Look who’s turning 20: it’s Moguls Sports Pub. Come wish them a happy anniversary this weekend as they celebrate 20 years in Killington. Moguls has always been about the locals and building friendships in the community and that’s how they want to celebrate; with their friends. I, DJ Dave will kick off the festivities on Friday night at 10 p.m., Rick Redington and The Luv will continue the party on Saturday at 10 p.m. and then Redington closes the festivities on Sunday at 10 p.m. But don’t think the fun ends there because Moguls has a lot in store for their 20th season and on Nov. 1, they’ll announce their winter line-up.
Robert Salmeri, or Sal as he’s known to all, hails from Massachusetts and first came to Killington in 1979 as a weekender ski bum. He eventually moved here and got a job in the food and beverage department at Killington Resort. He delivered the food to all the base lodges. He then got a promotion and became the “Liquor Expeditor” which basically meant he collected all the empty beer cans and liquor bottles. His job had a fancy title without the fancy pay and at the end of a work week he didn’t have enough money to go play in Killington so he opened up his own bar in 1994. The first Moguls was inside the Inn of Six Mountains where Cedars Restaurant is now. It was originally called the Bistro, but Sal changed the name to Moguls. He ran it there for one season before moving into Gauchos (now Jax) in 1995. That became Moguls Saloon and stayed there for three years before moving to Zorbas (now On the Rocs) in 1999. That’s when it became Moguls Sports Pub. All of those buildings that Moguls inhabited were leased; Sal tried to buy each of them, to no avail. In 2005, he bought the Rail Fence Inn which is where Moguls currently resides. Sal completely renovated the building, and turned it into the successful bar it is today. He has since expanded the building by adding a dining room and a deck.
Sal’s food is award winning, yet he has no culinary experience. The first Moguls had a pizza oven and a frialator and he was the cook. He knew how to make pizzas, and then added a beef stew, “my staples shall we say,” says Sal. Moguls has had a burger and beer special from day one. “Since I opened that was one of the staples. We cooked our burgers back then in the pizza oven. We baked them before the trend. Everything came out of the frialator or the pizza oven at the old Moguls. We didn’t have the luxury of a grill or a griddle. It was basically, ‘this is what we can cook on and this is what we got.’” He expanded his menus by going down to Nashville and Memphis and learning BBQ. He attended the “Memphis in May” bbq competition and learned a lot. Growing up he always manned the grill, so he had that going for him. His food has won a half dozen dine-around and other Jack Daniels competitions, and Moguls is the current reigning Jack Daniels drink recipe contest champion, for a drink made by his bartender, Chel Lie.
The current Moguls is a unique place. It has a mini golf course outside along with horseshoes, ping-pong and bocce. Inside you’ll find numerous TV’s for watching sports; video games and pool tables. It also has a brand new game room downstairs, offering fun for all ages. It’s like being on a boardwalk, but you’re inside. You can play skee-ball and other games to win tickets to use for prizes.
The most talked about feature at Moguls is the ceiling which resembles a New England Patriots football field. Now, that ceiling is adorned with dollar bills from people all over the world. On opening night in this location, a customer who owns the “No Name Pub” in Key West threw a dollar bill on the ceiling which he explained he does at his bar. It’s a challenge to get it to stick and it must be done with a quarter and a tack. You can write your name or anything you want on the bill to show it’s yours. People now come back to show their friends which dollar bill is theirs. Sal takes down the money every once in a while and donates it to the Animal Rescue League. Though, since the money is defaced, he just ends up writing them a check and the bills go back to the ceiling. Sal and Moguls do a lot for charity. Some of the past recipients include the Sherburne and Pittsfield Fire Departments, the Killington Rec Department, Little League, Meals on Wheels, and the Snowmobile Travelers Club of Pittsfield. This past August, Sal even got in a freezing cold dunk tank for ALS.
Besides this weekends festivities, next Wednesday night at 5 p.m., Moguls holds the annual pumpkin bowling contest for Halloween. Moguls also does turkey bowling the night before Thanksgiving. Last February, Sal built a curling court for the Jack Daniels Winter Olympics and hopes to make another one this year. Coming soon on Wednesday nights will be a brand new game show run by yours truly, which will be a battle of the bars. Monday nights, enjoy free pool on two pool tables. Recently, Sal built a stage for his music acts, and one of those, Rick Redington, now calls Moguls home.
Moguls is the place to watch sporting events because there is a TV in every room, including the bathrooms, plus it has the Sunday Ticket and can show any game — even the Raiders. Whether it’s for the food, drink, games or music, good times are always had by all at Moguls. Sal says, “Moguls was built for the locals and for the families. It’s affordable so that a family of four can come and have a meal and have a good time. As for the locals, let them have some fun without spending a boat load of money.” Ski ya there!