BY CHRISTINE LEE
When Bob “Opie” Krohmer, Savas Logothetides and Paul Platko reopened Charlie’s Pizza and Sub Shop a few weeks ago, they expected things to be quiet. But the public found out.
“We tried a soft opening, but word got out and it wasn’t so soft,” Krohmer, of Minersville, said Tuesday.
The landmark business at 1401 W. Market St. initially was open to the public two days a week, but is now open from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. From about 11:30 a.m. to noon Tuesday, 11 customers came in and were waited on by Logothetides and Platko, both of Pottsville, and four employees working behind the counter with the co-owners.
Among the customers was Dave Kunstek, Pottsville, who has been coming to Charlie’s since 1966.
“I like it,” he said of the revitalized shop. “I’m happy to see something that has stayed around for so long. Looking forward to the new, enhanced menu.”
Kunstek got a ham sub and bought Middleswarth Bar-B-Q chips to go with it.
“I always liked their ham sandwiches, and their pizzas are good,” he said.
Other longtime customers who stopped by for subs Tuesday afternoon were Guy and Jennifer Killian, also of Pottsville, who ordered tuna and Italian subs. They said they have been coming to the business for 30 years.
“We’re happy,” Jennifer Killian said of the business’ reopening.
Also in the shop was Lela Derfler, of Pine Grove, who ordered two large ham subs for herself and her husband, Terry. It was her first time in the reopened business.
“We like subs and thought we’d try it,” she said.
The menu includes a variety of cold and hot subs, pizza, pizza subs and salads. The sub rolls come from the Spring Street Bakery in Frackville, and the Minersville Bakery, which Krohmer also owns, supplies the pizza shells. There is a fountain soda machine and a snack stand.
Logothetides, executive director of the Pottsville Area Development Corp., said demand has been high.
“We’ve been underprepared due to the amount of community support we’ve received,” he said. “It was an onslaught the first few days.”
Logothetides, who also owns Wheel restaurant at 201 W. Market St., said more than 400 people were served within seven hours last Friday.
Amid the coronavirus pandemic, precautions are in place. All customers are required to wear a face mask and only six people are allowed inside at a time. A sign on the entrance reminds the public of the mask requirement.
The business was started at 1714 W. Market St. in 1954 by Charles DiCello, and operated by several generations of the family. It moved to its current location in 1965.
The business closed in March because of the pandemic and Krohmer, Logothetides and Platko bought the business in July.
They employ 10 people, three of whom worked at Charlie’s prior to its closure.
With the shop reopened, Logothetides said they plan to start online ordering, catering and delivery, and will hire more employees when those aspects of the business are launched. They also plan to open on weekends.
“We expect to have between 15 and 20 employees once all our operations are up and running,” he said.
Platko called the public support “amazing” and “better than we expected.”
“We appreciate everyone supporting the establishment and sticking with us,” he said. “Things can only get better, and we wouldn’t be here without the customers.”
With so much interest, Platko said customers are encouraged to call ahead.
The establishment will formally reopen with a ribbon-cutting ceremony hosted by the Schuylkill Chamber of Commerce and Pottsville Business Association on Thursday afternoon.
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