The Avenue caters to the customer.
And the restaurant at 22 Wyoming Ave., Wyoming, counts among those ranks the likes of President Barack Obama, who stopped there in 2008, and Diane Sawyer, who visited with her team while filming a “20/20” segment on the nation’s working class in 2016.
During normal business hours, the restaurant recommend reservations on busier nights and accepts reservations any day of the week. Currently, patrons can get the restaurant’s full breakfast, lunch and dinner menus as well as sample its specials for takeout. The restaurant is providing catering for pickup as well.
Chef’s Table chatted with owner David Krappa, who prides himself on the restaurant’s ability to adapt and provide the best customer service.
Q: When did you open?
A: The Avenue originally opened as the Avenue Diner on Jan. 24, 2004. On Nov. 29, 2016, we reopened as the Avenue Restaurant and Catering.
Q: What is the history of the restaurant?
A: This was a location that seemed to be a staple in the Wyoming Valley area. Prior to us opening, the original owners were here for almost 50 years as the R & J Diner. Many local families from the area met or worked here as kids and continued to visit for generations to come. Before we came to be the present owners, and officially became who and what we are today, the restaurant would change hands one more time, as the Courthouse Diner. When we became the Avenue Diner in 2004, we never imagined we would be where we are at today or have the success we did. Our success however is a testament to not only community support but dedicated staff that have been with us from day one as well. Everyone jokes that at some point, everyone has been to the Ave, and for some reason our little restaurant has even piqued the attention of a few famous people. In 2008, President Obama stopped in for a visit while he was campaigning and had a piece of banana cream pie. In 2016, we had a visit from Diane Sawyer and her team while they were in the area filming.
Q: What type of food do you serve?
A: We specialize in Italian and American cuisine and serve breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week. We serve everything from the homemade classics to specialty items, striving to not only keep our customers happy but also to stand out as a business and stay relevant within the industry. We have even won a few awards for best breakfast and best restaurant/casual dining and have gained notoriety for our famous Lobster Crazy Special and our famous French Onion Soup as well. We like to think that what makes us stand out is our dedication to serving our customers only the best.
Q: What’s your specialty?
A: We specialize in comfort food but cater to the needs of all of our customers by providing a wide variety of the age-old classics as well as seafood specials on Wednesdays and Fridays, when we serve our Lobster Tail Special; Prime Rib Special on Thursdays; Steak Specials on Saturday nights; and Italian Specials on Sundays. We make a variety of homemade soups, and our French Onion Soup has become a favorite for many of our customers. On Tuesdays, we serve a $3.99 breakfast special that includes coffee, eggs, home fries, choice of meat and toast.
Q: How did your menu come to be?
A: When we initially opened in 2004, our menu was built around the classics with the focus being on great homemade food at an affordable price. As we grow and change as a business, so do the needs of our customers. We will always continue to serve the classics, but we keep coming up with new ideas and new specials and feature nights.
Q: What are your most popular dishes?
A: Our half-pound Lobster Tail and Prime Rib specials along with our $3.99 breakfast special are some of our most popular feature specials. We have a variety of fountain drinks and juices and offer fresh-brewed coffee as well as homemade fresh-brewed iced tea as well.
Q: What type of seating do you have?
A: The front of our restaurant contains 14 large booths that comfortably fit 4 people. We also have counter seating with approximately 10 bar-back chairs and one original stool that President Obama and Diane Sawyer both sat on when they visited our restaurant. Our back dining room offers a bit more privacy for our customers and contains tables with approximate seating for four to six guests with the option to accommodate more when needed. On Friday nights, our back dining room is usually packed with customers who come in for our Lobster Crazy Special.
A: What kinds of entertainment do you offer?
Q: Some of our newer guests are surprised when they come in on the nights we offer entertainment. We like to think that even though we are a small establishment, adding entertainment over the years has separated us from other restaurants and been what we felt was an added touch to the overall ambience.
Q: Do you offer catering, event space, etc.?
A: Our back room is used for private catered events and can fit up to 75 people comfortably. We host a wide variety of events including baby showers, bridal showers, birthday parties, anniversary parties, funerals, business meetings and graduation parties, just to name a few. As the primary caterers for Wyoming Hose Company 2, we can also offer seating for our guests on a much larger scale. We are still able to provide our guests with the same great food catered by the Ave, and we have recently paired up with Just Fred Catering to offer our guests some of the best catered food in the valley. Two for the price of one.
Q: Where do you see the restaurant headed?
A: In the future, we hope to continue growing as a business and as a family. We feel that many of our customers come here not only for the good food but also for the family-oriented environment. We strive to go above and beyond for our customers and to provide the best possible customer service with the end goal being everyone leaves full and happy.
Q: Are you currently offering takeout, curbside pickup or delivery?
A: With the current situation during quarantine, we are open for takeout but offering curbside pickup and delivery locally. We are still providing our full breakfast, lunch and dinner menu as well as all of our feature specials and added a few new ones in. We are also still providing catering for pickup as well.
The Avenue Restaurant and Catering
Address: 22 Wyoming Ave., Wyoming
Owner: David Krappa
Cuisine: Italian and American
Current hours: Sundays through Thursdays, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Fridays and Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.; open for takeout and offers curbside pickup and local delivery.
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. Additionally, Laura curates events online and copy edits print editions of the Life&Times and Weekend Times sections of the newspaper. 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. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; 570-348-9100 x5228; @laurarysz