New Life For Old Bar In Pittston

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PITTSTON -- Two brothers who share a business in Luzerne County said three floods were enough. Revenue raked in by casinos helped a bar and restaurant move out of the flood plain.

The patio umbrellas are in place, the beer is stocked up in the cooler and the draft taps are connected inside the Tomato Bar and Bistro in Pittston. Andy Partash said he and his brother Mike spent nearly a year renovating the vacant building on Spring Street.

"It was pretty rundown old bar that we stripped the walls right down, see we have the brick finish," said Partash.

The Partash brothers transferred the liquor license from their old business River Street Ale House and Grille in nearby Jenkins Township. The foundation was washed out and mud and water reached the ceiling when the Susquehanna River swelled out of its banks during the flood of 2011. Andy Partash said it was the third time his business was forced to close because of flood waters.

"Well, I've had enough! We're out of the flood zone here in Pittston, which is nice. We just wanted to get out of there and move on to something else. Pittston is definitely an up and coming town. It's a good spot. It's a good mix for us to be down here," said Partash.

Tomato Bar and Bistro is the 15th business to benefit from Pittston's facade enhancement program. The grants used for new and old storefronts are paid for with state casino revenue.

"They got roughly about $45,000 and their investment, which is the greatest part of this story, was about six times that, and that's the way it should work," said Mike Lombardo with the Pittston Redevelopment Authority.

The new business is just steps away from where the messy tomato fight is held every August during the annual Pittston Tomato Festival.

The back patio is open for business. The roof deck at Tomato Bar and Bistro should be ready by summer. More than a dozen employees have been hired, and they're still looking for more wait staff.