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JennyUptown

Undiscovered gems in NEPA

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In the Old Forge/Pizza Capital thread, slkinsey made the brilliant suggestion that we dedicate a topic to the hidden food finds in my native Northeastern PA.

I'll post a few of my faves, but how about you? What have you found while living/visiting and eating near Route 81?

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Pizza L'oven, 1259 Wyoming Avenue in Exeter PA sells the rectangular pizzas that are discussed on the LaForge Pizza thread.

We run programs just outside of Exeter a few times a year and Friday night is always Pizza L'oven night. They are great pizzas. Truly great pizzas.


Holly Moore

"I eat, therefore I am."

HollyEats.Com

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The ORIGINAL CONEY ISLAND Texas Weiners on Cedar Ave in downtown Scranton, under the railroad trestle. Like stepping back a century, and the dogs are good.

As are the Texas Weiners at TEXAS LUNCH, Pittston Ave and Birch St., in South Scranton.

VINCE THE PIZZA PRINCE www.vincetheprince.com the fanatically-followed cult pizza, just a few blocks away at 500 Pittston Ave.


Rich Pawlak

 

Reporter, The Trentonian

Feature Writer, INSIDE Magazine
Food Writer At Large

MY BLOG: THE OMNIVORE

"In Cerveza et Pizza Veritas"

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Jenny, my parents live in NEPA (outside of Montrose) but when I go to see them I never stop to eat, since it's only a three hour drive from where I live now, so I have no info to contribute! :laugh:

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When I was growing up in NEPA, one of my favorite places to have dinner was Robata in downtown Scranton. It was a teppanyaki style restaurant with a sushi bar. Considered veeeeeerrrry exotic back in the day (this was the 80s).

It was located right on Courthouse Square yet the block was a little shady. To me, it seemed kind of dark and mysterious, in a good way. Upon entering and being greeted by a kimono-wearing hostess (and at this point, the employees were actually Japanese), you could check out the large raised bar to the left where people sipped sake as well as fruity Mai Tais out of large Buddha vessels with a hole in the belly button for a straw.

My folks were never into anything exotic so forget sushi. They liked everything else though from the tiny salad with ginger dressing to the onion broth with mushrooms to the part where the chef would try to flip shrimp into their mouth. One of my favorite parts of the visit, though, was simply the interesting channeled spoons. My mother's older sister (well-known as the black sheep of the family and quite an instigator of fun times) and I would put a little soup in the bowl of the spoon and slurp it down out of the handle until my mother got aggravated and told us to stop in an exaggerated stage whisper.

Robata has since closed. In its later years, everything declined - its cleanliness, service and yes, the food. But teppanyaki lives on in NEPA at Kyoto in Clarks Summit. Way better than any Benihana outpost or clone, the owner (Vinnie), a wonderful host from Hong Kong, serves up the hibachi standards as well as other more inventive specialties. Better yet, the area is finally ready for good sushi and Vinnie does his best to provide, working with top purveyors from NYC.

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(and at this point, the employees were actually Japanese),

Are you sure?

This destroys some of my ideas about Japanese ethnographic ideas in the US.


Herb aka "herbacidal"

Tom is not my friend.

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(and at this point, the employees were actually Japanese),

Are you sure?

This destroys some of my ideas about Japanese ethnographic ideas in the US.

Positive. We went there enough to become quite familiar with the staff.

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yep, the employees at robata were definitely japanese....i remember many (then) exotic meals there from my misspent youth. the place in clark's summit is really quite good....they get their fish direct from new york on the martz bus (i've seen the packsge, well packed in ice and coolers) which probably means it's as fresh as anything that has been cruising around the city for a few hours!

... i have to say i really miss john k's wings...patsels is very nice, and there are a few restaurants around clark's summit that look promising, but does anybody have any good suggestions for decent old fashioned bar food? my family used to love jinn's, which is like a roadhouse in maybe factoryville, but the last few times weren't so great, and as i like to spend quality time there in the summer, i'm wondering if there's something new i might not yet know. anybody?

