FREE JIGSAW PUZZLES: Centerville restaurant offers cabin-fever relief with food orders

Sweeney’s Seafood Bar & Grill owners have been avid enthusiasts for years, so they decided to share during shortage

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

Centerville restaurant Sweeney's Seafood Bar & Grill wants to help fill a critical shortage during the coronavirus lockdown.

Not toilet paper, masks or sanitizer. Jigsaw puzzles.

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The restaurant is offering a free, very-gently-used (once, actually) jigsaw puzzle with every order over $20, according to Sweeney’s co-owner Holley Thompson. Multiple media reports in the last two weeks have documented a shortage of jigsaw puzzles as cooped-up American families seek relief from cabin fever that has accompanied stay-at-home orders.

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Enter Holley and her husband Larry Thompson, who co-own Sweeney's with partner and general manager Lisa Long. The Thompsons and their family are, shall we say, avid jigsaw-puzzle enthusiasts.

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Let’s let Holley take the story from there:

“After my husband and I retired from our senior executive positions at LexisNexis prior to owning Sweeney's, we started putting jigsaw puzzles together. Since then we have done hundreds. There's always one in process on the kitchen table.”

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“If friends or family visit, we just throw a tablecloth over the current project, knowing after eating, everyone will help put in more pieces. It's an entire family activity. Age is no restriction. In our eyes, it's really a positive addiction. Ours range in size from 500 to 1500 pieces with subjects across the board. Each was done once by us.”

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Normally, Thompson said, the family will donate the once-used puzzles to senior living facilities or non-profit agencies, but, given the current pandemic and lockdown of sorts, the Thompsons found themselves with backlog of sorts of finished puzzles.

“I read an article about the jigsaw puzzle scarcity, in the top 10 list of scarce items according to Amazon, right up there with toilet paper and Clorox wipes. We decided why not share them with our Sweeney’s Seafood Bar & Grill friends, so we have started offering them with carryout meals.”

“Some diners prefer to save them for others, while some say they'll return weekly as long as the supply continues. Larry and I had many yet to complete, so we continue working them while we sequester in place. We're thrilled others are enjoying the opportunity for family 'play' time at this moment.”

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Sweeney’s, located at 28 W. Franklin St. (Ohio 725) just west of Ohio 48,  is open from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday for curbside service. Orders may be placed by phone at 937-291-3474 between 3:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Today only, on Good Friday, April 10, there will be expanded phone-in order-taking hours from noon to 3:30 p.m. that will bring a 10 percent discount off the food portion. Gift cards are also available at a 20 percent discount of face value for use after the Sweeney’s returns to full dine-in service. The restaurant also offers wine and beer by the bottle, and is now offering its full bar menu, limit two alcoholic beverages per meal purchased.

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This weekend’s menu includes House-Made She-Crab Soup; appetizers such as Classic Shrimp Cocktail with House-Made Cocktail Sauce, House-Made Maryland Crab Cake, and Coconut Shrimp with House-Made Apricot Ginger Red Pepper Dipping Sauce; entrees such as Organic Bourbon BBQ Scottish Salmon with White Truffle Mashed Potatoes and Salad, Sea Scallops and Shrimp Linguini with salad, Jumbo Shrimp “Made Your Way” with cocktail sauce, rice pilaf and  salad, Grilled Fresh North Atlantic Halibut with Fresh Asparagus and Salad, Fried Battered Haddock with Sweeney’s Pub Fries and House-Made Cole slaw, Sesame Seed Encrusted Yellowfin Tuna with Broccoli and Salad, and “Sweeney’s Secret, Authentic Creole Jambalaya” with rice and salad; and house-made desserts.

Check out the Sweeney's Seafood Bar & Grill web site at and to place an order, call 937-291-3474 between 3:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. for curbside pickup between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

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