick up the June calendar and post it on your fridge because it is another great month of music, many different styes of American food and Sushi, sports, indoor and outdoor seating and way more then I can write/type about on one sheet of paper. Damn, just come everyday!
Hey one last mention, on June 15th, Young Lion is opening for Matisyahu at Mount Airy Casino, a show run by The Sherman Theater. What a night to go there, and then come here for Chris Ross and the North after. Thats what I am going to do!
Summer may actually be here, finally! Well technically Spring – but hopefully we are done with snow at least. Today, May 2nd, is 80 degrees and the Sarah Street Grill deck is full, the garden has been planted, and the bees are buzzing in and out of our Sarah St hives. ESU is ready to graduate the class of 2018 and soon the local High Schools will be doing the same. I guess I can put away that snow shovel, finally.
So what is happening at Sarah Street besides the deck? Well a great month on the stage, as always – in fact for me the hardest part is figuring what deserves the extra plug when all are so awesome! House favorites LEADERS OF THE SHIFT, 2ND STREET PLAYERS, CHRIS ROSS AND THE NORTH, KEITH KENNY, and POCONO DUO TRIO are all back on weekend dates. New first time bands THE FAMIY TIES BAND, and SOMETHING LIKE SEDUCTION fill in two others. Once a year, or every two or three years band, THE EGRESS is back and sharing a night with JOHNNY AND THE KEV’S on the last Saturday. Definitely going to be a fun bunch of weekends! Speaking of Johnny – yes Mr. Rydell, he is musically very active! He has been teaming up with HAMELL ON TRIAL on many Mondays and we are lucky to have another one happening on May 14th. Their show has gotten both tighter and looser at the same time, and that leads to truly some wonderful music. He also has this new project, Johnny and the Kevs, and has joined in with other acts as well. Johnny the musician is back, hooray! TOM GRAHAM is also back and doing every Thursday this month. He has shared that there will be a few extra special events happening on those nights. REGINA SAYLES is back on May 8th, and her duet partner, CHRISTIAN PORTER is back on the 22nd. These two both deserve a extra big high five! Not only did they both play at the 23rd Anniversary – together, which would be nice to have happen a bit more on our stage, but also donated$500 from 50/50 Winnings and money they had raised elsewhere, to one of the causes we we fighting for, Puerto Rico. With their help, other musicians, many local businesses, and all who attended we raised $15oo for Puerto Rico, $1500 to help build a safe walk way from Main St to Quaker Ally/Sarah St, and another $1000 to help with the new park being built at the end of Quaker Ally and 6th St. Maybe a little early to plug our 24th Anniversary, April 8th, 2019, but the one thing that was disappointing this year was our lunch and early diner sales. Employers, mark it on your calendars now, and bring your staff to lunch or dinner and know that 24% of your check will go to a great and deserving charity – and a good chance some of you will stick around for a great party!
Pretty sure I am forgetting a few things I meant to include, so follow us on Facebook, and maybe reread this later to see if I add a few things – or better yet, just come down to the Street and see whats going on! Always something great on the stage, the best videos playing music on the TV’s as well as al the NBA Playoffs (can the 76ers do it!?), NHL (is Pittsburgh really going to do it again!?), and Mets (was that hot start a tease!?), Yankees (was that cold start a tease!?), and Phillies (are they going to make all Philly teams contenders the same year!?).
Sports, Great Music, Sushi, Huge Menu, outside and inside seating, growing food in our garden and purchasing from other local gardens…. and bees, did I mention our honey bees(?) … only here at The Sarah Street Grill! Of course with out you, there is no us, so hopefully we meet at the Street.
So as we approach our 23rd Anniversary this month I have been thinking about what I would say/write about it. I know it is crazy how fast time seems to go, but to make it 23 years in the service industry? As I pondered this, I realized that almost every place I worked in the nine years I was in this business before starting Sarah Street exist no longer: Albino’s, Infinti/Front Row, Penn Hills, Fernwood, Fanucci’s, Bleachers/Leos Place, Robert L’s, Bazookas, Market Street Square, and Roma’s On Main St, are all gone. Only The Tannersville Inn, Pocono Pub, Tom X and The Inn at Millrace Pond continue on, and two of those have had multiple ownership changes. So in nine years I worked at 14 different places, 10 if which no longer exist, then for 23 years in a row there is one place and it continues on – and to me that is a bit of a WOW. Then I have been thinking about how many different people have worked here in those 23 years: easily over 1000 – but yet there is over ten of our current staff that have been here for more then 10 years and 3 of us that have been here more then 20. Not many places have anything close to that going on – only two in the above list, Pocono Pub with one owner, and The Tannersville Inn. Places I never worked, Teddy’s, Floods, and Rudy’s can make similar claims, and anything that compares us to the three of them is a true honor! Barley Creek also opened the same year we did, and have had the same owner, so they deserve a plug too. A bit of a ramble, but actually a reduced version of the thoughts that race through my head as we approach this Anniversary.
So as many of you know, we pick charities and causes every year, and donate the percentage of years we have existed in sales on our Anniversary to them. This year we will donate 23% of sales on Monday April 9th to the new park going in at the end of Quaker Alley, a safe walk way from Main St to Quaker Alley/Sarah St, and the over 100,000 American Citizens still without power in Puerto Rico. We also have our Annual Pool and Dart tournaments, raffles with many cool things donated from great local businesses, and 50/50’s to help raise funds for these worthy causes. Live music start at 6 pm and goes until close featuring CHISTOPHER LaROSE (who is also here every Thursday in April and is really good!), YOUNG LION (also here on the 13th and a house favorite), THE POCONO DUO (here almost every Sunday and having WEEN NIGHT on 4/20), BILL ROOTH, and CHRISTIAN PORTER/REGINA SAYLES (and they play solo on two separate Tuesdays as well). It is going to be fun, so come eat, drink, dance, compete, and raise money for good things all at the same time.
Some new bands hitting the stage this month as well: BIG BONE DADDY, THE OUTCROPS, MOUNTAIN RIDE and ELEPHANTS DANCING. Come out and show them a good Poconos welcome!
It is also NHL and NBA playoff time starting soon. DEVILS and FLYERS playoffs have already begun as they are in a tight race to make it in, and the 76ers are looking to make some post regular season noise. All the playoff games are on in HI DEF and any game 7’s feature our Wing Special and if local teams, sound on the games. Throw in the MLB starting, and unless blacked out, we have all the METS, YANKEES, and PHILLIES games on. Sports, Music, Lots of Food Options – maybe thats why we have been around 8,349 days, 200,376 hours, 12 million plus minutes!
Thanks to all of you, all the current and past staff, and a bit of service business luck, perseverance, and yes, some skill. Maybe that skill was helped by what “not to do ” from some of those places I worked that no longer exist! However it happened, we have made it 23 Years and show no sign of going anywhere for 23 more!
