Circles to reopen after owner’s passing

i Mar 7th 2017

By Bob Kalinowski, Wilkes-Barre Citizens Voice

WILKES-BARRE — Without its owner who suddenly died last week, Circles on the Square reopens today with a menu dedicated to him.

As they do daily, staff at the popular Public Square deli faxed today’s specials to local businesses, making it clear Phil Rudy’s legacy and life’s work will live on.

“We’re happy to be back and to keep the store going. That’s what he would have wanted” Stephanie Jennings, a employee for five years, said on Monday.

Rudy, 68, died Thursday shortly after falling ill at work. The Fairview Township man opened the gourmet deli 32 years ago, staying open during good times and bad in Downtown Wilkes-Barre.

Staff gathered Friday at the closed store and committed to keeping Circles open with Rudy’s wife in charge. They chose today to reopen.

“It’s probably going to be tough, especially around the time when he normally would come in,” Jennings said.

Circles is well known for the witty, tongue-and-cheek names given to its daily sandwich specials — creative titles thought up by Rudy himself. Today’s specials continue the tradition.

The first is named “Le Grande Fromage,” which is French for “the big cheese.”

“He always referred to himself as the big cheese of Circles — Le Grande Fromage,” Jennings recalled.

The other Rudy-inspired sandwich names include: A Bright Star Dimmer, R Hearts R Broken, We Will Miss You, Goodnight Shuga and R.I.P. Phil.

Today’s menu was signed with a message from Rudy’s employees: “Always in our hearts. From your gang.”