An expanded kitchen area and Pizza To Go have been added to a longtime Palmerton restaurant.

The new features are a part of a 60-by-20 addition at the Covered Bridge Inn, located at 4300 Little Gap Road.

Owner Ron Gilbert said half of the addition is the kitchen area, and the other half, the Pizza To Go component.

"It took us five years to build this from inception," Gilbert said. "We did all the work by ourself, except for the electric work."

Gilbert, who purchased the restaurant in 2002, said plans had been in the works for some time.

"About four years into it, I wanted to expand the dining room, but I had to acquire 5-feet from the neighbor, and she said no," he said. "So, we moved the addition back here and made a new kitchen."

The kitchen contains a new walk-in freezer and cooler, among other amenities, Gilbert said.

"We turned our old kitchen into a dishwashing area, cold salad bar, and it's where all our ingredients are kept," he said. "We also have a beer cooler now."

The idea for Pizza To Go was done to increase business, said Gilbert, who added it is predominantly take out pizza, though personal pizzas are sold at the bar and bar area.

Gilbert said customers utilize a separate entrance, at which point they can walk right up to the counter for their take out.

"It's been slow; it's just a matter of getting the word out," he said. "The traffic that goes through here, it's phenomenal."

Gilbert said he purchased used two stack ovens and replaced all the components.

"I built this [the restaurant] up on fresh food," he said. "I wanted to carry this over to my pizza; I didn't want it to be a packaged pizza."

Gilbert said the products are all imported from Italy, such as the fresh tomatoes, fresh cheese.

"The response has been the dough is phenomenal," he said. "The secret is the dough, cheese, and tomato."

Pizza To Go hours are Monday through Friday, 4-9 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, noon to 9 p.m.

For takeout, call (610) 826-5410.