The Big Question: Is Winter over? Well probably not, we all remember last year when the biggest storm came when we were all making our Spring cleaning plans, but it sure seems close to being done. We here at Sarah Street are ready for some new weather, and have plans that should warm everyone up even if Winter gives us another blast or two….or three. Our stage is full of most of the best in our rotation, as well as some new acts that have a good chance to join those with that title. KEITH KENNY is here every Thursday. If your a fan, show up, and if you haven’t seen Keith’s very unique – high energy – one man rock show, you should! Then on March 2, we have the Jersey Shore Bluegrass and whole lot more band, DARK CITY STRINGS. They were here on our stage Thanksgiving Weekend and really put on a great show to a great crowd helped by the Horns of Plenty/Railroad Earth annual event at the Sherman. Now we need a a good crowd so they come back again and again! March 3, COYOTE LOVE returns and they are also a one of a kind and very fun band. Mondays features a new act that will be in duo form – a full band version is coming next month – CASSIDY RAIN. If they are anywhere near as good as last months featured Monday artist, Christopher LaRose, they will be a blast, and I predict they will be! YOUNG LION is back on the 9th, new band CHRIS EVES and the NEW NORMAL on the 10th, THE POCONO DUO with MJ LAW on the 16th, BOBBY KYLE and the ADMINISTERS on the 17th, and a whole weekend of CHRIS ROSS and the NORTH on the 23 and 24, makes it easy to brag about our stage! Chris Ross and his great band travel a long way to play SSG, and really have become one of the house favorites. If you don’t already know, come se why! Hey, while we are focusing on SSG music, on the Stroudsburg St Patties Parade Day March 18th, THE POCONO DUO is going on at 4:30, much earlier then their normal Sunday start time, as the parade ends. They will be followed by JAMIE ZALESKI, the lead singer of Southside Bandits and Young Lion, at 9:30. Come enjoy both post parade shows, and all the SSG St Patties famous food specials, that we also have the day before, actual SPD, the 17th. I say it all the time, and many agree with me, there isn’t a better stage many places, if anywhere. It needs your support so it continues forever. Way to go PETER WILSON! Peter won a $50 House Gift Card for Liking and Sharing YOUNG LION’S newest video from the Sarah Street YouTube Channel. Every month we raffle a new winer from people who do the same of any the videos we have professionally made and posted on our channel, so go to the site, and find your favorites, Like and Share them on Facebook, and be in the monthly raffle. It helps promote the artists you like, and gets you a good chance to have some eats and drinks on us.
Okay lets talk some sports! March Madness soon arrives, the NBA and NHL get close to Playoffs, Spring Training has begun and all mentioned are on in Hi Def at Sarah Street. The NHL is personally the one I am excited about the most as the DEVILS are looking pretty playoff success contending. FLYERS and PENGUINS the same – and maybe the ISLANDERS. Sorry Joe and Teddy’s, the Rangers not so much. Besides being a music room, we also brag about our attention to sports – another thing that makes us unique. By the way: your welcome Eagles fans! I lifted my 25 year curse on the Philadelphia Football Fellas and even loudly cheered for them the whole game. Don’t expect it again – probably a once a life time event I scream in favor of lime green!
Save APRIL 9th on your calendar, as that is when we will be celebrating our 23rd Anniversary. 23% of our sales and a whole lot more will go to help the new park on Quaker Alley and 6th St get open, help make a safe a beautiful side walk be created from Main St to Quaker Alley, and raise some money to help Puerto Rico, where a ridiculous amount of American Citizens are still without power. More info in April’s letter, but we already have a lot of great music booked and it is a don’t miss night.
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So as we prepare for the Super Bowl, I am going to share a little inside my sports/football mind. First, and the main point, I am routing for the EAGLES. I could just say, “well they are PA team, and the Rams are not in it, so I am going Philly” but there is more to it. One of the first NFL games I ever went to was Eagles vs Rams. I think it was 1986 – I was 20 -, and Eagles beat the Rams 34 – 20. Six of us went, four Eagles fans and two Rams fans. It was a war zone. Usually when most your group is home fans, being a road fan is pretty smooth sailing. No it was not smooth anything. It was a real war zone. I think it was before they opened the on site prison and judge to keep things reasonable. Threats, beer intentionally spilled (what a waste!), shoves from strangers, and some of the nastiest trash talk I ever heard came at me the entire game. Even after, when the Eagles had won convincingly – I think the Rams scored late to keep it from a complete blow out – I still had people wanting to fight me. I put my own curse on that team and their fans, and as we all know, it has held for quite a while! So why am I routing for them now? Well, first, I finally broke my strike of going to an Eagles again game a few years ago. My buddy, Mike Cooke, who was with me the first time too, wore his Ram jersey, and I wore a Rutgers. People quickly figured out I was a Rams fan, and plenty of trash talk happened – including mocking me for being a wimp for not wearing colors- as it does at most sporting events, but it was reasonable. I have been to many DEVILS vs FLYERS, NETS vs SIXERS, and PHILLIES vs METS in Philadelphia always wearing away colors and never had an experience anything like that first time at Veterans Stadium. Believe me, none of them were easy, but they were fun. So was my last trip to Lincoln Financial. Now lets talk about the other team. Yeah, the Patriots. Yuck. I am sick of them winning. I am sick of their attitude. I am sick of everything about them, except where they are from. I do like Boston. They began this run of too damn many Super Bowls against you know who…. The Rams. Their young, late drafted, back up QB, began his ridiculous run that year and it just won’t end. They cheat. They voice politics. They look constantly constipated. Not all of them – mostly the coach and the QB. They are so annoying that I have officially ended my EAGLE CURSE, and I grant them permission to WIN. Now Eagles get out there and do it! By the way, this is the place to watch the game. We do sound on the whole game – yes even the commercials. Most of you know we usually play music over commercials, but not during the Super Bowl. We give away prizes, coolers, grills, signed footballs, shirts, games and a whole lot more, every game break. Great sound for the half time show and few of our own effects to help it. So weather you are routing Eagles like me, or the other guys like a lot of people I know, this is the place to be.
It is another great month of music happening here. It always is. Read the calendar. Go to the bands websites right from it. Listen to and like and share on Facebook videos from The Sarah Street Grill YouTube channel – every month we have a raffle of those that do for a $50 SSG Gift Card – and appreciate our stage. Like ice cream, nothing lasts forever, so enjoy it while its here. The artists deserve it.
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First of all: THANKS TO ALL OF OUR SSG FAMILY for another great year of growth. We may be approaching our 23rd Anniversary in April, but we have never stopped trying to get better, and this coming year will be no different. The world may have continued on a path of increased tension, but we work hard to try and make Sarah Street a place full of positive things. A place where friends gather to watch great games, listen to great music – both live and via video, enjoy great food and service, and just get a break from the path of you know what we all often deal with. I just got hit hard with a negative ending to a rough year, losing just short of turning 6 months old, one of my two Boxer puppies on Christmas Eve. We all know people who were hit hard from nasty weather issues this year: fire, drought, flooding, earth quakes and more. We have a country full of anger at each other. We all have family and friends that we share pain with, and some of the same that suffer damage that none of us ever plan for. No one is happy with our health care options, or a risk of war, or a world that seems to be jumping up and down on thin ice – AND WITH ALL THIS NEGATIVE we ALL deal with one way or another, our community and our friendships continue to grow and I am very proud of Sarah Street Grill being a part of that. Honestly, that aspect, plus A LOT of help from my staff, gives me the ability to stay in this business. Coming in and hearing great music, while eating some great food, watching a great game, and sitting with great friends make dealing with both the world and a very difficult business possible. Once again, thank you, for your part in all this. Without you, there would be no us.
