Tradition meats passion at Hank’s Hoagies for owners Tom and Lisa Owens.
Located at 1224 Woodlawn St. in Scranton’s Green Ridge section, the shop has maintained the same menu for 65 years, passing down the recipes from owner to owner.
Chef’s Table chatted with Tom Owens about the hoagie shop that’s been a neighborhood favorite for decades.
Q: When did you open?
A: We opened in 1997, but Hank’s Hoagies has been open since 1955.
Q: What is the history of the restaurant?
A: Hank’s was opened in 1955 by Hank and Myra Landt. It started as a little grocery store that sold sandwiches. In 1977, John Loughey took over the business. Then, Dennis and Suzanne Sullivan took over in 1983, which is when they pretty much turned it into a full-time hoagie shop. In 1997, they sold it to me after (I tried) to buy it for seven years. I think I was starting to bug them, so they finally sold it to me. I will always be grateful to them.
Q: What type of food do you serve?
A: We just sell sandwiches and hoagies, which are available hot or cold. There are chips and drinks available for purchase as well.
Q: What’s your best- selling hoagie?
A: Our best-selling hoagies are the Italian and regular. They are basically the same thing, but the Italian is a little spicier.
Q: How did your menu come to be?
A: The menu has been passed down to each owner. When I took over, we added the hot hoagies to the menu, such as the Steak and Cheese Hoagie, the Hot Ham and Cheese Hoagie, and the Tuna Melt.
Q: What type of seating do you have?
A: We only have five or six stools, but you would be amazed at how many kids can fit in here. Although, now we have taken the stools out so there is no seating allowed inside.
Q: Do you offer any specials?
A: We just have a small menu. We like to think that everything on it is special.
Q: Do you offer catering, event space, etc.?
A: We make trays of hoagies, which are great for parties or small get-togethers.
Q: What is it like having famous people visit your restaurant?
A: Hmm, good question. … Honestly it seems like they’re normal, everyday people. We usually do get some spectators when former Vice President Joe Biden comes to town, but people are usually good.
Q: Where do you see the restaurant headed in the future?
A: Massive remodeling — just kidding. Hopefully, just to keep running the business the same way it has been for the last 60-plus years.
Q: Are there any changes to the way you operate because of COVID-19?
A: As of now, we are takeout only, although I do miss the people hanging out here. But you do what you have to do.
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