City man likes the direction of local culinary scene

Cliff Sweeting likes the direction the city’s culinary scene is heading.

“We’ve had 13 new restaurants open up in two years,” Sweeting said. “We didn’t have such a variety before. It opens up the job market for individuals.”

Sweeting, who has lived most of his life in Williamsport, says the area “is known more for mom-and-pop restaurants that are always tasteful.”

“Now we’ve got another major chain opening up, with Dan Klingerman opening up that Buffalo Wild Wings. It’s good for the area to get that variety in here.”

Sweeting thinks the influx of gas workers has had influence on restaurants that have opened recently in the area.

“Ben Stopper opened that Bootleg barbecue, with that type of barbecue that’s a lot heavier down south than up north. You’ve got Hana, and Ichiban, that sort of food is big in other areas and just came here.”

Sweeting had compliments for the Brickyard’s burgers – “they’re bar none” – and said his first taste of the “beyond normal” cuisine at The Sticky Elbow was good.

He says he wouldn’t mind seeing a P.F. Chang’s and a Waffle House, which he developed a taste for during stints of living in Atlanta as a kid.

What he would most like to see move into Williamsport, though, are some of the high-end grocery chains that have become popular in more affluent areas in the past decade, lsuch as Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s.

“There’s been a big movement in the organic area,” Sweeting said. “You go into Wegmans, there’s more food in the organic aisle. People are getting educated on GMO, MSG, high-fructose corn syrup. People ultimately want to be healthy and their kids to be healthy.”