We are open New Years Day, with our brunch menu and the NCAA Football final 4. We are closing the 2nd for our staff Holiday Party, but then we have another great month of entertainment. The NFL Playoffs hit us with all games on with sound and music over the commercials. YOUNG LION is here every Thursday, JOHNNY RYDELL and HAMELL ON TRIAL are here the last three Mondays with the first two being the NCAAA Football Playoffs and Final. THE REALITY is here for the first time on the 5th, MIZ is back for the first time in a long time in a big tour on the 10th. COYOTE LOVE and LEADERS OF THE SHIFT, two of our best, are back on the 20th and the 27th. Great solo artists, as always, on Tuesdays, and an Open Mic that many great artists participate in every Wednesday, help make our stage what it is.
Sarah Street has gone the reusable bag to go policy. We now have great and labeled to go bags that can be reused everywhere you go. They do cost a $1.50, less then we paid for them, but we don’t want to be one of the reasons we all have too many plastic bags in our homes, or worse in out garbage. Of course you can bring your own bag – even one of the plastic ones you have been saving for years, or even get reused card board box from us, but not an in house plastic one. Hopefully it is received as a positive thing, joining our solar panels, our garden, our improved insulation as a part of our limiting what we contribute to issues that need addressing to give Earth a chance. Hopefully, and probably, we will come up with a few more in 2018.
Much love to you all, and special love and appreciation for the short time Ajia was in my life. May 2018 bring lots of positives to us all.
Happy Holiday Season to All! Hopefully Sarah Street can help make it a fun one with a month full of great things to help Holiday Cheer be plenty. December 2nd has the return of CHRIS ROSS AND THE NORTH, truly a don’t miss event. We get them three of four times a year, and every one of them has been special. We have some new bands coming in as well, with LEAH FULS on December 8th and MUNGO’S LIST on the 29th. QUINCY MUMFORD on the 9th, MoChester on the 15th, and COYOTE LOVE on the 16th are all great shows with bands that have been rocking the Grill for the past few years and deserve some strong local support. Then it is the Annual HAMELL ON TRIAL and JOHNNY RYDELL CHRISTMAS SHOW on Thursday December 21st. Holiday carols and political humor, mixed in with both artists original music and unique covers, creates a Sarah Street Annual Tradition that no one should miss. Speaking of HAMELL, have you seen his art work in the upstairs dining room? It shows his unique style of painting very famous artists and people mixed with Sarah Streets version of the same, just like our in house music videos mix the World Famous with Sarah Street Famous. It is a work in progress, so keep an eye on it as it gets to be an even bigger collection with time. As the month comes to an end and the New Year approaches we finish strong with YOUNG LION on Friday the 22, KEITH KENNY on the 28th, LEADERS OF THE SHIFT on a NYE EVE show on the 30th, and THE 2ND STREET PLAYERS on New Years Eve! Yeah, just move in, as almost every night is going to be fantastic and help end the year on a strong positive. New Years Eve tickets are $15 in advance, and $20 at the door, and include a champagne toast at midnight, a band that will keep you dancing and toasting all night long, and have a little help with DJ VJ me. Besides great music all month, we also have lots of great sports as the NFL season winds down with some huge games, RAMS vs EAGLES on the 10th being one of them! The NBA and NHL (GO DEVILS!) season are getting into groove with all the games available to watch at SSG, and huge NCAA College Football games on our HI DEF system seemingly on all the time. Great Music, Food, Sports, add some nice atmosphere and artwork, a staff that wants to make your experience the best it can be and hopefully it’s a holiday enhancement for all! Maybe we need someone to write a holiday song with that list being the inspiration, I know a room room that will play it!
Hey we are planning to be open with a limited menu on Christmas Day at 4 PM until at least midnight, or later if we are busy. The night before, on Christmas Eve we have the full menu until 8 PM, NFL all day, and the bar will stay open until it slows.
530 Main St is officially part of the Sarah Street Grill family of properties, and now we need some business tenants to fill it up. Any interest, reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Sarah St right next door for lunch and the after work beverage and dinner? Sounds like work got more fun! Have a Great Holiday Season and even better 2018! We at Sarah Street will do our best to make both happen.
Well a fun November is upon us. Lots of College and all the NFL games – how about PENN STATE with its ESU Alumni Head Coach and those LA RAMS! – NBA an NHL seasons have kicked off with all the games available at Sarah Street, and as always, lots of great live music. Before I start plugging the long list of high lights happening on our stage, I want to get a NJ DEVILS thumbs up in! TEDDY’S UNIVERSITY is the local home for the NY Rangers, and Sarah St is the local home of the Devils – not as intense as TU, who will often only show the NYR while we show all the games – but so far, a lot more successful in victories. Early to brag, I know, but things do look good. If you dig those Devs, come down and route for them with me, or whatever NBA or NHL team you choose to route for – even those Rangers.
Now to the tunes! All is worth checking out, but here are some things you should not miss: November 4th has the return of LEADERS OF THE SHIFT. These guys are going to be famous and already are to me. YOUNG LION is also back on our stage twice after the longest gap in quite a while, and they play on the 11th and the 24th. Speaking of the 24th, that is Thanksgiving Weekend and that starts with THE 2ND STREET PLAYERS on the Wednesday before TG. This band is for dancing and partying, and if you want to pick a great place to gather with friends and family before you over eat the next day, be at the Grill! Perfect band for this night, as well as NYE, and that is why they have both the third year in a row. We are closed for TG, but the next day is YOUNG LION doing a pre RAILROAD EARTH HORNS OF PLENTY WEEKEND SHERMAN THEATRE SHOW set at 7 pm, and a great after show. Then Saturday the 25th, DARK CITY STRINGS , is doing something similar with their pre show starting at 6 pm. Always a fun weekend to split time between the Sherman and us, or even to just be with us. Once again, lots of other great things happening on the stage that i have not brought up, just check out our calendar and go to all the bands websites and Facebook pages to see how good they are. On our calendar we also have the beginning of December – yikes – and on Saturday December 2, CHRIS ROSS AND THE NORTH are back, and that is very don’t miss!
So once again a special thank you to all the people that jumped to mine and Sarah Streets defense when a customer made the mistake of complaining on my personal Facebook page. It truly showed that there is a very loyal group of both friends and clients, and they didn’t like the negativity about a place that they appreciated, or it being an attack directly on a friend. Australia, Hong Kong, Seattle, LA, Florida, employees from the past, and many more made it clear that Sarah Street is a special place for them. I am actually grateful to those that let us know what we could have done better, but many others felt it was done in a very wrong way, and expressed it many times -110 comments so far! It was the first time a negative became a positive in such a dramatic and fast way in our long history. Check it out on David Lapoint Facebook – the one with a Bulldog head leaning on mine – if you like.
