When driving on the Cross Valley Express Way, before the Luzerne exit there is a large brick building on the right. Before last week, I had no idea what was in that building. When I went to lunch with a friend, we drove past Forty-Fort’s Beer Deli and into the complex of the aptly-named Big Brick Building. I was completely blown away by what I found.
In addition to other businesses, a restaurant called Canteen 900 is occupying that space. Home of the Canteen 900 signature sandwich, the resultant has been in business since October of 2010. The restaurant is decorated with eclectic furniture and artwork. In the main dining room hangs the historic Hotel Sterling chandelier, which they won at an auction.
Owner Abby Billek-Singh studied at the Institution for Culinary Arts and ran a cafe in SoHo before coming back to the valley and opening Canteen900. The restaurant has won several awards including The Weekender’s most vegetarian friendly restaurant and an award from Diamond City for their salads.
While college aged kids are their main demographic, the menu has something for everyone. General manager Drew Billeck hopes to offer a different lunch experience to customers.
“We like to have fun when we work,” Billeck said. “This isn’t a place where you will get lost in the corner.”
Billeck said they have been fortunate to have some great staff members that have been there quite a while. They working with customers and keeping an upbeat attitude.
Between coffee, fresh fruit, smoothie bars and other alternative energy sources, chef John Matofky has his hands full. Combining the kitchen made foods with the restaurants Ruby 2000 Juice Bar and their natural fruits and yogurt smoothie bar, along with some amazing deserts, makes the restaurant unique to each customer and leaves people without a boring meal. The menu is full of interesting, tasty items including their well known truffle oil french fries.
The slogan “Real Food. Real People.” definitely fits the organization, which has an “overall laid back atmosphere.” Hopefully adding to the laid back, yet personal experience will be patio seating.
“There is no where to sit outside and eat around here,” Billeck said. “So we think having patio seating and utilizing that area will be great.”
Patrons such as Wilkes’ Deanna Moore love going to Canteen 900.
“Canteen 900 is great,” Moore said. “Their OMG Orange smoothie and homemade Irish steel cut oatmeal make a great breakfast. At lunch, I come back for the truffle oil french fries.”
Whether they are making specialty cocktails and party platters for your event, dishing up some fresh baked cookies or starring in their own Harlem Shake Video, Canteen 900 operates in a refreshing and fun way.