By: Ann Siock, Staff Writer
June 28, 2008: Jim Dandy’s Saloon and Eatery in South Abington Twp. closed after nearly 30 years in operation.
The decision to close the restaurant was made because of health and family issues as well as the need to find principals to continue the business.
“We’ve been at it for 29 years,” said Tracy Goryeb, daughter of Jim Dandy’s founder, Emil Goryeb. “It’s time to move on.”
The Goryeb family opened the first Jim Dandy’s location in 1979 in Edwardsville, and the South Abington location followed in 1984. The family moved to Northeast Pennsylvania from New York to get away from the hectic pace of the city and Emil Goryeb’s job as president of the company he created, Babbage Systems.
“Thirteen years of commuting in Long Island was enough,” he said.
With the move came Emil Goryeb’s decision to follow his love of food into the restaurant industry, which would make Jim Dandy’s a NEPA staple.
“We wanted to have a place with a good and happy feeling and a name to match it,” he said. “We had a goal to provide our customers with an exceptional dining and entertaining experience at a truly fair price.”
The Goryebs gave the restaurant a vintage, 1920s-style theme and embraced the casual dining experience seen today among major players in the restaurant industry, long before those businesses even opened their doors.
The project required a full display of support from Emil Goryeb’s family, and as a result, their personal touches were seen throughout each location, from the restaurant’s name to the Tiffany lamps Goryeb’s wife, Doreen, selected to the vintage sports memorabilia Goryeb and his son Glen chose to include. Emil Goryeb even did the voiceovers in Jim Dandy’s commercials in addition to occasionally singing in both Jim Dandy’s locations.
“Everyone has been very involved in the restaurant,” he said. “I wouldn’t have made it without them.”
Along with a drink menu often advertised as the largest in NEPA, the standard fare at the restaurant ranged from a classic dinner menu with steak, seafood and chicken dishes to classic, oversized sandwiches and a late-night snack menu, the ingredients for which were all locally sourced from other family businesses.
“There are many excellent local family businesses in Northeastern Pennsylvania,” Emil Goryeb said. “It is important for local people to realize that when they support these local entities, their money stays right here.”
The Goryebs’ commitment to ensuring their patrons had a “Jim Dandy time” made it doubly likely their work would be missed when the business shut down.
“Jim Dandy’s has always been a hot place with good food and service,” Jack Cooper, owner of Cooper’s Seafood House in Scranton, said of the closure. “They are, like us, a tradition, and it breaks my heart to see them go.”
Contact the writer: email@example.com; 570-348-9127
Brian Fulton has been the librarian at The Times-Tribune for the past 14 years. On his blog, Historically Hip, he writes about the great concerts, plays/musicals and celebrity happenings that have taken place throughout NEPA. He is also the co-host of the local history podcast, Historically Hip. He competed and was crowned grand champion on an episode of NPR quiz show “Ask Me Another.” Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; 570-348-9140; or @TTPagesPast