BY KEVIN MCCONLOGUE
Restaurants have taken as big a hit during the COVID-19 pandemic as any business, and for restaurants like the Alter House, located at 926 Lackawanna Trail in Clarks Summit, it has been a particularly challenging time.
Alter House owner Elisha Nolan started the restaurant with her husband Patrick in April of 2018, with business booming for most of the time. The last year, however, had not been too kind to the restaurant.
“We are a fancy, upscale restaurant that in the past year has been trying to pivot to takeout,” Nolan said. “Not many people would think of us for takeout, I would say that our food does not travel well in takeout containers. We tried to alter our menu as best as we could, but it was very challenging.”
Nolan calls the Alter House a “farm-fresh fancy restaurant” with a lot of homemade foods and seasonal items on the menu. She said people love their New York Strip steak, and any type of food made on their woodfire grill.
“Along with all of our meat dishes, we have a lot of vegetarian and gluten free options,” Nolan said. “All of our pasta and most of our desserts are also made in-house. It’s usually very busy in the kitchen all of the time.”
To go with all of the food, the Alter House also has a fully functioning bar with more than 100 kinds of wines to choose from, along with lots of foreign and domestic beer options. Although people can’t sit at the bar, bar manager Kelly McNulty is still busy.
“We still have to prep the bar, because people are going to want drinks at their tables,” McNulty said. “Keeping track of all that we have at the bar is a big job too. Even when people can’t sit at the bar, it’s still busy.”
Another main feature of the Alter House is its private dining room. Nolan said that if people are having a family party, business meeting or gathering, that the private dining room is a great place for a gathering.
“We like to call it a fancy place, but not a too fancy place,” Nolan said. “All customers have great things to say about our private dining room.”
The Alter House just opened for indoor dining again on Thursday night after more than a month’s respite. Nolan said it was a tough decision as she is an immuno-compromised individual.
“It’s been hard,” Nolan said. “But we have all of the proper safety measures in place to keep all of our customers and staff safe, which is the number one priority. I care about my staff deeply and would never put them in jeopardy.”
Nolan is taking the opening back up slowly, as the restaurant only will be open Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights from 5 to 10p.m. Reservations are also strongly encouraged as the restaurant can only be at 50 percent capacity to comply with social distancing measures. Take out orders will still be available.
“Everyone is excited to open back up,” Nolan said. “We had a good first night back open, and we’re hoping that continues.”
You can make a reservation at the Alter House by calling 570-319-6665. Walk-ins will only be seated if there is space available.