Sweet & Hot: Tony’s Lunch

Tony’s Lunch, on Main Street in Bloomsburg, is a seemingly normal place to grab a quick bite to eat, but it is a truly unique establishment with a history even just as surprising as its “Fluff Burger.”

The origin of Tony’s Lunch and their famous “Screamer” began in Girardville in the 1940s, explains Joseph Salukas, owner of the current Bloomsburg establishment. “Tony Fulginiti was in the military and while he was stationed in Texas, he got the recipe off a man there for the Screamer Sauce.”

In 1975, Joseph Salukas’s father bought Tony’s Lunch. “My father was actually drunk one night, went for a burger, and told Mrs. Fulginiti that he was going to buy the place one day, and the next day it was for sale,” said Salukas, recalling how his family came to own Tony’s. “My father bought Tony’s Lunch on a handshake.”

After realizing many students and other members in the Bloomsburg area were traveling all the way to the original Tony’s Lunch in Girardville, Joseph Salukas and his wife Angie decided to open shop in Bloomsburg as a branch of the original.

“We were looking for a good place to open up, and Bloomsburg was perfect,” says Joe.

Like the original in Girardville, the walls of the Bloomsburg restaurant are covered with dollar bills.

Dollar Bills

“It started off as a dollar from the first customer, and then all of a sudden everyone wanted to put a dollar on the wall.”

While it is not nearly as extensive as the walls in Girardville, some customers have put their dollars on the fridge at Tony’s in Bloomsburg. The dollars aren’t simply decoration, however. Salukas’s family was able to donate a couple hundred dollars for breast cancer research from all of the dollars they had.

Tony’s Lunch has a small menu offering burgers, hot dogs, fries, and cheesesteaks. All can be ordered with or without the spicy screamer sauce, but perhaps the most interesting item on the menu is the “Fluff Burger,” which is a hamburger with screamer sauce, cheese, onions, and marshmallow fluff.

Lindsay McAndrew, a Junior at Bloomsburg University, has been eating Fluff Burgers for years. “I tried a fluff burger the very first time I ate at Tony’s, without screamer sauce. One day I tried the fluff burger with the sauce, and I’ve been eating it ever since.”

Customers also really enjoy the cheesesteaks. The cheesesteaks at Tony’s Lunch come with cheese, onions, spaghetti sauce, and screamer sauce. “Some people even order the cheesesteaks with the fluff,” says Angie Salukas.

To most people, even the words “burger with marshmallow fluff” sounds strange, but not to the customers at Tony’s.

McAndrew defends the Fluff Burger from those who would turn their noses at such a concoction. “You really just have to try it to see how good it is. It’s sweet mixed with hot. It’s just a great combo.”

[box type=”bio”]Alex Steinhilb and Kayla Bressi are students in the Mass Communication program at Bloomsburg University[/box]

Pine Barn Inn Hosts Holiday Charity Buffet

The Pine Barn Inn has always been known in our area for its rustic feel, delicious food, and excellent service. This holiday season the Inn and its staff will also be known for something more: generosity, kindness, and concern.

On Saturday 24 December, from 11 AM to 3 PM the Pine Barn Inn will host a free buffet for not only victims of the September flooding, but for all people in the local community who may find themselves in need. Reservations are highly recommended due to limited seating.

Pine Barn Inn General Manager Norman Mael explained that he took inspiration for this event from a similar experience when he worked at the Hotel Magee in Bloomsburg. “I believe this is the first event of this kind, but when I was working at the Hotel Magee we had a Bartenders’ Night Out for charity. I got the idea from that.”

Mr. Mael emphasized that this Christmas Eve Day lunch buffet is a charity event sponsored by the entire staff of the Pine Barn. “Everybody is donating their own time, contributing to help prepare and serve.”

“The employees, everybody thinks this is an excellent idea,” said Mr. Mael. “It really hits home for them to help out. One of our servers just returned to his home [a victim of the recent flooding]. They’re behind this.”

Mr. Mael also noted that this Charity Buffet is not only for flood victims, however, but for anyone or any family that may find themselves in need this time of year. “Someone who lost his job, has an uncertain future,” said Mr. Mael, “it’s not for me to determine who should be helped.”

At present The Pine Barn Inn has taken over 200 reservations for the event and still has room for about 150 more.

This Holiday Buffet is offered at no charge and will be held on 24 December from 11 AM to 3PM. Reservations are Highly Recommended because seating is limited.

If you wish to make reservations, please contact the Pine Barn Inn in Danville at 570-275-2071.

Details and a Full Menu of the buffet can be found on The Bloomsburg Daily’s Event Calendar or at the Pine Barn Inn website.

