The Tamaqua SOS (Save Our Station) organization announced Wednesday that the new "Vonz Restaurant" will open in the historic Tamaqua Railroad Station on Wednesday, June 19, at 11:00 a.m.
Tamaqua SOS first revealed plans for the new restaurant late in 2012 following the closing of the former "Restaurant at the Station" in mid-December.
In anticipation of the closing, Tamaqua SOS had advertised the former restaurant space as available for lease late last year. Several proposals from interested restaurant entrepreneurs were received.
After carefully reviewing the merits and credentials of those that submitted proposals, a deal was finally struck with a Schuylkill County couple named Richard and Yvonne Sidella.
Yvonne Sidella had dreamed of starting her own restaurant after working for others in the restaurant business for a number of years and receiving her culinary arts degree.
According to Dale Freudenberger, Tamaqua SOS Secretary, "Tamaqua SOS Directors were impressed by the Sidellas and felt they offered the best proposal of establishing a quality new restaurant in our historic Tamaqua Railroad Station, serving the best food, drawing more clientele, and providing the best management and marketing."
The restaurant space in the Tamaqua Station remained closed since December 2012 while everyone started from scratch to create a new restaurant from top to bottom.
During the six months absence of a restaurant, Tamaqua SOS and the new proprietors of Vonz Restaurant worked hand in hand to totally revamp the restaurant space and make other improvements.
All new restaurant equipment, bar equipment, tables and chairs were planned as part of the new image of Vonz Restaurant. An entirely new kitchen was installed including new walls and floors.
The bar and dining rooms received repairs and a fresh coat of paint. All new tile flooring and wall to wall Victorian styled carpet was installed in the bar dining area. The overall restaurant dining space was also enlarged with the addition of the former Women's Waiting room as another dining room.
Major renovations were made to the basement area including adding poured concrete floors, new sump pumps, water proofing, electrical and other work.
Much of this work was accomplished through a grant from the Morgan Foundation.
The building was scrubbed inside and out to make sure everything was fresh and new for the new Vonz Restaurant to open. Ken Smulligan, SOS president said: "Yvonne and Rich Sidella are very nice people and we are excited about having them as our new tenants and partners in the Tamaqua Railroad Station."
Linda Yulanavage, executive director, Tamaqua Area Chamber of Commerce, said: "I look forward to working with the Sidellas as we promote Vonz Restaurant and all that downtown Tamaqua has to offer. So many good things have transpired in Tamaqua in the past decade or so and we feel the station will once again become a major hub of activity in our community. The Chamber and local sponsors present free concerts on the front platform of the train station every two weeks during the summer months. While attending the concerts, the public can enjoy a great meal at Vonz or a special drink while relaxing in front of the station."
The Tamaqua Railroad Station and Vonz Restaurant will have an open house during the Tamaqua Summerfest on Fathers Day June 16 from 10 to 5 p.m. The restaurant will not be open for business that day but the public is invited to stop by and look around the station and the new restaurant and meet the new restaurant owners. They will be handing out flyers about their grand opening.
Their regular business hours will be Tuesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Saturdays 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Breakfast will be available on Saturdays only.
Vonz Restaurant will be closed Sundays and Mondays.
Yvonne provided a sneak preview of her lunch and dinner menu which will include a combination of fine and casual cuisine with spirits.
Some of the items include appetizers such as frog legs, creamy seafood dip, and chilled shrimp cocktail, and main dishes entrées such as crab cakes, lobster and other seafood dishes, Southern fried chicken, a variety of veal dishes, steak platters, filets, chicken dishes, bison, and pasta.
"All our food will be of the highest quality available and we will use only fresh local vegetables and produce," said Rich Sidella.
They plan to offer a limited vegan and gluten-free menu, along with a variety of homemade desserts.
Children menus will be available for ages twelve and younger. Yvonne Sidella noted "we will offer something for everyone at a variety of price ranges. Our goal is to serve the community needs of casual as well as fine dining."
During summer months, dining will also available in front of the station on the covered platform area. Reservations are suggested, but not required. More information is available at (570) 668-6437.
Parking for Vonz Restaurant is primarily in the borough-owned lot across the tracks from the front of the station. No public parking is permitted anywhere at the rear of the station. Patrons are reminded to enter Vonz Restaurant using the crosswalk over the railroad tracks and the main entrance at the front of the station.