If you entered our costume contest and helped raise money for Puerto Rico, thank you. If you have not, you can still donate what you wish and Sarah Street is matching all donations up to $2K. You have until November 10th.
Lastly, it looks very likely that Sarah Street will be acquiring 530 Main Street, so we will have a bigger night time parking lot and looking for business tenants during the day. Want to have your retail, law, medical, insurance, beauty salon, or many other possible things right next to The Sarah Street Grill? If so let me know. We are also considering an Art space catering facility, bakery, brewery, or some other project of our own – and if you have suggestions for that, share them.
Have a great Thanksgiving all, and thanks to all of you for making Sarah Street possible.
Another month full of great activity happening here at Sarah St. Look at our calendar and see who is here when. Usually in these letters I plug some of the shows a little extra because I know special music artists deserve a great crowd, and people will be grateful I suggested their attendance. There are so many nights that fantastic shows happen on our stage and it has been that way for 22+ years. We have had touring acts from all over the World, some which make a home here and come back, some that happen only once. We have had acts that play here when young and due to success become too big to play our small room. We have had others that should have become real stars in the music world, but never got the attention they deserved, and moved on to other projects and sometimes other careers and lives. Some in our market relocate to other parts of the country, like Jonah Smith, who has moved to LA. The first time he played Sarah Street, it was just me. He had a 7 piece band and I had a private concert in a public place. Because our stage welcomes original music, and he and I became great friends, he kept playing our stage for many years. He did get a lot of attention and fans of his music in our area, BUT he should have had more. We should have been able to raise the music charge to $10, and it should have been tough to get a seat. If it had, when he tours back East, our stage would always be in the loop. He will be back at some point, and we will have a good crowd, but it should be more often and it should be packed every time. He is just one example of so many. Two amazing shows from bands touring from England have happened her recently. One Bex Marshall, was a Country Blues Rock Style and the other, Birdseatbabies, an alternative punk rock show. Both were different for a room already full of different styles, and both were amazing. Neither were the typical style of music I love most – Country and Punk are not in my general eclectic preference of R&B and Reggae styes, but they were both special to witness. They opened me up to what they do only the way a great live performance can. Both were nights I will never forget, and I hope they both return again some day to our stage – but they may not, and all those who missed them missed something special. Now I know there are some nights the show doesn’t quite deserve a “thank goodness I made it” and that not every new band is fantastic, but when you see a name you don’t know, there is a much better chance you will see something great then not. When a band gets in our rotation, that is my way to tell you they deserve your attention, at least in my opinion. I guess the basic message is to support the Art of Live Music in a room known for doing it pretty damn good whenever you can. Sometimes it does feel like Sarah Street Music will more famous if the stage ever ceased to exist, then it does when great stuff is happening on it almost al the time. I am not whining about lack of business, this year so far, as most of our 22 years have been, is the best ever in a very busy place. There also are many nights it is packed the way it should be for the performances on the stage. Then there is nights where the show deserves much more appreciation from our community then it gets. I say this both for the artists and for you – not me. I swear that on both my Mom and all the awesome Dogs in my life, which if you know me at all, is the highest code I can use! I could go a lot further with examples of what I am talking/writing about, but that would, and someday maybe will, take a book.
So I personally choose to stand for the National Anthem. I am very grateful to all my five Grandfathers, and their brothers and sisters, who served in different parts of the Military in WWII. I am grateful to both those that fought in and those that fought against the Viet Nam War in my parents generation, and all those that protect our Country and often the World now. I am not grateful to those that think it is un-American to not stand during our Anthem. The Flag stands for the right to express how you feel. When I am at a game, people not standing for the anthem bothers me much less then someone yelling at someone to take their hat off during it, wether they forgot or chose not to. To make a very public and valid point of things very wrong in our country, by kneeling during it, is much more Patriotic then screaming at that person for doing so. It sadly is being used as another point by some to keep us divided at a time we all need to unite for so many reasons. Also quite depressing for me to feel something positive about a Quarterback I routed very much against as a Ram fan – a truthful attempt at finishing a serious issue on a lighter note.
We wil be doing something to help Puerto Rico, who is really in rough shape and dealing with being the third part of our country getting majorly damaged by record breaking storms in last few weeks, and of course some fun stuff for Halloween, as we do every year – maybe the two at the same time, so look for further news soon.
If anything is repetitive in these letters, it is the reference of how fast time flies. NFL already back at Sarah Street with all the games? Sure is. STROUDFEST and Labor Day weekend was a already year ago? Yup. Before we know it the Holidays will have come and gone, and 2018 will be well on its way. Thats why it is so important to enjoy the present as best we can, and at Sarah Street we really try to help. As the month begins we are finishing the recording part of the YOUNG LION music videos on Thursday August 31, and Friday September 1st. This band is special in uniqueness. It combined parts of two bands, George Wesley and the South Side Bandits, to both help keep George’s music with us and to become their own thing. They formed by meeting in Negril, Jamaica, 18 months ago, and have become something that needs to be captured on Video and sound, in a professional way, to live forever on the screens at Sarah Street, and on the Internet. We have done these types of videos for many years, and have gotten better due to advanced technology and experience at creating live music videos. You can see all the ones we have done for the past 15 years at Sarah Street Grill’s Youtube Channel, and of course playing in house – but you can also, and should, be here the nights of recording. Then every time they play, you know you were part of it. After two nights of recording, YOUNG LION will be joined on the Stroudfest stage in the Court House Square, with CHRIS ROSS and the NORTH – who are also playing Saturday night at Sarah Street, and THE 2ND ST PLAYERS. The Main Stage music starts at Noon and will go until 7 pm. Most of Main St will be full of Stroudfest booths, lots of other stages, and the Stroudsburg Court House Square will be full of great food stands as well as some incredible don’t miss concert performances. The rest the month is also packed with great live music – also something repetitive in these letters! Besides the already mentioned above, we also have house favorites THE VINE BROTHERS, POCONO DUO TRIO, MOONDOGS, and COYOTE LOVE, and a bunch of new projects with THE ACQUAINTANCES, ACOUSTIC BITE TRIO, and ANAKEION MUSIC. Interesting they all start with A, and I predict that will be their grade! MONDAY, THURSDAY and SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL is back with sound on the game and music over the commercials. Sunday Day features all the games in HI DEF. Many other places have tried to duplicate what we do with the NFL, but many have given up, and none do it as good as we do. Only at Sarah Street are all in HI DEF, and ALL the games on and pre-posted where they will play. Only at Sarah Street will every night game be on with sound and music over the commercials AND give away a prize every night between the 3rd and 4th quarter. Only at Sarah Street will every night game you attend add to your chance to win a $500 Super Bowl Party at the Grill. What else are we doing to slow time down in a good way? How about: Great solo and duo acts on Tuesdays, our near famous Open Mic every Wednesday, our Garden still pouring out great things for our daily specials, and the Sushi and main kitchen both going from great to even better with some new food prepares that are adding some fresh vibes to our veteran staff, to name a few.
