Local eatery honors veterans

The story goes that Jack Rooney and his wife Sarah stopped at the former Wilma’s Country Kitchen at 3630 Lycoming Creek Road one day in 2007 when they were asked if they knew someone who wanted to buy the place.

And that’s how the Rooney’s came to own what became Jack & Sarah’s Family Restaurant.

Almost immediately, they transformed the place into an eatery that honors military veterans and their service to their country.

“Most of the stuff in here was donated,” Rooney said, looking around the small restaurant at the photos, memorabilia and other decor given over to the military.

With seating for about 55 people, reasonable prices and tasty home-cooked meals, the restaurant is a popular destination for many people, from flag-waving patriots to hungry truckers and others.

“A lot of people come in here say they are thankful that it’s here,” Rooney said.

Military service runs in the Rooney family.

Rooney, 70, served a stint in the Air Force as did his daughter.

He also has a son who served in the Marines.

His father was in the Army-Air Force.

Sarah also has family members who served in the military.

He has no plans to expand his restaurant or really change it any way.

“I like it just the way it is,” Rooney said. “I just take stuff that’s been up a while and replace it.”

Running a restaurant, he said, is a lot of fun.

He and his wife know a lot of people who come into the place, but they also get to meet many folks from elsewhere.

“It keeps me occupied until I retire,” added Sarah.

Sarah makes a lot of the restaurant’s desserts, including pecan cheese pie – a favorite.

Otherwise, the food preparation is given over to what she called “two awesome cooks.”

Rooney spends a lot of time smoozing with the customers.

“A trucker just came in the other day and told us it was the best restaurant in the state,” he said.

The staff, he said, is friendly

“They try to be as nice to customers as possible,” he said.

Weekends are the busiest times.

“We are wall to wall Saturdays and Sundays,” Rooney said.

Sarah said the breakfast menu is what draw many patrons.

Pancakes, eggs and other breakfasts fare are served all day.

And where else in the area can one find grits?

How about liver pudding? Scrapple?

“Our specialty is pulled pork sandwiches,” Rooney said.

Other menu items include fried haddock or catfish, country fried chicken, char-broiled chicken breast, and steak.

At $12.59, the rib-eye steak is the most expensive item on the menu.

In essence, it’s home-style cooking

“It’s just like grandma’s house,” Rooney said.

Jack & Sarah’s is open seven days a week.

Hours are 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. every day except Friday when the restaurant stays open until 8 p.m.