Closed restaurant is reopening in Lehighton
Ron Gower/TIMES NEWS Tarone and Nancy Blocker stand inside what was the former Downtown Grille in Lehighton. Tarone purchased the building and business and will reopen it as the "Wicked Good" restaurant.
Something "Wicked Good" is coming to downtown Lehighton.
"Wicked Good" is the name of a restaurant that could be open within two weeks.
It will be located at the site of the former Downtown Grille in the 100 block of South First Street. The Downtown Grille closed abruptly about a year ago after about 10 years in business.
The building and the business have been purchased by Tarone Blocker, owner of Blocker's Collision Center in Lehighton.
Blocker said he had retired from his auto body repair business this past January and has relocated to Florida for part of the year.
He said he saw the empty Downtown Grille on First Street and decided to create a quality restaurant for the community. His wife, Nancy, came up with the name having seen a similar restaurant name in the Boston area.
"I wanted something out there that people will remember it," said Blocker of the name.
"I saw the place deteriorating," he said.
Blocker purchased the business from Myles Hinkle, who remodeled the former Knights of Columbus building and made it into the restaurant. It was especially noted for its many old-time photos of the Lehighton community, which still adorn the walls.
"They put a lot of work into it," Blocker said of the Hinkle family. "They put their heart and soul into it. They had a lot of ideas; a lot of expectations."
Hinkle operated the restaurant for nearly 10 years.
He moved to the site from several doors away what had then been called the Lehighton News Agency.
According to Blocker, initially he will be open for lunch and dinner. He said the tentative plans are to be open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
He said he will offer both up-scale meals as well as a budget menu. "We will have prime rib, et cetera, but still have roast beef sandwiches," he said.
Blocker has owned Blocker's Collision Center for 38 years, although the firm has been in business since 1948 making it one of the oldest businesses in Lehighton.
He is a lifelong resident of Lehighton and said he bought the Downtown Grille building "to give something back to the community."
One of the things which makes him confident of the success of the business is the hiring of an experience chef, who has done extensive work in the Poconos and who started cooking in Long Island 40 years ago.