Lastly, and in a new paragraph – sometimes a real oddity in these monthly letters (hey there is only so much space!), I want to thank all of you, and all of the Sarah Street Staff, for our busiest Summer ever in 22 years. We have had more new employees then ever before, and there is nothing simple about all the things we do under our roof. They had to learn in a hurry, with more people coming through the door then ever before. Were we perfect with record breaking volume and lots of rookies on our team? Not always – but we tried to be, as we always will, thanks to your support. Lets all have a fun Fall and Winter, and I hope to see you at the Street!
Summer already winding down? Well maybe, but we have a lot of fun things happening at Sarah Street to make August stick in our memory longer then time seems to fly by! Lets start with the beginning of the week when house sound Guru JOHNNY RYDELL teams up with HAMELL ON TRIAL every Monday. These two are both extreme one of a kinds, and to have them together four times in August is special. The first two Tuesdays feature first time SSG headliners with TRICIA PETERSON and FRIENDS here on the 1st, and CAMP FIRE here on the 8th. Tricia has been a big part of Open Mic, which led to her getting on board to sing with the 2nd Street Players, and now is having her own evening on the SSG stage. Camp Fire promises to bring some real Blue Grass on that second Tuesday. Tuesdays finish out with house regular and fantastic artists CHRISTIAN PORTER, REGINA SAYLES, and STEVE MCDANIEL DUO in that order. Wednesdays continue Open Mic, which has never been better, with some new hosts helping Rick run the night. Special thanks to Shane for helping make Open Mic what it has become, and I am sure our stage has not seen the last of him! If you read last months letter, you already know YOUNG LION is here every Thursday preparing for the next Sarah Street Video Shoot, which will take place on August 31st and Sept 1. This project helps keep George Wesley’s music alive, as well as becoming an entity of there own. I am very excited to have this music saved in our house video collection for all time, and if you are here, you will be a part of it forever too. Another very exciting event is THE SHIFT returning for an entire weekend on the 18th and 19th. These guys are going to be famous, and actually already are in other parts of the World. We are so lucky they take our stage and should show them lots of love whenever they are in town. Lots of other great things happening as well – just look on the calendar. Not many chances left this year for QUICNY MUMFORD and the REASONS WHY or MoCHESTER. Both of these bands will only be here 3 more times in 2017, so see them while you can. I get requests for more BOBBY KYLE AND THE ADMINISTERS all the time, so to those folks, and to all who love god rockin’ blues, be here for him too! There is more places doing live music then in recent years, but we still are the best. Best artists, best sound, best technician, and best lights. The only thing missing sometimes is YOU! Come show some love for the arts – and enjoy our kitchen, our Sushi, our Garden, and service too. Thanks to all for making the last five months are busiest by far in our 22 years. Without you, there would be no us. See you at the Grill.
We have another great month of entertainment coming to our stage. July 1st features SUZE, a high energy and rocking band from an hour North of us. They have worked this room a couple times a year for quite a while, and they need some more local love. Sundays are mostly the Pocono Duo, but we also have a couple of guest performances, with BENJAMIN GORSKI and WALTER LEE on the 9th, and THE SHIFT on the 23rd. Yes The Shift is back and are doing Saturday the 22nd and sticking around and doing the next day as well. These guys are fantastic and bound for fame! Come and see them both nights and be a able to claim you saw them on a small stage. Well, back to talking in order of the month. MARC VON EM will be here every Monday in July. Marc too is great, and to see him as the Monday featured artist will be a treat for the ears that listen. July 4th we are closed ror our Staff Summer Party. My people deserve this day off and we plan to have a lot of fun! While we do, we wish the best to all of you as we all celebrate our Country, friends, and families. Well Wednesdays are Open Mic night, and they have never been better. Many real musicians take turns playing some great, and all different kinds of tunes, while Rick and Shane host with professionalism. The first Thursday, the 6th, has KETH KENNEY back – we all know how cool he is – and then we start something that will have a grand finale’ the end of August. YOUNG LION will be playing every Thursday from July 13 until August 31. They will also be playing a Saturday in July, the 15th (as well as our Staff party on the 4th), all in preparation to shoot some live, professionally done, videos on our stage. We want to capture this project in the Music Video History of Sarah Street, and help them get known all around the World. They will be playing Reggae, with a bit of spoken word, some Scranton South rock reggae blend, a good amount of George Wesley’s music, famous reggae covers, and new songs they have written and will be writing over these next two months. Then the last Thursday in August and the first Friday in September we record it all live to have it forever. If you hang at Sarah Street you have seen the video projects we have done over the years, and know how cool they are. Each project is done better then the last, as we get practice, and become a big historical statement for both our room and the artist. These videos play right next to famous ones in our house mix, and show just how good it is, and has been, on our stage for 22 years. Please be a part of this project, and I am sure you will be glad you did when you see what gets created from it. Well there is more! On July 7th, TOM CARPENTER BAND takes the stage. Tom is one of the biggest music supporters here at Sarah St, and unless he is rehearing his own band, or elsewhere watching another, he is here enjoying our stage. Now he gets to place himself, and his band, on the spot he shows such respect and honor for, and we look forward to hearing it! COYOTE LOVE returns on the 8th. They get al the same compliments I have shared with the other booked artists, plus a few more for serious uniqueness! WILD ROOT is here for the fist time on the 14th, and I AM BUFFALO returns after a long absence on the 21st. Both these nights have serious potential to be don’t miss shows. The last weekend finishes strong with house favorites 2ND ST PLAYERS on the 28th, and a real interesting touring band, BEX MARSHALL on the 29th. Internet search Box Marshall, and all the bands you haven’t heard here live yet, and you will see why they got the gigs. One last thing in the live music topic this month: Tuesdays usual order has changed a bit this month. STEVE MCDANIEL is here on the 11th, and man did he put on a show here last night. The second and third sets were both something I wish we captured to replay forever, and the crowd wanted repeat oncores – only got one, it was a Tuesday night and after 1 am after all – but I can’t wait for more! Then taking Steve’s usual last Tuesday is EMILY. Emily is one of us and you know her from hosting the Sarah St door, and being a guest at Open Mic. The 25th is her full show debut, and will be yet another special night in a month jam packed with them!
Well it took a full page to remind you what is happening this month and pretty much all the time on our stage. We are a lot more then a music room, but it is, and always will be, as long as I am part of this project, something that makes us what we are. I know some come for just the Sushi, others for fresh produce from our garden and other local gardens being a part of their meal, many to watch their game on clear Hi Def monitors – and usually not having to ask to have them put on, or to sit outside on our second floor deck; but MUSIC is a BIG part of what we are. Come support the art, and all the other things we are and do, because these musicians deserve it – and so do you!
