Downtown businesses gear up for Wilkes-Barre St. Patrick’s Parade crowd

i Mar 7th 2017

By Matt Mattei, Wilkes-Barre Times Leader- Weekender

The green party is about to start in Wilkes-Barre, and it has nothing to do with progressive politics.

A variety of bars and eateries will open their doors early on March 12 to celebrate the Wilkes-Barre St. Patrick’s Parade and will offer food, drink and live entertainment. Among the festive establishments throughout the downtown area are Senunas’ Bar & Grill, City Market & Cafe and Franklin’s/Rodano’s.

Senunas’, 133 N. Main St., will open at 9 a.m. for Kegs and Eggs, serving breakfast features to early bird parade goers.

Senior bartender Katie Senunas said patrons will not have to pay a cover nor will they experience raised prices.

“We offer a nice lineup of drafts and bottles that are very nicely priced for the area,” she said.

In addition, Senunas said, the bar will be one of the few in the valley to feature Nimble Hill Mysteria No. 9 Shamrock Porter.

“After Kegs and Eggs, we’ll be serving a nice menu of authentic Irish fare,” Senunas said.

That menu includes Guinness stew over mashed potatoes, corned beef on marble rye and Blarney fries.

Live entertainment will be provided by the Wyoming Valley Pipe & Drum Band and the Ceol Mor Pipe & Drum band at various points during the day and, Senunas said, the establishment’s side bar, the Bomb Shelter, will be open all day.

Senunas said past Parade Days have brought people together, mixing young and old patrons, some as young as 21 and others in their 60s and 70s.

“We get a great crowd,” Senunas said. “We’re wall-to-wall at certain points. The good part of it is, it’s a good wall-to-wall. Everybody is respectful. It’s a place where everybody is comfortable.”

City Market & Cafe at 25 Public Square will open at 9 a.m. with a breakfast buffet, which will be available all day. An Irish themed menu will also include old time Irish ale stew, corned beef sliders with red slaw and bubble and squeak.

Owner and operator Christian Switzer said he plans to feature entertainment during the day.

Tom Waskevitch will play from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Switzer said he’s trying to arrange an act to follow.

“There’s no cover, and we’re doing $3 16 ounce beers and $4 mixed drinks,” Switzer said. “We’re not trying to gouge anybody. We want people to come by and have a good time.”

Switzer said he wants to make City Market & Cafe’s presence known during Parade Day since it will be the business’s first time participating in the day-long event.

“We’re definitely excited to contribute to the fun and the services that are provided down here,” Switzer said. “We want to make sure everybody is happy and everybody behaves at the same time, because we’re also a family place.”

Adjoined at 53 Public Square, Franklin’s and Rodano’s will become one big celebration, bar manager Matt Kovalski said.

“We’ll be IDing people at both front doors, but we will have the door in between the restaurants open so you can travel between both bars and do whatever you like,” Kovalski said.

Doors will open at Franklin’s at 9 a.m. with Rodano’s following at 11 a.m.

From 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., Franklin’s will offer $3 16 ounce Bud Light aluminum bottles and serve complementary breakfast pizzas.

Live entertainment will begin with the Whiskey & Woods Duo at 11 a.m. followed by Mike Elward & Nick Bilski at 1 p.m. and Robb Brown at 4 p.m.

“We’ll keep the live music going all day,” Kovalski said.

Rodano’s will be participating in its eighth consecutive Parade Day and Franklin’s in its third.

“Technically, we opened up Franklin’s three years ago on Parade Day, so its’ also our three-year anniversary,” Kovalski said.

Kovalski said being ready for the day takes a lot of preparation.

“It’s a huge day for us,” he said. “We want to have everything we need, and we don’t want to run out of anything. From there, we’re just hoping for good weather.”