Remember When: Main Street Eats

This is your column. It is our hope you will use it to tell our stories: Bloomsburg’s stories. It will grow and meander,  just like a conversation. It is a conversation: our conversation with our past. Where is this going? We’re not sure yet. It’s up to all of us.

I’ll start:  

My name is Jen Ralston and I was born at Bloom Hospital in 1971. I moved to New York City in 1989 to attend college and stayed there to pursue a career in sound editing for film. I still work in that field and because of that, I usually have to be somewhere other than Bloomsburg for work. But I come home whenever I can and I still call Bloomsburg my home.

Today, I am in San Francisco and I’m hungry, so my memories are tending to be food-related…

Remember When…Main Street Eats

I remember watching a soft-spoken man named Charlie hand-toss fresh pizza dough at — where else? Charlie’s Pizza.

We were a Charlie’s family, for sure, but I loved Luigi’s thicker crust. And, of course, their arcade room and all the different pinball machines! Remember the one that was named after a card game? The goal was to use the flippers to knock down tiles that looked like cards. Was it poker? Blackjack?

Which was your favorite pizzeria on Main Street?
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Do you remember the Texas Lunch? Chili cheeseburger with mustard and onions – that was my favorite at Texas. They had great fries, too. The only fries I’ve had since (outside of the Bloomsburg Fair, of course) that compare are from In-n-Out Burger.

I also remember their jukeboxes – one in each wooden booth. Most of the selections just had the artist’s name and two songs (the A and B sides of a 45…remember those?), but for some reason, Linda Rondstadt had a single on the juke with a tab that was a tiny picture of the cover for the Living in the USA album – a photo of her in roller skates.
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Do you remember Woolworth’s soda fountain? I used to love their vanilla Cokes and floats. What about their candy selection? Candy cigarettes and bubble gum chewing tobacco? Pop rocks, wax soda bottles, and pixie sticks?
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And finally, do you remember the bakery on the corner of West and Main Streets? What was it called? I loved their whoopie pies. I remember the night it burnt down. We lived in an apartment building two doors down. I didn’t realize I was a deep sleeper until I slept through the fire alarms and woke up in the morning to the charred remains of the shop. No more whoopie pies! As Nature Intended opened up in that place next. I started eating alfalfa sprouts. I also remember they sold Haagen-Dazs. I loved the coffee ice cream with bits of chocolate in it. Remember when ice cream was considered health food? (Me neither!)
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That oughta be enough to get us started! Have anything to add? Comment on these memories or add your own “Main Street Eats” memories below. Have other topics to memorialize? Write to us at: jenralston@thebloomsburgdaily.com

Photo by rob_rob2001

72 thoughts on “Remember When: Main Street Eats”

  1. Does anyone remember that place, PT Busters? It was on Main Street in the mid 90s- not for very long. Maybe close to the old Chinese place/laundry mat? Their menus were in the front of old text books. Anyone?

    1. PT Busters is vaguely in my brain but I don’t remember if I ever even ate there. What was the food like?

      The old Chinese place was the FIRST Chinese place in town. Peking Restaurant. The family lived on West street and the daughters names were days of the month: May, June (maybe there was an April, also?). I remember going there for lunch when they first opened while painting a window for Halloween. Beef fried rice and an eggroll!

      Peking Restaurant was where Two Boys From Italy was when I was really little. My banana-seated, sissy-barred bicycle went missing one day and turned up parked in front of Two Boys. There was a bunch of bigger kids in there, eating. I took my bike back and ran! Don’t remember a thing about Two Boys aside from that though. Does anyone else?

      1. I loved Peking Restaurant. June was in my class- fantastic restaurant! The only Chinese place I trusted in Bloom.

      2. I miss Peiking so much! The food was wonderful, and so and affordable. The owner/chef and his wife were just about the nicest people I have ever met.

        One time when I went there, they were celebrating Chinese New Year, and they *insisted* I join the large table with their friends.

        It was a wonderful experience.

  2. I remember the Texas Lunch for their famous hot dogs. When we would be out shopping dad would park out front and come back with a dozen for us to share. Ive never had another dog like those. And East Street Subs, I think OIP is there now. They had the best hoagies.

      1. Ha. I worked at both establishments. Corner of east and fifth. I kept getting hand slapped for giving away the remnants from the ice cream maker at the end of the night. My favorite aspect was the steady stream of college girls, some of which would entertain the idea that I just might be a college guy.

  3. Great memories, Jen! I remember saving up my weekly allowance to buy 45s (records) at Woolworth’s. Some favorites I bought include Eddie Rabbit’s “I Love a Rainy Night” and Michael Jackson & Paul McCartney’s “Ebony & Ivory.” I also remember buying albums at Record & Jeanswear.” And I loved buying box candy like Lemon Heads and Red Hots at Finn’s Newsstand right across from Woolworth’s.

      1. Cow Tails were my favorite purchase at Finns. They were 1/2 caramel (i.e. sugar) and 1/2 powdered sugar. I think I averaged about 5 a day during middle school.