As we begin the second half the year, or close to it, 2017 sure is off to great start and we plan to continue it! The Sarah Street Garden is already contributing some fresh and tasty vegetables and herbs, and soon will be producing a lot more. We use these healthy and delicious items in daily specials and many of our menu items, as well as buying from other local farms to do the same. The stage continues to have terrific shows 99% of the time – yes I do admit that once in a while a new band hits our stage that does not quite live up to the SSG level of excellence, but very rarely. This month is no exception to that with CARL FERRIERE JR TRIO being the featured Thursday artists of the month and starting things off on the 1st. Then YOUNG LION hits the stage, a band that formed as a tribute to George Wesley and has become an entity of their own, on June 2. SCHMIDTWOOD FLOW follows on the 3rd and this is a local band that gets on the SSG stage once or twice a year. The POCONO DUO continues to play almost every Sunday night as they have for over a decade. Mondays in June has RICK BARTH hosting different guest artists in an ACOUSTIC SINGER SONGWRITER SERIES. Sort of an Open Mic by invite only and each night has a few performers besides Rick. Tuesdays has the usual rotation, except this month the 13th has RYAN ZIMMERMAN, Christy’s cousin, filling in for Regina Sayles. MIZUMU, formerly The Vibes, is back on the 9th, and DUSTIN DOUGLAS and THE ELECTRIC GENTLEMAN the 10th. Then on the 11th we have our Annual WING OFF in the SSG parking lot. Live music featuring BILL ROOTH, DUSTIN DOUGLAS & T.E.G , and YOUNG LION, and all the cool local bars participating in a Wing contest to raise money for local fire companies, this year repeating BLUE RIDGE HOOK & LADDER. Starts at 1PM and goes until 6PM and then we move the party inside, and may have the Pocono Duo start a little earlier. TEDDY’S is looking to win for a third year in a row, but others want that title bad! The 16th brings 2ND St PLAYERS back on our stage, and this 6 to sometimes 9 piece band brings down the house with great danceable music. They are already booked here the night before Thanksgiving and NYE in 2017, come and see why! CHRIS ROSS and THE NORTH return on the 17th and they are also one of the most popular bands to work our room. They drive 9 hours for your enjoyment, so mark that date on your calendar so you don’t miss it. Speaking of “don’t miss” QUINCY MUMFORD and the REASONS WHY return on the 23. They have worked this room, coming from Asbury Park NJ, for many years and are one of my favorites. SERENE GREEN is back on 24th, and this rockin, blue grass, ecletic band gets the room jumping. The month finishes with the TRIO version of the POCONO DUO on Friday the 30th and SUZE coming down from Scranton on the 1st of July. I also want to give a plug to JONAH SMITH, a long time Sarah Street Grill artist who is doing a show in nearby Blairstown NJ, at Roy’s Hall, starting at 7. Come here for an early dinner, or after the show and enjoy MIZUMU as well, on June 9th. Jonah lives in LA now, and isn’t often this close, so it is an opportunity to see him and pick up his new release of music. Hopefully we get him back on our stage soon, but until then lets show some support and see him nearby.
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Going to do something a little different this letter besides highlight all the great bands, sports – like playoff NBA, NHL and the MLB kicking into the new season, and mentioning new things like the SSG Garden going into it’s 4th year and creating options for our kitchen – and talk about the Internet and the access people have to review and read others reviews of almost everything. Examples: YELP, TRIP ADVISOR, FACEBOOK, and GOOGLE . In many ways it is a beautiful thing to be in a new town and have access and evaluation of places when deciding where to go. Most of us look at the group rating and eliminate the extremes, as we know how certain people can be when given the opportunity to criticize. I, myself reviewing as Sarah Street, gave my first ever rating on Trip Advisor of a hotel I stayed at in Pretoria, South Africa recently. I gave the 131 on Herbert Baker a full 5 Star rating, and some minor points they should focus on to be even better. I did that because I truly had a time of my life while there, and wanted to give them a few friendly ways to improve. I guess I could have eliminated a star or two for it, but why? It was wonderful and I wanted people to know that more then what wasn’t so perfect. Read it if you want to see more of my style of review and what I am referring to. I have also been much more aggressive about responding to negative reviews of my own place, and being thankful to positive ones. It makes me crazy when someone comes to a popular busy place and decides to bash it. You see that most people are giving it high marks, but because you didn’t like the lighting, the band or being asked to pay a door music charge (which starts at 9 pm on Friday and Saturdays, only applies to seating downstairs and the deck, and goes to the live performers), the choice you made on the menu, or something else that irked you , you decide to tell the world it is not worthy of their patronage? All the other people who love being there are not as critically smart as you are? I often find that reviewers general reaction to most places is negative, so is that evaluation more about the place being reviewed or the person doing the reviewing? I will often ask to speak with a manager if the server or food I am experiencing is not up to my par when I am out dining elsewhere, but to share that with the world is not my cup of tea. I know how many things are involved at trying to be perfect in this business and to think my one bad experience is worth charting and grading, well one, I don’t have the time and two, I don’t want the time! Quietly telling the server, manager or host what was wrong at the end of the meal is much more meaningful to me, as well as deciding whether to go ever go back. When I was in South Africa, the bride and groom of the wedding I was there for, took me out for dinner on the last night. They had been to a fine dining place the night before and thought I would be impressed with the food, and even more, the service. Different servers for every aspect of the meal – wine and drink, appetizers, entrees, water, bus people for every course, dessert, all separate servers. How could the service not be perfect? Well it wasn’t and actually was pretty bad in many ways. My evenings hosts were upset that they had brought me there because we did not have the same experience they did the night before. The groom freaked a bit on the host as we were leaving, so I took a minute and explained to her why he was so upset. He had wanted to show off the place to a friend who, as a restaurant owner, would surely be impressed. Perhaps that got the message through, perhaps it did not, but to go further and post about the experience in a review had no interest to me. Similar bad experience(s) in Atlantic City where my Chef and I went for a restaurant convention. I did take the time and tell our hosts, and biggest food supplier, that the lack of service at most bars and restaurants at a convention for people in the service business probably should be addressed to the host casino. AC is a town struggling to regain its reputation as a destination, and for various reasons seems to have a hard time with the basic aspects of our industry. I have not mentioned the name of the restaurant in Pretoria, or the Casino in AC, because that would be me starting my own review site. Would I be doing the world a favor by posting my displeasure on existing ones ? Maybe. I wouldn’t be doing myself a favor, as I am already over critical of where I go, and even more so of this restaurant, The Sarah Street Grill. We meet once a week as a management team to talk about all things that could be better. We do go over all reviews, and there are occasions where a reviewer actually helps me make a point to my team on something we need to focus on. Sometimes my constant how we can be better strive for perfection needs a customer agreeing with me to get the team to not think its just me! Those reviews get thanks, and the many more positive ones, of course, do as well, but that petty negative creep who likes to bash as many places as they can, get a little grief back from me. Being around for 22 years and having almost every one of those years be busier then the one before it gives me some room to bite back. I also love it when another customer jumps on a rare negative review in defense of us! All this ramble is just my evaluation of the good and bad of the extreme freedom to share opinion. I am very open, always, to people reaching out to me by direct email to share any advice or criticism, and super appreciative for the many positive reviews on all the sites. Thanks for letting me vent and self analyze a bit!