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Julia's in Old Forge is a bar that serves food, however it's not like any bar food I've ever had. They serve a lot of seafood and (for reasons unknown to me) most of the entrees are Mexican.

As for drinks there, you can't go wrong with the Jonestown punch. You, several of your friends, many straws and six (I think) kinds of rum to go with the juice and boozy fruit. :blink:

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In the next coupla months, I have a funny feeling PIZZA CLUB will be heading to Old Forge for pizza. Arcaro & Genell's, Maxie's, Club 17, and maybe even Revello's and a side trip to Vince The Pizza Prince. Any new Old Forge pizza places garnering attention up there?

Your mention of Julia's brought back memories of a place called JULIE'S in Avoca that put out a kind of pizza that today would be called pizza rustica, but back then was just called "Avoca-style pizza": very thin, rectagular pies, cut into small squares, spicy sauce, mix of mozz and American, all molten orange, impossible to stop eating, served up on its own pizza peel. Boy, I had a good childhood.


Rich Pawlak

 

Reporter, The Trentonian

Feature Writer, INSIDE Magazine
Food Writer At Large

MY BLOG: THE OMNIVORE

"In Cerveza et Pizza Veritas"

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Seriously, people always make fun of me growing up in the area, but I remember it fondly. :smile:

I didn't make it out in Old Forge when I was home for Easter...ate [and drank] at Kyoto and had brunch at Patsel's.

Not much changes in Old Forge, to be honest! I think you need to take the pizza tour folks through some of the divey bars in the area. Maybe Papparazzi (which has a new name, I think). Tink's in Downtown Scranton - ha, ha! But skip the Blue Room. :wink:

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hello ladies and gentlemen

I figured I would add some of my favorite places to the list.

Tony & Sons Diner 570-288-6612

708 Wyoming Ave, Kingston - this place has some of the best sandwiches I have ever had. The breakfast there is wonderful and talking to the owner/cook is an experience all in itself.

Abes Hotdogs 570-824-8222

419 S Main St, Wilkes Barre - the first of the three abes in the wyoming valley (all by different owners I believe) and still the best.

Par 4 Cafe - 570-829-3011

128 Parrish St., Wilkes-Barre - a small fine dining restaurant. it is under new ownership and I haven't been there since, but the previous owner ran a wonderful menu.

Lower End Pizza 570-779-9186

462 W. State Street, Larksville - great pizza. †his place has the best pagach in NEPA (pagach is a potato & cheese pizza-like pie) definately worth a try.

Hillside farms 570-675-1300

1 Tunkhannock Hwy, Dallas - homemade ice cream and fresh dairy milk.

these should keep someone busy for a little while but I will add more as I think of them.

-.

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Par 4 Cafe - 570-829-3011

128 Parrish St., Wilkes-Barre - a small fine dining restaurant. it is under new ownership and I haven't been there since, but the previous owner ran a wonderful menu.

Pretty good beer selection, too.


John

"I can't believe a roasted dead animal could look so appealing."--my 10 year old upon seeing Peking Duck for the first time.

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Woody Brown's - 570-826-1914

382 E. Northampton Street, Wilkes-Barre - Old southern BBQ and fried chicken. I went for the first time 2 weeks ago and wasn't disappointed. It was refreshing to come to a locally owned BBQ shop in the wake of the chain restaurant invasion we are currently experiencing. A rack of ribs runs about $12 and there are numerous sides to choose from. (open wed-sun)

Par 4 Cafe update - this business has since closed. but I hear that they we be re-opening under the original ownership after July 5th.

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New to the forum, I was shocked to see some of my faves already mentioned. So, as a life long Northeast PA boy, I contribute my top ten...mostly off the beaten path but all continually reliable. Number one is set in stone...the rest fluctuate a bit, so no order on 2-10.

1. Tony's in Kingston. These were the Italian sandwiches I dreamed about as a teenager...only I didn't find this place until I was 30. Start with the Soprano sandwich or omelet and use the new menus (heresy!) if you must. Jimmy (Tony) is like a Magician on that grill. Ignore the politics and enjoy a truly one-of-a-kind experience. Porketta and eggs? Why not?