Where to: Watch Sports

Whether you root for the home team, the under dog, or are just pulling for an exciting match-up, here’s an alphabetical list of places around town to watch the Big Game:

939 Columbia Boulevard, Bloomsburg
(570) 387-3334

While it’s no secret that Applebee’s is a nation-wide chain, the décor makes it certainly feel like a local institution. Full menu and bar, with several screens and food and drink specials during Monday Night Football.

Buster’s Bar and Grill
587 Valley Road, Danville
(570) 389-1925

15 TVs in addition to a big screen make this a venue for Saturday college football viewing but be warned: closed on Sundays and Mondays.

Chumley’s Bar
45 East Main Street, Bloomsburg
(570) 387-1111

Occupying the space that was once the Capitol movie theater on Main Street, Chumley’s is a long bar with 10 TVs (including a large projection screen where the movie screen used to be) and a wide selection of bottled micro-brews. Weekly Sunday night football food and drink specials.

Good Old Days
501 East Street, Bloomsburg
(570) 784-6269

Karaoke is the main attraction several times a week but Sunday and Monday nights, this bar (which also serves food) features “Sports on HDTV!”

Hess’ Tavern (and the Painted Pony)
118 East Main Street, Bloomsburg
(listed phone number no longer in service)

Holding the distinction of possessing the oldest family-owned liquor license in the entire state (1889), Hess’ features a big screen and pool tables upstairs and a dance floor downstairs (in the Painted Pony).

Marley’s Brewery and Grille
18 West Main Street, Bloomsburg
(570) 784-9600

Occupying the space that was once upon a time the Magee Publick House, Marley’s is a brew pub and full restaurant with 4 TVs and Sunday football food and drink specials.

The Paddock
810 Catherine Street, Bloomsburg
(570) 784-9949

A long-standing institution, the Paddock isn’t fancy, but it has cold beers and serves a limited menu (frozen pizzas and chips), and has a couple of TVs.

Quaker Steak & Lube
211 Columbia Mall Drive, Bloomsburg
(570) 389-9464

While as the name of this franchise implies, there are steaks (and burgers and ribs), the wings are the hot ticket item here. 24 (count ‘em!) TVs and plenty of specials during various game times…check their calendar (link above) for details.

Romig’s Cafe
456 West Main Street, Bloomsburg
(570) 784-9544

A friendly, family-owned and operated bar at the bottom of Scott Town hill, Romig’s has a limited food menu, 2 flat screen TVs, and game-time drink specials.

Rose Marie’s
26 East Main Street (back of the block, down Miller Alley), Bloomsburg
(570) 784-7169

While Rose Marie’s is primarily known for its fine Italian dining menu, the bar has a popular following, as well. Maybe it’s the ghost of Lemon’s Tavern? At any rate, one TV only and more formal than most of the selections but we have managed to enjoy the occasional sporting event at this quieter and more formal option.

Ruby Tuesday
228 Mall Boulevard, Bloomsburg
(570) 389-9750

Another franchise restaurant/bar, Ruby Tuesdays is known for their consistently fresh salad bar. If that’s not an enticement, the full menu is available at the bar, where TVs are ample.

Russell’s and Kristy’s Pub
117-119 West Main Street, Bloomsburg
(570) 387-1332

Two bar/restaurants sharing the same kitchen and menu, Russell’s (117) is long and thin (which makes it feel more crowded), while Kristy’s (119) provides a bit more elbow room. 1 TV in each bar and drink specials on Saturday and Sundays (including a Sunday White Russian deal, for the “Dude” in all of us).

Scoreboard Sports Tavern
6190 4th Street (Old Berwick Road at Oak Street), Bloomsburg/Scott Township
(570) 387-8999

Casual and friendly, the Scoreboard’s menu notables are the burgers and wings. Plenty of TVs assure you’re covered from most any seat in the house.

Stone Fired Grill
1323 Columbia Boulevard, Bloomsburg
(570) 387-6667

Another new-comer to the area, Stone Fired occupies the former Bennigan’s on Route 11. Despite the building’s franchise roots, Stone Fired is actually the sister restaurant to Elizabeth’s Bistro in Lewisburg and, in keeping with Elizabeth’s mission, serves “rustic, ethnic & regional cuisine.” Full bar with several big screens for your viewing pleasure.

Turkey Hill Brewing Company
991 Central Road, Bloomsburg
(570) 387-8422

The newest addition to the Turkey Hill Inn and Fine Dining establishments is their more casual but no less attractive Brewing Company.  TVs at both bars (upstairs and down), and on the landing at the top of the stairs (overlooking the brewery-works). Full dining room upstairs as well.

The Wagon Shed
850 Railroad Street, Bloomsburg
(570) 784-9999

A friendly bar where town and college blend that purports to “play the games our people want to see,” the Wagon Shed features 7 TVs, a short menu of sandwiches and pizza, pool tables, a shuffle board, and an impressively diverse juke box (in case you need distractions from the game).

Photo by Ben B Miller