          1. I always thought it was rather cruel that my orthodontist was just a couple buildings down from a candy counter.

          2. Harry – yes! I would get out of middle school for appointments to tighten my braces and then would foolishly go to Finn’s for a back of chips before walking back up the hill. My gums still hurt thinking about it.

            Remember the elevator operator?

    1. How about it, Gordon? I heard mention that at one point, someone tried to bring Charlie’s back after he passed. Does anyone remember that?

      1. He lived behind my grandfather on west 9th-the rumor is Charlie & Grotto (yep, Grottos pizza from Harveys lake & the Fair) were in biz together, then split. I never heard any rumors of a 2nd charlies opening up…. BUT I did experience Sam’s Grand slam-they where by the state store is back in the late 90’s. they only stayed in biz for a few years. They were the closest to come to Charlies recipe. I know a few people in Bloomsburg that would pay big bucks for that recipe. His wife didnt stay long after he died…..

        1. Wow, really, Jim? Charlie’s and Grotto’s? I can see the resemblance in the crust but if my memory serves me, Grotto’s sauce is sweeter and Charlie’s had more cheese.

          I look forward to Grotto’s every fair but I would trade it for Charlie’s in a heartbeat.

        2. I remembered they tried. Had good pizza too, the restaurant was in what is now the State Store or the beer store. Not sure, but it was tasty stuff.

          1. My understanding is that Sam’s Grand Slam was Charlie’s recipe. Don’t know if it was true, it was good pizza, though. I also heard that recipe is still around – anyone think a “new” Charlie’s would fly?

          2. Abbey, are you kidding? Even with all the other pizza places in town, there will always be room on Main Street for Charlie’s!

  4. It was J.T.Busters and they had the all you can eat wing night which is probably why they didn’t last too long in a college town, those college guys can eat! Before that it was Serrucci’s and they had the best spaghetti with shrimp sauce, favorite of my husband & I when we were dating, early 90’s. This version of Serucci’s was a little more upscale than the Serucci’s that was a pizza parlor when we were in high school. Miss those places!

    1. Thanks, Suzanne! I don’t even remember the “fancy” Serucci’s. Must’ve opened after I left for college. But the old Serucci’s –

      My friend Bruce and I went there every day after middle school for a slice and a game of “Tron.” And I loved their cheesesteaks in a garden!

      1. Ah, Serucci’s! I totally forgot about that place. My uncle would go there for an afternoon soda and, if the owner wasn’t there, just go behind the counter, pour himself a soda, and leave the money by the register.

        They also had some of the better video game cabinets in there. We would go there during the day on a saturday and have a slice, soda and a roll of quarters for some Gauntlet.

      2. I do remember one visit to Serucci’s when our game of “Tron” was interrupted by two guys in suits who came in and started arguing in Italian with the guys behind the counter.

        Before Serucci’s was Two Guys/Boys From Italy; I believe it was on the north side of Main Street, just west of the Moose. It might have moved across the street at some point; but then, I make stuff up, too.

        1. In 8th grade, my brother Josh and I got to paint the windows of Serruci’s during Halloween as part of Mr. Ryan’s art class. Anyone remember that? The Italian guys there used to say, “We know you. You’re silver beavers.” I don’t know what that meant but I kind of like it that way.

  5. On a seperate line, but remembering back..Remember the huge portait of J.C. Penny (the man) that used to hang over the stairwell of the main st store. I’ve often wondered what happened to that picture….I wonder if it is still in BLoomsburg somewhere….

      1. It wasn’t a bar but oh em gee it was good home cooked food. Had to step in the way back machine to even get the decor and the booth vinyl.

        1. I just realized why I thought it was a bar – I mixed it up in my head with Rock’s. Rock, Hud, Rock Hudson…all the same place/person to me.

  6. Did anyone else ever stop at Ash & Naunas’ on main street for ice cream after middle school? Teaberry ice cream……hum!!

    1. Ash & Naunas’ was always on East Street, wasn’t it? Herr’s was on Main Street for a long time, though. Rainbow Sherbert always makes me think of the nice lady behind the counter. Was her name Ruby? She liked to wear tie-dyed shirts and they looked like rainbow sherbert to me…

    2. That was my favorite place in town. I used to ride my bike down there from my house on East Street, buy a bottle of Coke, and read a magazine — they’d actually let me just read one from the rack without buying it as long as I kept it looking like new. Then, if I took the last drink from the Coke bottle outside, they’d give me the 5 cent deposit back! That place was awesome!

      1. I remember that place. My grandfather would give me a $1.00 and I would go and pick out 100 1 cent candies…most of the time it was swedish fish. My uncle would “steal” half the bag!!! One dollar back then was like ten dollars now…thought I was the luckiest kid in the world with $1.00!

        I also remember going to Woolworth’s after school, you could get anything there, real goldfish, parrakeets, hampsters, clothes, shoes, food, keys made, anything you needed!!! Jen, I think more then once you and I would go right after school for something to eat!

