With its wood-paneled interior, spacious dining space, and outdoor deck affording a gorgeous view of the surrounding forested and mountainous countryside, the New Pine Creek Inn lends an atmosphere of rustic comfort and the great outdoors.
Which is just fine with John English, who took over this longtime Pine Creek Valley restaurant several years ago.
"We spared no expense," he said as he stood in the barroom with his daughter, Heather Cummings, who manages the establishment.
When he purchased the business three years ago, he set for himself three goals: Serve good food, offer top-notch service and provide customers a nice, cozy atmosphere. By staying true to those goals, English feels he's been able to make a success of the business located several miles south of the village of Waterville on Route 44.
"We gutted and redid the place," he said. "We improved it. Everything is new."
English feels his customers, drawn from throughout the region and who include workers in the natural gas industry, have responded.
He feels the business has really taken off in the past year, thanks to the ambience of the place, but also to the wonderful array of menu items.
"It is growing. We have a great chef," he said. "People enjoy sitting on the deck."
Located at the rear of the establishment and added in the past year, the deck seats about 40 people and includes a flat screen television.
He hopes to eventually add a second deck.
Patrons can choose from an eclectic menu of sandwiches, steaks, seafood including lobster tail and fresh haddock, pasta, pork chops, and ribs. English said many of the favorites from the old Pine Creek Inn, including the spaghetti meals served up by the Staccone family, who ran the restaurant for many years, can still be enjoyed by patrons.
"My goal was to be diverse," he said.
English said all the meat is butchered right at the restaurant. He knew virtually nothing about the restaurant business when he launched his venture in 2009. Newly retired from Alcan Cable, he had always wanted to go into business for himself, however.
His mother had formerly worked as a waitress at the old Pine Creek Inn, while daughter Heather had restaurant experience as a waitress and cook. He said he wasn't worrying about taking over a business at a time when the economy was less than robust.
"That really didn't scare me that much," he said. "I just wanted it to be the best it could be."
He's hoping to build the business and eventually hand it off to his daughter. The warmer months of the year are the best time for the business, with weekends the busiest.
In its first year the New Pine Creek Inn was open for weekday lunches, but as English put it: "That didn't work out."
He eventually concluded that the daytime lunch crowd would rather eat near their workplaces in Williamsport and Jersey Shore.
Meals are served from 4 to 9 p.m. Monday to Thursday; 4 to 10 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday.
The restaurant also books parties, including class reunions, rehearsal dinners and other events.
"We can do small parties up to 40 people," Cummings said.