One downtown restaurant displays historic photographs to show the center of Williamsport from years ago.
Joseph Bongiovi, the owner of Bongiovi's Downtown, 321 Pine St., said when he bought the building last year, the photographs and the 50's diner decor came with it. While it was not his first choice for decoration, he kept it for a reason.
" 'That's how I remember downtown,' a woman tells her friend," he said. " 'That's my husband,' another woman says. A man said he knows (a woman in a picture is) Italian by the way she walks."
Joe Bongiovi, owner of Bongiovi’s on Pine Street, offers a reminiscent atmosphere of Williamsport in the 1950s.
The pictures also mean something to Bongiovi.
"That's a 1956 Buick Caroll," he said as he pointed to one of the pictures on the wall featuring a parked car, "It's one of a kind. My uncle is behind the wheel."
For every picture, Bongiovi has a story to tell of the historic Williamsport that he remembers as a child.
When he was growing up, the downtown boasted between 12 and 14 restaurants, offering a wide selection of food including seafood, coffee, stick buns and bacon dressing.
Even the chairs offer a nostalgic memory for patrons. Bongiovi said that the furniture is custom-made for the restaurant.
"People with gray hair that come in say that their grandmothers had chairs like that when they were young," he said. "The chairs are comfortable. It's a novelty."
Despite the diner look, Bongiovi considers his eatery a step up from a diner. He said his large selection of different kinds of food make it a restaurant.
Bongiovi's Downtown is the only restaurant downtown that features a full menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
"We have soups, specials, baked rolls, Italian cookies, and desserts," he said. "It's a full menu. There's something there for everyone."
Bongiovi chose the location last year because it was available, but also because it was downtown.
"I thought the location was terrific," he said. "It's center city."
A glance to the back of the menu maintains the historic theme. Bongiovi wrote about his memories of downtown Williamsport.
"When I was about seven, my mother started putting me and my cousin on the bus in Newberry (yes, alone - it was safe then!) to go to Saturday's kids matinee at the Keystone Theatre," he wrote in one section of it. "She'd give us each 50 cents for the movie, 20 cents for popcorn and a soda and 10 cents to take the bus back home."
One big change that Bongiovi has noticed is the decrease in the amount of people coming downtown, especially for food. He said when people finish work, they head in their car toward the Golden Strip. With the recent opening of Kohl's, he hopes more people will venture to the city center.
"A lot of specialty stores have gone by the wayside once the mall was built," he said.
Constant construction projects throughout the area also hurt business, as well as a lack of parking. Bongiovi said he still receives foot traffic from professionals who work downtown.
Despite the changes, Bongiovi is optimistic for the future of the downtown.
"Williamsport will never be what it was," he said. "It will probably be better and bigger."