    3. How about a cherry coke at Rea and Derrick lunch counter. Orange Sherbert was the best at Herr’s. Also Cherry and Vanilla coke at Eckley’s Pharmacy after Middle school!

  7. I am not a local…just married to one. I fell in love with Bloom as an 8th grader alongside my sister’s college trip in 1988. As far as pizza goes, I loved Napoli’s Pizza as a field hockey camper…and Luigi’s Pizza as an undergraduate. Luigi’s is in my heart as my (now) husband took me there on our first date. Loved the sauce…kind of spicy. To this day (15 years later), we celebrate most birthdays and anniversaries with local pizza thinking about where we started. On a different food note, I think the Texas had the most amazing pancakes (and I am on a country-wide search…) Loved Berrigans subs…and then Ridgeways for dinners with parents. A few memorable meals at Harry’s…they had great nachos.

  8. Jen, your right, it was Herr’s & I do think her name was Ruby! Spent many Saturday afternoons at Berrigan’s with my bff Julie!

  9. I miss Herr’s ice cream on Iron St. and Letterman’s bakery on East. Affordable ice cream that you didn’t have to drive to Berwick or Danville for and THE BEST LONG JOHNS EVER!! The kind with the coconut on top and cream in the middle. YUM!

    1. I was talking with someone not too long ago about how wonderfully good everything at Letterman’s Bakery was. Long Johns! Yum.

  10. OMG, how could I forget Ash & Naunus’?!? To this day, if I am going to have a vanilla coke, I want it with crushed ice, in a styrofoam cup (sorry, not eco-friendly but just the best way). Please add a 25 cent bag of Middleswarth bbq chips to this order and we’ll call it a perfect day!

  11. I can still taste the coconut long johns from Letterman’s bakery.

    Berrigans is also a fond memory. I go there every time I visit Bloomsburg.

  12. Woolworths used to have an umbrella with balloons tied to it. Balloons had a piece of paper in them with a price for banana splits. When I was young, had a yearly ritual with my grandma. We would walk downtown and I could pick out a few toys for my birthday … then we’d each pick a balloon and enjoy a banana split. Fun memory!!

  13. I remember Ash & Naunus and Lettermans too! And when in high school I worked the soda fountain at Rea & Derricks. Vanilla or cherry syrup cokes anyone?

    Anyone remember Yosts candy store by the elementary school? Lineups every day during recess and after school for penny candy!

  14. Moyers was a favorite of mine because of their delicious sundaes. They were special because of the marshmallow on them, and that was made by Moyers and didn’t come pre-made in a jar. I think Moyers had a counter with seats, but they didn’t serve food, just ice cream and sodas, like vanilla coke!
    I’m a Bloom graduate of class of 1960 (yes, I’m an oldie!). I remember a store on East Main near Texas Lunch that was a candy store selling home made chocolates and candies, anyone remember the name?
    Also a favorite of everyone was The Cups on the way to Danville that also sold ice cream.

  15. I have very fond memories of going to Magee’s for the Smörgåsbord on Sunday with my family. We could rarely afford it, but when we could it was a real treat. Silly me, my favorite thing was the harvard beets. That would have been in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Yes, a few years ago!

    1. I remember my grandfather trying to take me to Magee’s for a “fancy dinner” when I was a picky-eating pre-schooler. He was disappointed that all I wanted was a hot dog.

  16. I also remember many good family meals at the Elk’s Club on Market Street. It was the nicest place I had been in as a 9 year old. My grandfather once took me to see “the Esquire Room” there… think cigar bar with animal heads. And my bros and I used to sneak down to the bowling alley in the basement too. But does anyone remember the stairs in there that went to nowhere? They were all sealed off… always wondered what was up there.

  17. I may be a little younger than some of you so my memories are a little different. Some of my first are going to Sears downtown before they opened up at the Columbia Mall. Also going to the Green Stamp Store with my Grandma after grocery shopping, it always seemed like the nice electronics I wanted were 200 grocery store visits away. Finally, Rea & Derricks, not sure if I even spelled that right, had the best lunch counter with grilled hot dogs. I still make my hot dogs to this day like that, grilling up the bun with butter.

  18. Alright, since we’ve left Main Street in our search for food a few times…who remembers Carol’s?

    What about the Hi-Ho?

    1. By the middle school? on the hill? I’m drawing a blank. I only remember Finn’s on Main Street.

      There was also the little Corner Lunch place on the corner of West 5th and Jefferson near the Elementary School but I don’t think too many kids went in there. I know I stayed away from it.

  19. Kristen, do you mean Red Yosts? That goes way back to when I went to the Memorial Elementary school in the 60s. They were famous for their penny candy and vanilla cokes!

  20. I loved being with my dad on main street. The auspicious late night stop at charlies pizza for amazing pizza or one-of-a-kind subs while outwit my friends. And the trips to ash and Nanas to get toys or ice cream . Hand dipped by the mean old lady who worked there …

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