2. Par Four, Wilkes-Barre. My last meal with the new owners didn't "birdie", but didn't "bogey" either. This is great fusion cuisine in a place you would normally drive past. We were shocked that the P4 wasn't filled on a Saturday night (not sure why), and now it looks like Moose is coming back to the rescue.

3. Revello's, Old Forge. The best red pizza in NEPA. Or maybe it's...

4. Ghigiarelli's, Old Forge. Right across the street. Or if you want something different, there's always...

5. Pizza Perfect, Trucksville. The best of the "greasy, square oniony pizza" in the Victory Pig style.

6. Katana, Wilkes-Barre. The best sushi, especially when Suzuki mans the bar. Tuna tatakki appetizer, yellowtail and mackeral plus eel for dessert. What a meal!

7. Glider Diner, Scranton. Wonderful pie. Even better Roast Beef Sandwiches and Fries or Mashed Potatoes, both covered in gravy.

8. Tony Stella's Goodfellos, Exeter. Intimate, cozy Italian. Pricey, but worth it for special occasions. Spoil yourself.

9. Amber Indian Restaurant, Moosic. Better than any I've had in NYC or Philly. Onion fritter appetizer and Lamb Jalfrazie as the main course (tangy orange sauce).

10. Michaelangelo's, Clarks Summit. Continental (French). Another birthday and anniversary place. Great service too.

11. Woody Brown's, Wilkes-Barre. I'm squeezing in my latest favorite. Ribs, chicken and fried fish...cheap authentic and yummy.

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Ghigarelli's and Revello's---better than Arcaro & Genell's?


Rich Pawlak

 

Reporter, The Trentonian

Feature Writer, INSIDE Magazine
Food Writer At Large

MY BLOG: THE OMNIVORE

"In Cerveza et Pizza Veritas"

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Rich, I'd say so.

There are really more differences in the Old Forge Pizzas than most people would think. Revello's (for me) has the best sauce, slightly sweet but still tomatoey...and not overpowered by the cheese. Ghigiarelli's has a very (for OF) cripsy crust and packs a punch (onions!). It also has a tomatoey lean.

We tried A & G a few months back, the white was like I remembered (solid---but I'm not a big white pizza fan), the red sauce was "sour" in comparision to Revello's, but good. For me, the Italian pasta dishes at A & G are often exceptional...the linguini in oil and garlic was heavenly last summer!!

If I had to pick a third pizza in the "PCotW" or immediate environs, it would be Maxie's, which might actually be in Taylor, but whatever! And then there's the red at Arcaro's on Taylor Hill :wacko:

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If I had to pick a third pizza in the "PCotW" or immediate environs, it would be Maxie's, which might actually be in Taylor, but whatever! And then there's the red at Arcaro's on Taylor Hill :wacko:

Stan - where in NEPA are you from? I grew up less than a mile from Maxie's. :smile:

How about Club 17 - opinions?

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Jenny, I'm from Exeter/West Pittston/Wyoming.

The last Club 17 red square tray (don't say "pie" in Old Forge, they are "trays") we ordered had some pretty tasty red sauce, but the texture varied wildly from the corner slices to the middles. I especially liked the ends, even my wife did...and she's not so much a crust person. We would certainly order from there again.

--

Also, I've see you've been to Patsel's. That's one we haven't made it to yet. We've heard "great atmosphere, but ridiculously expensive". They have Sunday brunch now, so maybe that's the way to tackle it first? Was it snooty? I'm not a big snooty fan, but I'll put up with it for first rate food!

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Patsel's is definitely more upscale than a lot of places in the area. I personally don't find it to be snooty, but then again, everyone's experiences are different.

I've never made it there for dinner, just brunch. The place is really colorful and lively; the food, IMHO, very tasty. Try it. :wink:

As for Club 17, I always liked the double-crust white. mmmm

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Rich, I'd say so. 

