SCRANTON — A beloved eatery from Luzerne County will soon call Adams Avenue home.
Abby Singh, owner of popular Canteen Park in Kingston and the now-closed Canteen 900 in Forty Fort, recently signed a lease agreement to open up shop in the former Leonard’s Hardware Store on the 300 block, building owner Charlie Jefferson said.
“I can tell you I’m thrilled to have them,” Jefferson said. “They’re an awesome operator. I’m looking forward to them fitting in with the community and being an asset.”
Billed as Canteen Steamtown, Singh said she would like to open in the early fall.
For nearly nine years in Forty Fort, Singh’s Canteen 900 built a reputation as a go-to lunch spot for sandwiches, salads, soups, smoothies and juices.
Singh said the menu will be similar. The Adams Avenue building also has a liquor license so she will bring the Kingston location’s cocktail menu and Canteen IPA to Scranton. She plans to stay open each Friday night for tacos and tequila.
Property manager Leanna Skaluba said that Singh has been in contact with them since the summer.
Singh said the building’s history may end up factoring in how she decides to utilize the restaurant space.
“It used to be a hardware store,” Singh said. “We’re going to try to use that in the décor and try to bring out our normal style of things which is all mismatched.”
From 1931 through the beginning of this century, the building was Leonard’s Hardware, an old-style family hardware store and one of the first self-serve stores in the city. At most stores, shoppers waited at the counter while a clerk brought them their order.
Leonard’s was already an old and established business by 1931. It began on the 500 block of Lackawanna Avenue in 1865, the year the Civil War ended.
These days, the building also houses the Leonard Theater. However, its early 20th century days as a hardware store can still be seen.
When crews took down part of the light yellow wall, they exposed the original brick with advertisements that are legible but faded enough to showcase an old-time aesthetic.
The north wall is dominated by a large mural of Columbia Bicycle, which pitches itself as “America’s First Bicycle.” Another nearby mural hawks stove polish.
The new restaurant will join a fairly bustling block already home to a popular bar, barber shop, record store and vegan café, among others.
Singh also hopes to draw traffic from the nearby University of Scranton. The restaurant will serve coffee and have a study nook.
“We’re hoping that the university students will also want jobs,” she said. “Being two blocks from the U of S is ideal for me and hopefully they feel the same way in return. I would like to give them a place to hang out, study and meet each other.”
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