Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Ruston Inn Closing After 42 Years

Since 1970, Frank Ross has done what no one else in recent memory has done - operated a business in Ruston for 42 years.  Frank bought the Big Bad Wolf Tavern and the business next door, the Three Little Pigs Restaurant, back when women were not allowed to sit at the bar and kids had to stay next door at the restaurant. Food was passed thru a window to the bar when dad got hungry. After a major remodel in 1975, the two buildings were combined with a hallway between. The Wolf and Pigs team opened in 1932 and had seen a variety of owners before Ross.

Frank has now sold the building along with the lot behind the alley and will serve his last meal at the Ruston Inn this Sunday, May 26th. A farewell party is planned for Saturday evening starting about 6 pm. Stop in for a few good stories and listen to that North Carolina drawl in Frank’s voice one more time.

Ross fondly remembered the old days; when Stan Bartel was town marshal and things got wild on Friday and Saturday nights when the bar featured live western music. Frank said the cops back then never took anyone to jail; they just sent them home on foot since they knew everyone and where they lived. Marshal Bartel usually didn’t intervene in the fights, telling the bar staff to handle it and send the combatants out when they were done so he could shoo them home.

Frank says all the old timers are gone now.  He’s seen a lot of changes in Ruston since 1970 and known a lot of good people. Ross was born one of 16 brothers and sisters and says his parents raised him well. He’s been outspoken but always tried to be polite and quick to forgive. He joined the service, hit the west coast at age 18 and never looked back. He says he used to think money was important, but now acknowledges health is much more valuable. “You gotta love your momma and daddy”, but having good health is a close second to family.

After one robbery, three or four break-ins, a major fire seven years ago and decades of good friends, Frank says it’s time to take it easy. When asked what he was going to do in retirement, Frank gave a typical response; “nothin’ honey”. He’ll take some down time and then he promises to find something new to occupy his time.

If those walls at the Big Bad Wolf could talk, what stories they would tell! As the old-timers laughter fades away and new voices grow stronger, may we remember the contributions of men like Frank Ross and his patrons to the fabric of who we are. Ruston survived because of them and we owe them thanks. So to Frank and the good ol’ boys (and gals) who graced those bar stools or enjoyed those good old-fashioned meals, we wish you all the best. Enjoy your time just ‘doing nothin’. You’ve earned it…


Jim said...

Great article. Knew several people kicked out more than once but they were always back in a few days.
It's never going to be the same in Ruston as the old businesses fade away and we await what the new owner will do? But apparently they have big plans.
Happy retirement Frank but knowing you I am sure it will only last a week or two.

Anonymous said...

The best to you Frank ~ enjoy your retirement!

chunkeelilmonkee said...

Man .... I grew up going here .... my family practically lived in that place and the idle hour .... ( I have pics of me as a baby in the bar with the owner ) ....... so sad to see it gone ... wish I coulda seen ya one last time Frank ....