There are really more differences in the Old Forge Pizzas than most people would think.  Revello's (for me) has the best sauce, slightly sweet but still tomatoey...and not overpowered by the cheese.  Ghigiarelli's has a very (for OF) cripsy crust and packs a punch (onions!).   It also has a tomatoey lean.

We tried A & G a few months back, the white was like I remembered (solid---but I'm not a big white pizza fan), the red sauce was "sour" in comparision to Revello's, but good.   For me, the Italian pasta dishes at A & G are often exceptional...the linguini in oil and garlic was heavenly last summer!! 

If I had to pick a third pizza in the "PCotW" or immediate environs, it would be Maxie's, which might actually be in Taylor, but whatever!   And then there's the red at Arcaro's on Taylor Hill :wacko:

I grew up on the Taylor Hill Arcaro's, when it was still called Tomeo's, in the 60s and 70s (parents still live in Moosic). Tomeo's was the cult fave pizza back then for people in Scranton. The last few times Ive tried it recently, it was not up to snuff, not piping hot, and not a crispy crust as I remember it.

I got to try Maxie's a coupla years back and it was superb OF pizza, yes, and just over the border in Taylor, PA.

I also have a serious thing for Scranton's Vince The Pizza Prince, not OF pizza by any means, but weirdly delicious and molten. I still love Arcaro & Genell's the best of all of them; I think Revello's has much too much cheese for my taste.


Rich Pawlak

 

Reporter, The Trentonian

Feature Writer, INSIDE Magazine
Food Writer At Large

MY BLOG: THE OMNIVORE

"In Cerveza et Pizza Veritas"

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Jenny---we'll try Patsel's for brunch!

Rich---Revello's is like "mother's milk" to me! Perhaps parallel to your Pizza Prince! I've grown up on the stuff (along with Gabello's in Duryea, which has unfortunately hit the skids) and my taste buds are too set in their ways to know otherwise. However, most of my out-of-town friends have flipped over Rev's too. Also, I just stumbled on your Pizza Club posts. Would you say that Lombardi's is the perfect introduction to Philly pie? Count me in for Old Forge...and if you need any "pre-visit" research, I'll be glad to eat er, investigate.

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Jenny---we'll try Patsel's for brunch!

Rich---Revello's is like "mother's milk" to me!  Perhaps parallel to your Pizza Prince!  I've grown up on the stuff (along with Gabello's in Duryea, which has unfortunately hit the skids) and my taste buds are too set in their ways to know otherwise.  However, most of my out-of-town friends have flipped over Rev's too.  Also, I just stumbled on your Pizza Club posts.  Would you say that Lombardi's is the perfect introduction to Philly pie?  Count me in for Old Forge...and if you need any "pre-visit" research, I'll be glad to eat er, investigate.

Well, Lombardi's is a NY import, coal-oven pizza joint, as is nearby Pietro's. For the finest Philly has to offer, it would easily have to be Tacconelli's. MY personal favorite pizzas in the area are in Trenton, NJ, at Delorenzo's Tomato Pies (see around p.13 of the Pizza Club posts).

As for an Old Forge Pizza Club caravan, I would like to take the gang to:

Arcaro & Genell's

Revello's

Ghigarelli's

Maxie's

I'm thinking maybe a Saturday in October.


Rich Pawlak

 

Reporter, The Trentonian

Feature Writer, INSIDE Magazine
Food Writer At Large

MY BLOG: THE OMNIVORE

"In Cerveza et Pizza Veritas"

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Rich, those are good choices!!! All within a few mile drive and close enough in style to warrant comparison. Do you think the pizza club will buy into the whole "square" tray concept? That's a tough sell for many. Also, some round pie fans find it undercooked. (A co-worker, who grew up in New Haven on Pepe's, gets take-out from Revello's and Colarusso's and then bakes the pizza a little longer!!! It's never well-done enough for him).

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Slightly off topic...

I am having such a craving for a "Blueberry Delight" from Old River Road Bakery. They closed all (or most) of their storefronts, right?

I have a pound of blueberries - how I wish I could recreate that recipe!!

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