For our fifth annual restaurant issue, we once again polled our loyal readers (and eaters) to discover the Best Restaurant in the area. The winner is Charlotte Fay’s Main Street Diner (formerly Slatington Diner), which had its grand opening January 4, 2015. I sat down with owner Jason Ruff over breakfast and burgers to get an inside look at his family’s foodie history, what sets Charlotte Fay’s apart from other diners, and how he’s using his great-grandmothers’ legacies to bring the ‘50s back to Slatington.—Danielle Tepper
Town & Country Gazette: Is this the first time you’ve all gotten into the food business together?
Ruff: Probably. I’ve been running a concession stand for the past 15 years with my grandmother [Linda] at the Northampton pool, but this is the first time we’ve all come together for a larger venture.
TCG: How did Charlotte Fay’s get started?
R: I was looking for a challenge and I certainly found it. She [Linda] grew up in Slatington, it’s her hometown, and she was bugging me all summer to buy the Slatington Diner. The building was on the market for over a year. We decided that we would attempt to run a restaurant. We bought the building, so we plan on being here a long time.
TCG: What excited you about opening up a restaurant?
R: Serving the public in an exciting, fast-paced environment. When you’re serving the public in the food industry, it’s very dynamic and fun. We wanted that.
TCG: Was it always going to be a ‘50s theme or did you throw some different ideas around?
R: It was always going to be that theme, but we discussed what that would look like. We definitely wanted to do something different, not just records and poodle skirts and powder blue. We wanted to encompass the entire decade, not just the stereotype.
TCG: You were confident enough in your product to replace a diner that was here for over 15 years. What is it about Charlotte Fay’s that you think will set you apart in your customer’s minds?
R: It’s homemade; the place is named after two of my great-grandmothers and some of our recipes are over 100 years old.
TCG: What is your favorite food to cook/serve? Favorite to eat?
R: It’s a tough decision, because I created all these menu items. I would say the Honeymooners (right) for both. I pride myself on the fact that we created some sampler dishes that people really enjoy. When I go get breakfast, I always want a pancake AND French toast, but you have to ask the restaurant to do something special for you. So this has been really popular because it’s a little bit of everything.
TCG: What menu item would you recommend to a first time visitor?
R: Either the Honeymooners platter or the crab cake dinner.
TCG: What does the future hold for Charlotte Fay’s?
R: We’re working on building some great specials. We want to keep things as fresh as possible, so we’re working on ideas. Maybe some theme nights with live entertainment.
Stay updated on Charlotte Fay’s Main Street Diner by following their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/charlottefaysdiner.
Pictured below, the Charlotte Fay’s team from left to right: Brian Ruff / Jason’s father (cook/server), Jason Ruff (owner), Lori Lafar (morning cook), Linda Kromer / Jason’s grandmother (server), and Jolene Ruff / Jason’s sister-in-law (server).