Mariah’s, five months closed, reopens

Mariah’s new owner Jerry Katzoff, middle, talks to Todd Lindow, left, of Perrysburg, Ohio, and John Zanath, of Nashville, during Mariah’s grand reopening on Tuesday, Aug. 25, at Hitcents Park Plaza in Bowling Green, Ky. 

Allison Call

After five months of absence, Mariah’s restaurant in the newly christened Stadium Park Plaza reopened Tuesday, Aug. 25, under new management. 

Mariah’s and 6-4-3 Sports Bar were closed last March after contractors took out a lien against Mills Family Realty Inc. Mills formerly owned and operated Mariah’s and 6-4-3 until an agreement was reached for a new owner to purchase the property.

Bowling Green Hot Rods owner Jerry Katzoff bought the property after litigation with Mills Family Realty Inc. 

Mills owed more than $2 million to contractors with Alliance Corporation, a Glasgow construction company, and D&M Electric of Bowling Green. Both Mariah’s and 6-4-3 were used as collateral on the liens and were bought out by Katzoff when Mills Family Realty Inc. was unable to repay the loan.

 Katzoff has been working with Jodi Fleming, Mariah’s current manager and Hitcents’ former general manager, to reopen Hitcents to the public under a new name.

“It’s not Hitcents Plaza anymore since Mr. Katzoff purchased it,” said Fleming, “It’s now called Stadium Park Plaza.”  

Mariah’s will offer new menu items in addition to bringing back their popular items such as the Chicken & Buttons dish and the Potato Soup. They will also provide a live jazz band on the terrace in the evenings.

Fleming said she is optimistic about the restaurant’s reopening and thinks the new changes will be received well by the public. 

“We have a lot to offer our customers,” said Fleming. “I think Mariah’s will do very well considering everything.”

Mariah’s server Cynthia Wagoner is excited to get back to work after a five month hiatus. Wagoner has worked at Mariah’s for nine years. 

“I love this restaurant,” said Wagoner about Mariah’s. “It’s not a dime a dozen. It’s unique. It’s about making long-term customer relationships, bringing people back.” 

Wagoner said last spring she served a man and his granddaughter who have been coming to Mariah’s for over 18 years. 

“She had just turned 19,” said Wagoner. “Her grandfather had brought her here for her first visit, and had brought her here for her 19th birthday. I think it’s a story that needs to be shared.”

Wagoner said she thinks Mariah’s has done well in the community and will continue to do well because of its historical influence.      

Burlington freshman Delaney Holt said her parents went to Mariah’s when they were WKU students, making going there a family tradition.

“My parents and I have a lot of history with Mariah’s,” said Holt. “I don’t think it will do as well as it did in its original location, just because there are so many people that come to it because of its history that it had, and now they’re completely changing their landscape. People will go to try it but I don’t think they’ll like it as much.”

All of Mariah’s employees were laid off when the restaurant closed last March. Fleming said rehiring was not an issue and some of the old employees were rehired. 

Alyson Manley, a former Mariah’s employee, lost her job when Mariah’s closed in March.  

“The constant waiting and negotiating was frustrating for the employees because there wasn’t anything we could do in the meantime – plus, that was our job and source of income,” said Manley. “I don’t live in Bowling Green anymore but I’m very excited that they’re finally reopening.”