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The Batter’s Box a big hit in Summit Hill

“Sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your name. And they’re always glad you came.”

Although this is part of the lyrics from the theme song of the iconic TV show “Cheers,” owners Danny and Valerie Matika feel it also pertains to The Batter’s Box Sports Bar and Grille in Summit Hill.

“It’s like a ‘Cheers,’?” said Valerie.

Matika purchased the business 13 years ago on a whim and, he said, “It turned out to be a full-time job.”

He said, “I never thought it would be successful.”

Others also didn’t express much confident on its future.

Yet, the business has become so successful that the Matikas have remodeled the entire interior, replacing a decades-old horseshoe bar with one built from shining, sealed butcher block. They also placed new shelves installed a modern refrigeration unit.

Although The Batter’s Box had previous owners and names, Matika has made it a very successful business. He said it’s not merely a bar. “It’s a family establishment,” he said. “We do more food than we do drinks.”

As an example, he said a group of senior ladies from Tamaqua recently stopped by. He said they told him they heard about the food. They had no alcoholic drinks; most of them just drank water.

“A lot of people just come for the food,” he said. “We welcome that.”

Funeral dinners, birthday parties and other special events are hosted there.

One of Matika’s priorities is serving the youth of the community. He has hosted the Panther Valley High School basketball teams many times, serving them free pizza and wings. He has hosted various school athletic teams of all ages with banquets.

He’s made meat raffles available for countless organizations.

He said one of the cherished things that’s happened is that a basketball team presented him with a plaque, thanking him for the support. He said, “It’s a local sports team so we take care of them.”

He sits on the Panther Valley School Board, where he is the current president.

Another way Matika has shown his community support is making his facilities available for distributions of the summer meal program of the Panther Valley School District. This is the third year the sports bar has hosted the program.

The business also hosts a dart team.

The Batter’s Box reopened about a week or two ago after being closed for the remodeling. The main part of the remodeling was the construction of the custom bar, built by local resident Ronald Yuricheck.

Matika said the original bar had apparently been there, dating back to approximately the 1960s. He said before he bought the business, it was The Polish Club, possibly in the 60s or 70s, then it became the Dew Drop, and it was the Summit Inn when he purchased it in 2011. The 13th anniversary will be October 29.

The new bar seats 18 people, while the restaurant has accommodations for 44 patrons.

An outdoor deck which has about a 40-person capacity.

Sometimes there are special events such as prime rib night. There’s also Taco Tuesday.

Food served includes wings, cheese steaks, pizza, burgers, cold sandwiches and chicken fingers. An assortment of homemade soups also is available.

The head cook Wednesday through Saturday is Summit Hill resident Tara Smalley. Matika serves as the chef on Taco Tuesdays.

He said patrons have been elated with his mixologist, Seth Yin, who also serves as the bar manager. Yin makes special “creative concoctions,” said Matika.

Family members also help with the business.

Matika is a lifelong resident of Summit Hill. He is the son of Pat Matika and the late Joseph Matika. He has two brothers, Joseph, who is a Carbon County Court of Common Please judge, and Jerry; and two sisters, Patricia Ebbert, who is the Panther Valley High School principal, and Beth Matika, who had been the first bar manager for the business and still works here when needed.

He met his wife, Valerie, while in the U.S. Air Force and stationed in New Mexico. Her father was a career Air Force veteran. She moved to Summit Hill in 1989.

Besides working at The Batter’s Box, she is employed as a payroll clerk for the Panther Valley School District and will be retiring in June.

They have two daughters, Kiersten Rivera, who lives locally, and Megan Flores of Texas, who has helped her father when the business first opened.

The business offers takeout food. Valerie said they hope to begin on-line ordering in the near future, and possibly even implement a delivery service.

There is plenty of off-street parking.

Matika said, “I like to say that Valerie and I don’t make the business. It’s the community that makes the bar the way it is. We’re here for them, just like they’re here for us.”

The Batter’s Box Bar and Grilled is located at 10 East Lehigh Street. It is open Sunday from 2 p.m. to midnight (kitchen closes at 9 p.m.), Monday through Thursday from 4 p.m. to midnight (kitchen closes at 9) and Friday and Saturday from 4 p.m. to midnight (kitchen closes at 10). For more information, call The Batter’s Box at 570-645-7807.

Dan and Valerie Matika sit at the bar of their Batter's Box Sports Bar and Grille at 10 E. Lehigh St, Summit Hill. The interior of the business was remodeled and reopened last month. The business is known for its food as well as the camaraderie. RON GOWER/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS