Stinger's Waterfront

July 19, 2018
There aren’t many places in the ’burbs that transport you to the beach, but Stinger’s Waterfront in Ridley Park comes awfully close. This beautiful oasis, with views of the local marina, offers guests an escape from the daily grind. The panoramic vista literally brings the outdoors inside, where there’s plenty of great food and beer. Stinger’s Waterfront is the brainchild of industry veterans Kevin Farrell and Joe Mele, who also own Stinger’s Restaurant & Bar in Secane.
Heady Times (HT): Was this place always here? It’s beautiful! 
Kevin Farrell (KF): This building and the marina are owned by Ridley Township, which recently revitalized the waterfront. Their renovation plan envisioned a place like this, so we partnered with them to make it happen. Just over a year ago, the old building was torn down and rebuilt from the ground up. Joe and I worked with the architects to create a space with large, floor-to-ceiling window panels, which all open to give our guests the feeling of being outside. No matter where you sit, whether at the bar, at a high-top table or dockside, patrons have unobstructed views of the water. We also have a great event space, with a private balcony, that holds 80 guests.
HT: It looks and feels like a resort. Who is responsible for the décor?
KF: A local designer, Tim Henry decorated the interior. He captured our vision perfectly, creating a subtle, nautical theme, with soft, blue, gray and off-white colors, tasteful nautical decor, wicker chairs, a beautiful stone bar and white-washed tile floors that look like hardwood.
Joe Mele (JM): We didn’t want anything cheesy – no plastic fish or flip flops on the wall.
HT: What’s the crowd like here? Does it change from day to night?
KF: During the day, businessmen and women come in for lunch and we see a ton of families. It’s a great place for kids – when they get antsy, parents can take them down to the water to look at the boats and feed the ducks. Live, acoustic music Thursday through Sunday and DJs on the weekends bring in a good bar crowd. Because of our location – right off I-95, close to the airport and the sports venues – we have a very versatile clientele.
HT: Tell us about your beer lineup. What sells well?
JM: We have two bars, with 16 taps total, and an assortment of bottles and cans. We sell a lot of seasonals and do well with local breweries like 2SP; we have a dedicated line for their beers. Telling our customers that their beer is brewed 15 miles away is a great selling point. Allagash White is also popular. And we sell a ton of IPAs, ciders and gose beer.
HT: How would you describe your menu?
JM: The menu reflects the location, with seafood dishes and simple, light fare. Our chefs pride themselves on using the freshest ingredients. We’re fanatical about freshness – both with the beer and the food.
HT: For those who don’t know about this spot, how do you get the word out?
KF: Our manager, Ryan is very active on social media, posting about our chef’s specials, live music acts, new beers and events. In the past, we’ve run commercials on local television and had a digital billboard on I-95. We advertise more in the winter months, so people know we’re open year round. But mostly, it’s word of mouth.
HT: Aside from the stunning aesthetic, what keeps people coming back?
KF: The service. This place is big, but it feels personal. Joe and I are very hands on – there’s always an owner present at each location, checking on tables and making sure all is running smoothly. We’re working while everyone else is playing, but we love to see our customers having a good time.
HT: How has Origlio helped your business?
KF: Origlio has made us feel like a partner, rather than just a customer – we both have the same goal at the end of the day: to sell beer.
JM: I think the Heady Times publication and weekly email blasts are very helpful. It’s great to see which beers are coming out so we can plan accordingly. I also rely on my Origlio sales rep and the brewery reps to keep me informed. • 401 South Swarthmore Ave., Ridley Park • 484-540-7868
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