At the Smith’s Restaurant reopening are, from left, representative of the Scranton Chamber of Commerce, Scranton Mayor Chris Doherty and Smith family members son, Dave; daughters, Hollie and Luanne; mother, Sandie; son, Tim; father, Dave; and son, Keith.
A West Wyoming family has preserved a piece of Scranton history by reopening the legendary Smith’s Restaurant which operated at 1402 Cedar Avenue in Scranton for 76 years was closed in 2010. Dave Smith of West Wyoming, no relation to the restaurant Smiths, drove by the restaurant daily on his way to work in Scranton.
Knowing his sons and daughters had tons of experience in the restaurant business as everything from servers to managers, he came up with an idea: why don’t the Smiths but Smith’s?
They did, though it took some time, Dave’s daughter Luanne Stach said. “We first looked at the restaurant in October of 2010 but didn’t acquire it until March 24 of this year. Originally, we had hoped to be opened very quickly but as with any venture comes complications. Many items in the restaurant had to be brought up to date. The whole family cleaned, scrubbed and painted for almost an entire month before we were able to open.”
The new Smiths had a quiet reopening of Smith’s on April 19, 2011. The grand opening was two weeks ago on July 12. Luanne said the family’s considerable restaurant experience was a big plus. “All of us had worked for a chain Mexican restaurant. My brother, Dave and I were managers. My brothers Keith and Tim worked there in the bar and kitchen and my sister was a server. As a family we’ve worked in a lot of different types of restaurants in many different roles from your local diner to Denny’s. My sister, Hollie Barto, was most recently a GM for Denny’s restaurant chain. So we all bring a little something different to the table.
“My parents, on the other hand, never worked in or owned a restaurant before. Because it is all new to them that’s where the challenge is; explaining sales trends, money necessary to run a restaurant, etc.”
Smith’s was established in 1934 and had a long successful run with a sterling reputation, but ran into hard times at the end and the bank foreclosed in July of 2010. It was last owned by State Rep. Ken Smith, D-112, Dunmore.
The new Smith’s is a traditional family-run business. Mom, Sandie makes most of the soups. Hollie is a server and cook with her brother, Tim. Brother Keith is the marketing guy. Brother Dave can fix anything. Dave, the patriarch, who found the restaurant, is the paper work man. Luanne makes the ethnic dishes, cooks and serves.
“Our kids, grandkids, and extended family all work at the restaurant,” Luanne said. “It is truly a family restaurant.”
Though the new Smiths didn’t retain any of he old Smith’s recipes there is something in common between the old and new besides a family name – turkey.
“Apparently they used to wait around the block for their turkey dinners,” Luanne said. “We are seeing a trend with our turkey days also. They’re not around the block yet but for $6 on Thursday from 11a.m. to 3 p.m. we serve turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and a beverage.”
The restaurant serves off beat items such as orange-cranberry pancakes and peanut butter and jelly milkshakes and homemade dishes such as pierogies, haluski and piggies. Smith’s also makes home-baked bread and offers a Sunday brunch. Smith’s is also serving daily $6.00 lunch meal deals such as Meatloaf Monday and Polish Wednesday.
“We have seen a lot of customers who are new to us who used to eat at the old Smith’s and they seem to be very pleased,” Luann said. “The old Smith’s had the restaurant for 76 years. We can only hope and pray that we are as successful as they were.”
1402 Cedar Avenue, Scranton. Hours: Monday thru Saturday 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday 7a.m. to 3 p.m. Phone: (570) 344-4403.