Woman from Leechburg, Local Restaurants Featured on HGTV’s “My Lottery Dream House”


Two Alle-Kiski Valley restaurants and a woman from Leechburg were scheduled to be featured on Friday in an episode of HGTV’s “My Lottery Dream Home”.

The series follows its host, David Bromstad, as he helps lottery winners buy luxury properties with their new winnings.

Friday’s show was scheduled to feature Leechburg woman Charity Stivason, who won $ 1 million in April 2020. Her bounty came from a $ 20 scratch-off lottery ticket she bought at Sprankle’s Neighborhood Market in Leechburg.

The two restaurants, Moonlight Inn and Twisted Thistle, served as the setting for talks with Stivason.

“I thought it was a joke when a producer called me at work,” said Nico Dongiovanni, co-owner of Moonlight Inn. “But I remembered someone in Leechburg won the lottery.”

The show filmed a scene from the covered patio of the restaurant, founded in 1985 by his grandfather, Franco Dongiovanni. The patio offers stunning views of West Vandergrift.

The family-run Moonlight Inn is located on La Belle Vue Road in Vandergrift and serves classic American cuisine.

“I heard that a real estate professional recommended our spot to producers,” said Nico Dongiovanni of why the Moonlight was chosen.

Moonlight employees kept the news a secret for over a month.

“We weren’t telling anyone and I had to sign a nondisclosure agreement,” Dongiovanni said. “The crew were friendly and down to earth, and they were rave about the restaurant.”

The Moonlight Inn has not been financially compensated but is happy to receive the publicity.

“We weren’t that busy that day, so customers didn’t even ask what was going on,” Dongiovanni said.

Leechburg’s Twisted Thistle also hosted film crews at the restaurant in June. Owner Linda Alworth said the shoot took place on a day when the restaurant was normally closed.

“It’s fabulous and exciting, and we are so happy for Charity and her family,” Alworth said. (The Twisted Thistle closed in late June for the summer due to understaffing.)

Stivason, who described the filming process as “fun,” saw three houses on the show.

“I was looking for something that didn’t require any maintenance,” said Stivason, who is still a full-time direct care worker.

Stivason said she hadn’t watched the show before, on the air since 2015, but her adult daughter suggested she apply.

“I emailed and the show called me and asked me to submit pictures of dream homes and tell my story,” Stivason said.

Stivason’s lottery story was particularly poignant, as she was still mourning the October 2019 death of her husband, Travis Stivason, when she won the prize. Stivason said she often thinks of her late husband while filming.

“It was a great experience, and David is so down to earth,” Stivason said, adding that she hadn’t laughed like that in over a year.

She recently moved into her new home. It’s in southwestern Pennsylvania, but the exact location is not revealed on the show.

“Travis would love this house, and I was thinking what we would have bought for a retirement home,” Stivason said. The couple had been married for 24 years.

Stivason said she plans to monitor herself from her home.

“It’s nice to see the Leechburg area in a good light,” she said.

The episode of “My Lottery Dream Home” was scheduled to air Friday at 9 p.m. on HGTV.

Joyce Hanz is a writer for Tribune-Review. You can contact Joyce at 724-226-7725, jhanz@triblive.com or via Twitter .



Gladys T. Hensley

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