The year was 1956. The place, just a few blocks from here. Just out of the Army, I went to work for Marino Zazzera at Zazzera’s Luncheonette. A few months later, I purchased the place and changed its name to McDonnell’s. The 35-seat luncheonette was a busy spot, open from 6 a.m. to 1 a.m., and all night on Fridays and Saturdays, and business continued to grow.
That restaurant, on the corner of North Church and Lincoln, operated for twelve busy years, until in the early summer of 1968, it was destroyed by fire.
Undaunted, I looked around for a new location, settling on the present site, the former Elite Restaurant, which had been closed for two years. I purchased the place from Mrs. Angelo Rooney, and completely renovated it with seating for 84 people. It opened in January of 1969.
By 1974, business had so grown, that the building next door was purchased from Harry Singer, to be added to the restaurant, bringing the total seating to 159, and allowing a new kitchen to be built.
The decor was established as Early American, with authentic barn wood and heavy beams, plus lots of antiques and artifacts.
A further renovation in January of 1981 commemorates our 25th anniversary, and offers a new and interesting decor for your dining enjoyment.
As we approach our 50th year in business, we look back with pride upon our past growth, and forward to many more years of fine food, friendly service and outstanding value to our many friends in the Carbondale area.
In the summer of my second year in business, a friend asked me if I would put on a clambake with him. He’d take care of the drinks, and I’d take care of the food. It was a great success, and the following year I catered three bakes. That was the start of our outside catering. Each year we booked a few more bakes, plus more and more weddings and parties of various kinds.
In 1965, I purchased the ground I was renting and each year I added to the facilities, until today we can accommodate up to 1,000 people a day, and feed them three meals a day. The season runs from June to October, with an average of three bakes a week. If you’ve never been to one, you really ought to try to get invited, or plan one of your own.
In 1991, Robert McDonnell graduated from Penn State with a degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management, and be- came a partner in the family business.
The two McDonnell’s, Bob and Robert, are looking toward many more years of serving their customers. A truly full service family restaurant, we appreciate your business.
~ Bob and Robert McDonnell