Former Lehighton bank building is converted into a restaurant
Ron Gower/TIMES NEWS Johnny Krasniqi and his daughter, Vanessa, stand inside Johnny's Restaurant and Pizza II, 111 N. First St., Lehighton. Krasniqi said he spent about $180,000 on a renovation project that took over a year to convert the former bank building into the restaurant.
Johnny Krasniqi of Bangor, originally from New York City, took a drive to Jim Thorpe about two years ago to see about opening a pizza parlor and restaurant there.
He never completed the trip. Instead, while en route, he saw a building for sale in downtown Lehighton, liked it, "and I bought it the first day I came through."
The building formerly housed a bank that closed several years ago.
It now is the site of Johnny's Restaurant and Pizza II, 111 N. First St. Krasniqi said Johnny's Restaurant and Pizza I is located on Washington Boulevard in Bangor.
The Lehighton eatery has been open for more than a year after Krasniqi invested about $180,000 into remodeling work. He said the remodeling work took more than a year.
"The building was empty for about three years and was getting pretty run down until I bought it," he said.
His family has been in the restaurant business in Yonkers, N.Y. for 27 years. He opened his Bangor restaurant about seven years ago, his first independent business venture.
At all the family's restaurants, including Lehighton, "We have nice Italian food," he said. "Seafood. Veal. Everything is fresh. Nothing's frozen."
The restaurant also serves sandwiches, steak, and hoagies.
Johnny's Restaurant and Pizza II seats about 125 people. Reservations are accepted for parties.
There are six employees, including his wife, Sandy; daughter, Vanessa; son, Louis, and brother, Ben.
Krasniqi and his wife have five children, ages 15 to 21. Louis is the oldest.
One of the unique items in the restaurant is an internet jukebox. It gives access to thousands of song selections.
Patrons have the option of sitting at the food bar or tables.
There are daily specials, said Krasniqi.
He remarked, "You have to try our delicious food for yourself."
The restaurant is open daily from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. On some weekends, a band is featured during which the business stays open until 2 a.m.
For more information on Johnny's Restaurant and Pizza II, call (610) 377-3977.