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Downtown hotel features excellent dining

The James Restaurant is a unique venue for Williamsport, a welcome place for dining and spirits located in the Holiday Inn.

Travelers staying in the city and locals alike come to the restaurant on the first floor of the hotel to select from the variety of menu items.

“The restaurant is due to be renovated next year,” Heidi Engel, hotel general manager, said.

Hotel guests can easily reach The James by taking the elevator to the first floor.

And the outdoor dining on the patio has been quite popular for diners, especially on Friday nights during warm weather months.

“That’s the hot spot in town,” Engel said. “We extended the patio season into November this year.”

On the patio or inside the restaurant, hotel guests and or other visitors can enjoy a cocktail, a glass of wine or any of the variety of domestic, craft or imported beers.

The menu includes such offerings as Pan Roasted Salmon, Smoked Pork Chops, Pot Roast, Crispy Calamari, Beer Battered Haddock, and Peruvian Seafood Stew.

Other food selections include pizza, BBQ Chicken, burgers, salads, and soups, and chicken wings.

Chef Peter Dougherty said New York Strip Steak and Chicken Marsala are among the most popular menu items.

Dinner is the prime dining time at the restaurant, he said.

The James employs a staff of about 20 people.

“A lot of our staff has been with us for a while,” Engel said.

Located at 100 Pine Street in downtown Williamsport, the hotel and restaurant are within walking distance of many city businesses. And with its strategic spot next to a busy highway, the Holiday Inn lures travelers coming east or west through Williamsport.

As with other restaurants across the state, COVID-19 cut into business, Engel noted. Right now, it’s at 50 percent of dining capacity but the bar remains closed.

“Not having our bar open has been challenging,” Engel said. “It’s been a tough year.”

Business has also been hurt in the past nine months by fewer travelers and the cancellation of events by local organizations.

The hotel has 102 guest rooms, several meeting rooms, a banquet room, pool, and fitness center.

“We have plenty of parking,” Engel said.

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