The Ross Club, 201 W. Fourth St., has been open for more than 115 years, and has been serving its members with pride since 1890.
The Ross Club features dining areas downstairs and rooms upstairs where private luncheons and parties can be held, according to Ann Bennett, manager of the facility.
While the club reserves the large dining room, classic club bar and card rooms for the members and their families, friends and business associates, the club also has four dining rooms that are open to the public.
Joseph La Belle, executive chef for the Ross club, prepares food on site. La Belle has been executive chef at the Ross Club for about six months.
Ann Bennett, manager of the Ross Club, and Bob Crockett, president of the Ross Club, stand in one of the gathering rooms at the Ross Club.
Shown here is the largest dining room in the Ross Club. Ann Bennett, manager, said it holds about 60 people.
For instance, the Lycoming County DUI Advisory Council and other organizations, hold their meetings at the Ross Club.
To belong to the club, members pay annual dues, but members can use the facilities and dine in the club. The Ross Club is currently accepting applications for new members now.
"We depend on our members to get other members interested in joining," Bennett said.
To be considered to be a member of the Ross Club, potential members must fill out an application and have a sponsor. After that their application is reviewed by the board of directors and a vote is taken.
Originally the purpose of the organization was the promotion of unity of community activity, informal discussions and the interchange of the ideas.
"That was the original purpose of the club," Bob Crockett, president of the Ross Club, said. "It was at one time a businessman's club, but that's no so anymore. We have many female members."
The club even had a bylaw change last year. Spouses are now equal members.
"It used to be that if a married couple belonged to the club only one spouse could be the member," Crockett said. "It could be the husband or the wife, but we changed the bylaws to make spouses equal members so now they both have half a vote."
Crockett said the objective was to make the organization non-sexist.
The biggest change that has occurred at the club is the addition of a tavern-like setting.
"We used to rent out the space for political campaigns or other things like that, but we made the decision a few years ago, to upgrade the entire club and take the space we formerly rented out and make it into a tavern."
Crockett said that the change was to cater to people that were looking for a more informal area to meet.
"By adding this tavern, we have created more of an interest with younger people," Crockett said. "It really has worked out the way we planned it. And the older members like it too."
The rooms in the upstairs portion of the club - the Ross Room, Perley Room, Slate Room, Lamade Room and Foresman Room - can be rented out by members and non-members for various associations, such as wedding receptions, bridal or baby showers or engagement parties.
"That is something that we are anxious to get the word out about," Crockett said. "Many people perceive that you have to be a member to utilize our rooms upstairs."
Crockett said that each of the rooms in the Ross Club are named after individuals who have a history at the club.
The Ross Club employs 14 people, including waitstaff and chefs, to provide the customers with the best service possible.
Bennett has been at the Ross Club for 13 years and has been manager of the club for two years. Bennett said she works hard everyday to make sure the club offers exciting events to members.
Crockett has been the president of the club for about two years and he said his great-grandfather, Allen Putnam Purley, was president of the Ross Club in 1905. "One of the rooms upstairs is named after him," Crockett said proudly.
Joseph La Belle has been the executive chef at the Ross Club for about six months and his mission is to serve spectacular food and provide professional hospitable service in an entertaining and dynamic environment.
"My personal passion is food and drink," La Belle said. "I am one of those individuals that lives to eat rather than eats to live. To that extent, I will procure only the freshest ingredients available and prepare everything on our menu "in house" and to a higher standard."
There is actually a tavern menu, a dining room menu and specials that change each weekend.
The menu has a large range of food, including some regional aspects, Italian items and classic American dishes, La Belle said.
"The menu actually changes every three months," La Belle said.
Some of the items on the menu include roasted duck quesadilla, lobster hush puppies and white truffle macaroni.
The menu also has hamburgers, salads and many other items, such as chicken roulade, sweet brine pork tenderloin and jumbo lump crabcakes.
La Belle has a degree in culinary arts and has been a chef for more than 10 years. "I lived in Atlanta for six years, but moved back to Williamsport, because I grew up around here," La Belle said.
Monday 8 a.m. to 2 p.m
Tuesday to Friday 8 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Saturday 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Monday to Friday 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Tuesday to Saturday 5 to 8:30 p.m.