Local restaurant displays historic roots

Eric Humphrey, a senior from Tampa, Fla., and Hayley Reddington, a 2009 WKU alumna from Pendelton, Ind., sit outside of Mariah’s Restaurant on Tuesday night.

Cristen Friddell

For about 30 years Mariah’s restaurant has offered unique dishes such as the “Say Cheese Burger” and the “Mariah’s Delight” dessert.

But the building has a long history that managers and employees try to preserve.

“We like to keep the historic aspect,” said Jodie Fleming, who has been the general manager at the restaraunt for 20 years. “And keep things local.”

The Mariah Moore house has stood at the corner of 801 State Street for about 200 years.

George and Elizabeth Moore built the house in 1818. It cost about $4,000 to build, according to the Mariah’s website.

The Moore’s daughter, Mariah, lived in the house until she died in 1888.

And it was her name that stuck to the structure.

In 1979, two men decided the house would make a good location for a restaurant, according to the website.

They opened the restaurant in 1980.

The building has a place on the National Register of Historic Places and remains the oldest standing brick structure in Bowling Green, according to the website.

In 1990, the restaurant added 3,000 square feet onto the existing structure, according to the website.

In October 1995, some of the empty boxes behind the building caught fire, which caused major damage to the restaurant, Fleming said.

“The fire changed everything,” she said. “There was a lot of talk as to what was worth salvaging.”

The restaurant took about a year to refurbish and restore, Fleming said.

She said the restaurant does maintain some of its original brick as well as the original external façade, both of which survived the fire.

The establishment has banquet halls for parties and other group events, as well as Legends Sports Bar.

Mariah’s provides a place for locals to eat and enjoy good food and conversation, Fleming said.

She said 90 percent of her employees are WKU students. He said the restaurant also accepts Big Red Dollars for purchases.

Bowling Green senior Caine Gossett said he met his best friend while working at Mariah’s.

He has worked there for five years doing deliveries and carry-out orders.

“It’s a great place to work,” he said. “Great atmosphere. Great food. Great friends.”

Mariah’s is open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Delivery and carry-out is available Sunday through Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Thursday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Orders for delivery and carry-out can be made online at mariahs.com or by calling (270) 842-6078.