McDonnell’s Family Restaurant has been a staple in Carbondale for 65 years.
The establishment at 17 S. Main St., serves comfort food in a setting full of antiques and artifacts. Patrons can enjoy breakfast all day as well as lunches and dinners.
Chef’s Table chatted with owner Robert McDonnell about the restaurant his father started in 1956.
Q: What is the history of the restaurant?
A: In 1956, my dad, Bob McDonnell, purchased Zazzera’s Luncheonette and changed the name to McDonnell’s, which was a few blocks from where the restaurant now stands. It operated for 12 years until 1968, when it was destroyed by a fire. The present site (McDonnell’s) opened in 1969 and used to be the former Elite Restaurant. In 1974, the building next door was bought and the seating expanded to include 159 seats, and a new kitchen was built. The building was renovated again in January 1981.
Q: What kind of food do you serve, and what is available for people with special diets?
A: We serve breakfast (all day), lunch and dinner. We try to accommodate those with special diets.
Q: What are your most-ordered menu items?
A: Some of those include home-cooked comfort food, homemade sauces and gravy, dessert, breakfast omelets, home fries, a chili burger and turkey clubs. We sell a lot of Italian dishes.
Q: How did your menu come to be?
A: We have developed it over the years, and it’s constantly changing.
Q: How would you describe the restaurant’s atmosphere?
A: The décor is early American with authentic barn wood and heavy beams, plus lots of antiques and artifacts.
Q: What type of seating do you offer?
A: Indoor seating with tables, booths and a counter.
Q: What kinds of promotions do you offer?
A: Daily lunch and dinner specials and weekend specials that include some ethnic food favorites.
Q: Do you offer catering, event space, etc.?
A: We have a separate catering business with an outdoor picnic grove (it is seasonal) and offsite catering. The restaurant number is the best number to use to get more information on the venue.
Q: Are you currently offering delivery, takeout or curbside pickup?
A: We offer takeout and curbside pickup.
Q: Where do you see the restaurant headed in the future?
A: We have been here for 65 years and hope to continue to serve the Carbondale area.
McDonnell’s Family Restaurant
Address: 17 S. Main St., Carbondale
Owner: Robert McDonnell
Hours: Mondays through Saturdays, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Sundays, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Laura Rysz is the features copy editor and calendar editor at The Times-Tribune and runs the Talk of the Times column, which focuses on local fundraisers and other events. She also writes Chef’s Table that profiles restaurants around the region. Additionally, Laura curates events online on AccessNEPA.com. Laura is involved in the special Mother’s Day edition and curates occasional features Marry Memories and Times Travelers. She is a graduate of Haddonfield Memorial High School, New Jersey, and earned an English professional writing degree with a minor in mass communications from King’s College, Wilkes-Barre. She also earned a certificate in Social Media Marketing from Rutgers Business School. Contact: email@example.com; 570-348-9100 x5228.