Sarah Street turns 22 this month, and for that number we felt it would be cool to donate to two charities on the Anniversary celebration. We have chosen both CAMP PAPPILON, a wonderful animal rescue and home finding center in our area, and THE SHERMAN THEATRE, a non profit concert hall that has brought many people to our town and really helped the growth of Stroudsburg and Monroe County. On APRIL 10TH we will donate a total of 22% of our daily sales, have our Annual Pool and Dart Championship, a few 50/50’s, and raffles with many wonderful donations to win from our suppliers, as well as many other local businesses, bars, and restaurants. What a great list of artists we have performing that night as well! Starting a 6 pm we will have THE AQUANTENCES, a trio that will also be performing every Monday, including the 10th, in April. Then it is BILL ROOTH and STEVE McDANIEL, a duo with a long history here at Sarah Street. Steve also plays the last Tuesday of almost every month. Then it is CHRISTIAN PORTER and REGINA SAYLES, who also each play solo one Tuesday most months. They rarely do “bar” performances as a duo anymore, although I do remind them we are no usual bar room or stage, and hopefully will get a few more of them here together soon. Either way, seeing them perform on the 10th together will be special. Whenever there is a chance to see them as a duo or a full band , it should not be missed. They packed the Sherman Theatre a few times with the full band, and maybe just maybe we get a full band warm up for a big venue here on our stage some time this year. Then it is TOM GRAHAM, who is also going to be here every Thursday next month in May. Tom , myself, and Sarah Street go back more years then either of us can say easily. It has ben a lot of fun watching him evolve as a musician over the past two decades. Ouch. Sorry that stung a bit because I was remembering the first time I heard him perform and how different both of us looked 20+ years ago at the GOAL LINE bar in East Stroudsburg! Then it is YOUNG LION, a band that formed to tribute GEORGE WESELY and has already grown into it’s own really special project. I am very proud of having something to do with this band existing, and I really hope they will be around a long time. They are also playing the Friday before our 22nd Year Celebration on the 7th and I really recommend you don’t miss either one of there April shows. Then the closers of the evening hit the stage: JOHNNY RYDELL and HAMELL ON TRIAL. This is another duo project that would not have happened without Sarah Street, and both of these artists are a huge part of the music history here at SSG. They are both so unique as people and artists, and combining them is like a mad science project with a positive result! Yes it is a Monday night, but it will be a very special Monday that will stay in your memory a lot longer then the Tuesday morning after!
Lots of other bands and big events happening as well as the 22nd Year Celebration Fund Raiser. BOBBY KYLE returns with his new band on the 8th, and BOBBY SYVARTH is back to the stage where he has so much history on the 21st. The SHIFT is here on the 29th and the last place I saw them rock it was Cape Town, South Africa in March. Some new bands and other great regular bands performing as well. 22 Years of great music here, and it has never been better then right now. Given the awesome acts of the past, that is huge compliment to those of the present.
I planned on writing some observations about the vast ways customers can review and analyze where they go and how they felt about the experience on the internet. Wether Facebook, Yelp, Google, Trip Advisor or many more, it has become both positive and negative in what is does to improve things, and help one another know where to spend our time and money. But, I am running out of room and will probably give my “editorial” input in next months “News Letter”. Sort of my own review of the reviewers one could say.
Most importantly, I want to say thank you again to all of you, my staff, and past staffs for making 22 years possible. Sometimes it seems like a long time, other times like it blew by in minutes -technically which it did, I guess, just millions of them!
What a fun February we had at Sarah Street. Some Winter, some Spring, lots of great music, and lots of business! We just finished a kitchen remodeling, or almost finished, and it sure got tested on the weekends all month. Thanks to all that support this place so regularly and helped us have a great month. We really want to make sure we do our best to keep our quality up when we are slamming busy, and that is why we did the kitchen redesign. That said, when you make dramatic changes to a 20+year old system of doing things it gets a little “awkward” and is awesome that the worst already seems behind us, and it really wasn’t that bad. Speaking of changes: we are getting ready for our third year of the Sarah Street Garden. It made huge leaps forward last year and we are hoping to do the same this year too. Our kitchen is going to make requests for what we grow, and be even more active in the running of The Garden. Our management staff and volunteers, both local customers and staff, are pumped up to continue to work on it to produce more wonderful and fresh produce that makes mouths water in anticipation. We all want to eat healthier and it sure is great when that can also be something that tastes better too. We also will continue to buy other locally grown produce, and help those gardens mature and be around more of the year. We do our best when buying from the big companies, but when something is harvested and on a plate shortly after, it just can’t be beat.
So in March we continue with the featured artist monthly theme with Mondays being the BARELY COVERED DUO and Thursdays being KEITH KENNEY. The first is true to their name, playing cover music few others do, and the second one of very few artists that puts on a full stage show solo. He plays weekends here, and just opened for the Pink Floyd tribute band at the Sherman, and if you haven’t seen him live yet, you should. The weekends are full of one great band after another. SERENE GREEN is here to start off the weekend month on March 3 , and assured me they will have the full band. Then in weekend night order THE TOMMY ROBERTS BAND, MoCHESTER, and then MOONDOG on the 11th. All don’t miss, high energy, and fun bands. THE POCONO DUO TRIO fire things up on St Patties day, so let’s get Irish! That works out cool, because they are also the band that will be on our Float in the St Patties Parade the following Sunday, and then playing after here at the Grill. In between the Duo of the Duo St. Pattie’s Day Parties we have the return of YOUNG LION on a weekend show the 18th. They really have become something special playing every Thursday in January and February, after forming to tribute the great GEORGE WESLEY at his commemorative charity show in December. It is awesome that George’s music continues through them and that they have added, and will continue to add, their own. Then we have four more wonderful bands to finish the month and start April! 2ND ST PLAYERS on the 24th, QUINCY MUMFORD and the REASONS WHY on the 25? Wow. The titles of those bands say enough, as they are always don’t miss SSG nights when either are here. Then we finish with JOE FERRY, on the 31st, and COYOTE LOVE on April 1st. This is one of the best stages anywhere in the damn world, and all these bands, and the solo acts on Tuesday, and the Open Mic-ers on Wednesday, deserve good crowds, good door collections on weekends, and tip jars full of monetary appreciation. They are a tremendous relief from the stresses we all have and we need to keep them out and performing! Put a note on your calendar for APRIL 10th, our 22nd Anniversary. We will be donating 22% of our sales that day to two great Charities – Camp Papillon and AWSOM. Get it? 22 for 2! More details in next month’s letter for that one but reserve the time now!
