Anyone who knows Centre Market even remotely well is aware of the large, purple garage door that stands next door to the Wheeling Brewing Company and across Lane B from Coleman’s Fish Market.
For years, though, it’s been a mystery as far as what rests behind the one-and-a-half-story barricade, but recently the DiNardo family has revealed what might just be the biggest surprise at Centre Market since Susan Haddad opened a funky little eatery named Later Alligator.
The structure, constructed in 1900 and once the home of a popular beer distributor, initially possessed only a concrete ramp for in-and-out deliveries, but during the recent Centre Market Foodfest more than 1,000 local residents saw for themselves the family’s sprawling deck complete with a front railing.
“Everyone has the same reaction when they see the deck when the door is open. Everyone just seems amazed,” Chasity DiNardo said. “Some folks even say it looks like something they’ve seen in New York City.”
“Most people really have no idea what’s behind the garage door because they haven’t seen it open in such a long time,” Mike DiNardo explained. “As soon as they see us, their eyes get really big. The people who have come into our home are as amazed as we were when we first walked in. That’s the coolest part about it, and folks just love how industrial it is as well as having a lot of character and history.
“It’s modern and it’s vintage at the same time,” he continued. “Both of those aspects really come together inside and out.”
The two have been a couple since they were both 13 years old living in Wellsburg, and these 1993 Brooke High graduates moved to the Wheeling area 11 years ago. After residing in the Triadelphia area, they moved to the Woodsdale neighborhood with their daughter, and a little more than a year ago the DiNardo family became residents of Centre Market.
“This place is really happening with all of the businesses and the music in the street on the weekends. We really enjoy it, and the attraction to the deck doesn’t bother us at all,” Chasity explained. “It’s kind of a mini New York City down here most of the time. It has that feel about it, and there are always people bustling around.
“We totally dig the atmosphere, and our daughter, Michaela, is really into the arts, so this is probably the best place in Wheeling for us to live,” she said. “She’s 16 now, and she fits right in.”
“When you are a musician and you see everything there is down here at Centre Market, this is where you want to live,” explained Mike, the drummer for heavy metal band Curse the Wicked. “And then we found this place, and it had a studio and a huge garage; those were really big selling points to me. And the house is just beautiful.
“This house is large enough for everyone to be able to do their own thing if we want, and it also has some great living spaces, too,” he said. “We fell in love with the thought of having a loft-style home, so that’s why we pulled the trigger, bought it, and moved in. We love it here.”
The DiNardos, however, did not need to sculpt the interior of the structure because the most previous owner performed the vast majority of the heavy lifting. Following the beer distribution business, several light-industrial operations were based in the building before it was transformed into a three-floor, residential space.
“The former owner had made some color choices that I wouldn’t have selected, but otherwise we saw through everything else when determining the potential of the house,” Chasity said. “It was already turned into a home before we purchased it, so we didn’t have to make a lot of changes to the actual rooms that are inside, but we certainly put our touches on it once we moved in.
“And the most previous owner had gutted it and started fresh about nine years ago, from what we understand,” she explained. “And then we made it ours by changing the colors, and then this past winter we put the deck in out front, and that seems to be attracting a lot of attention. We think it’s confusing some people, too, because some people have asked us if it’s part of the Wheeling Brewing Company. When we explained that it’s our home, the reactions have been pretty funny.”
The couple own and operate DiNardo Flooring out of the bottom level of the house, where there is another large garage area that leads to the alley behind. Chasity completes the day-to-day business in her home office, and Mike and his employees perform the company’s installations throughout the tri-state region.
Mike has yet to construct a formal showroom for DiNardo Flooring because, well, the front deck topped the couple’s priority list.
“One day Chasity mentioned that since we didn’t have a yard or any space outside, we should cover up the ramp with a deck,” Mike said. “I immediately thought it was a great idea so that’s what we did this past winter. We wanted it to be ready for the warmer months because we knew it would be a lot of fun once all of the activity ramped up down here.
“We did discus what to do first because my business also needs a showroom for my clients to come in and see everything that the business can do,” he said. “But, yeah, the deck won out, and here it is. We’ll get to the showroom next.”
Once their workday is over, the DiNardo family usually heads out for dinner at one of the many eateries now located in the Centre Market area,
“We like it all; we really do,” Chasity said. “We visit Market Vines pretty often because all three of us like what’s on their menu very much, and we’re also great friends with the owners, Diane and Greg (Myers). They’re terrific people, and they make a lot of the fun stuff happen down here and deserve a lot of credit for that.
“Of course, we go to Coleman’s. Who doesn’t absolutely love those sandwiches? We also eat Vocelli’s pretty often, too, and we enjoy Later Alligator; the Wheeling Brewing Company has great food, and Mike really enjoys the products at Brew Keepers,” she said. “We’re all neighbors. We live here, and all of the business owners and other residents are great folks, and that’s why we have no complaints about any part of living here at Centre Market.”
(Photos by Steve Novotney)