Well it’s the Super Bowl, and no one does it like we do! We have our all NFL games wing special, prizes given out to someone every commercial – and YES we let the commercials play with sound – something we usually play music over, great dinner specials, and the game on 26 HI DEF monitors. Speaking of the big game between the Patriots and Falcons, how about the story behind the Bud Light $500 Super Bowl Party winner? Well first let me remind people how you get in the contest: every Monday, Thursday, and Sunday NFL night game we raffle off great prizes like sweatshirts, speakers, jerseys, footballs and more in between the 3rd and 4th quarter. Those that don’t win stay in a raffle bin we draw from at the NFC and AFC finals games every commercial until someone here has their name come up. That person and their friends win a $500 Super Bowl party here compliments of Bud Light. This year, after about five names were drawn, MAT MESKO’s name came up. Matt has been to almost every Green Bay Packers game here for years, as well as many other games – but thanks to his Dad, chose to watch the Packer’s playoff game home. Whoops Matt, $500 Super Bowl cash would have helped the pain of the Pack getting their butt kicked by Atlanta! Then a few names later, CHRISTIAN PORTER’s name came out of the bin. Yes the Christian Porter who has played the stage here for the past decade plus. His Dad, Paul was already here reserving a table for his whole family, but was all alone and had to think he and his family just lost a big prize! Then at the 2 minute warning commercial break of the NFC final, LORI PORTER’s name came up! Paul’s wife and Christian’s Mom, and guess what? She wasn’t here yet either, but was on the way. The rule is you have until the next commercial break to show up, and because it was the 2 minute warning, and their was no injuries or time outs, she was able to get in the door as the clocked ticked to 5 seconds before half time! I was counting down over the MIC and the room was as excited about the drama happening as they were of the game – maybe more! Not everyone was routing for Lori to make it, as they wanted the half grand reward still available for them, but no family has supported Sarah Street more then the Porter family, and for a very long time, and they certainly deserved it. The way in went down was also fun for all here to witness. So folks, next year get your name in that bin as many times as you can, and don’t miss the AFC/NFC finals here at SSG. Painful to have your name come up and not be here to celebrate one of our biggest prizes of the year we and our sponsors give away. We call that getting “COOKED”, as one of my best friends Mike Cooke, had his name come up a few years ago, and wasn’t here. Maybe now we call it an ” OVER COOKED MESKO”?
February is another month of great music. YOUNG LION continues as the featured Artists of the Month here every Thursday. This is the best back line George Wesley ever had with JAMIE ZALESKI singing in George’s spot. We all miss George so much, but to hear his music continue, as well as LION’s and Jamie’s, and great reggae covers is a wonderful thing. SERENE GREEN is a great blue grass jam band that hails form the Easton area and has really made Sarah Street their Pocono home stage and they are here on the 4th. COYOTE LOVE and KEITH KENNEY play the next weekend and both are don’t miss shows. SUZE is back from Scranton on the 17th, and 2ND ST PLAYERS, our NYE awesome R&B dance band is back on the 18th. Great rock band on Friday and a great dance, soul, classic dance tunes band on Saturday, why be anywhere else? The last weekend of the month brings in another great blue grass plus a lot more band with the STILL HAND STRING BAND on Friday and a great band from Vermont/Maine on Saturday, CHRIS ROSS and THE NORTH. The CR&TN band travels 9 hours one way to get here, and many who saw them here the second week in January say they were the best band they ever took our stage. That is quite a title with all the incredible music for 22 years here at SSG, but there is no doubt they are great, and if they can drive a total of 18 hours to play for you, you can find a way to be here! Then, as if that is not enough incredible stuff happening, HAMELL on TRIAL asked for a last minute month of Mondays shows to prep for a Europe tour. He and Johnny Rydell will share the stage for a month of Mondays and you don’t even have to pay a door charge. You can tip in the stage tip jar and buy some of Hamell’s terrific art work to show your love for his and Johnny’s music, but there is no cover charge.
There is no doubt Sarah Street is place to make the world a little more tolerable – at least to me. The music, the sports, the food, the service and a serious effort to always make a long time successful place even better is something we all could use a bit off. Hopefully we meet at the Street!
2017. Yes it is here. What will it be? Hopefully a wonderful year for all and I promise we here at Sarah Street will do out best to make it that way. In the first month I think we will be off to good start. We are open New Years Day with all the last games of the NFL regular season. If you are a fan whose team is on the edge, or a fan looking for one last hope for something positive to lead into next season – like me with the LA RAMS, or a team playing backups because they are locked in, it should be some fun football. The night game, GREEN BAY vs DETROIT is winner goes on playoff game and a great finish and great lead to Wild Card Weekend. We will have the same band here both Friday and Saturday for the Wild Card Weekends, the first weekend being MOCHESTER and the second CHRIS ROSS and THE NORTH. Great football and terrific live music after the games? Only here at Sarah Street! Speaking of Sarah, she will be closed a few days this month for some renovations in her kitchen and bar and sushi floors. We will be shut down the 9th, 10th, and 11th and hopefully opening back up the 12th. As you know if you have been coming here for a decent part of the near 22 years we have existed, we always are looking for ways to make this place even better. Our new kitchen design is to hopefully give us more options on preparing more great food and more speed in doing it when we are busy. The new bar and sushi floor? A little less exciting and just needs to be done. Make me happy and say you notice how great they look – even though you won’t. Were you here for the GEORGE WESLEY tribute night on December 2nd? It was wonderful and full of many tears of joy for the music and remorse for no longer having George with us. A band came from that tribute, called YOUNG LION and features Chris and Lion from George’s band and JAMIE ZALESKI on vocals and guitar. They will play reggae, originals, and George’s music and I think they are the beginning of something beautiful. They will be here every Thursday this month, except the 12th, and hopefully for many years to come in the Sarah Street rotation. The second half the month has four great weekend bands in this order: MOONDOG, ALLEN CARRESCIA (a band discovered by manager Kelly), THE SHIFT, and QUINCY MUMFORD @ THE REASONS WHY. Wow. Just move in. Those of you who did move in for the NFL season and filled out the raffle entries every Sunday, Monday, and Thursday nights, as well as the upcoming playoff of games, YOU WANT TO BE HERE ON SUNDAY THE 22ND FOR THE AFC/NFC FINALS! That is when we draw names out of our raffle bin every commercial until someone here hears their name come up, and that person wins a $500 Super Bowl Party for them and their friends, compliments of Budweiser, here at the Grill on Februray 5th.
One last note. We did lose some wonderful musicians this past year: David Bowie, Prince, Glen Fry, George Michael and more. We lost George Wesley too, and that leads me to my point. I was watching a show on TV and they were talking about how real music will never be what it was. I don’t agree. You will see real music happening in this small room all the time, because you already have for the past 20+ years. Proof is the videos that play here with a mixture of the famous world wide and those famous in this room. When a Jonah Smith, Quincy Mumford, George Wesley , Tom Graham, Bobby Syvarth, Pocono Duo, Five Flutophones or many other house performing videos mix with the videos of The Beatles, David Bowie, The Rolling Stones and many other famous bands with their videos, here at Sarah Street with great flow, that is all the proof I need. The art of real music lives on, so support it as much as you can! Much love and happy New Year to you all.