PITTSTON — Cooper’s Seafood Waterfront in Pittston will serve its last meal as a restaurant on Sunday, but will still be open for business.
According to a press release received by the Times Leader Monday, the restaurant will transition to Cooper’s Waterfront Catering/Banquet Facility. The press release was sent by the Greater Pittston Chamber of Commerce just before noon Monday.
Co-owner Paul Cooper met with staff at the restaurant in Pittston Monday afternoon to deliver the news to the employees. He said many of the employees have shown interest in staying on for the catering and banquet business. Some employees will also be moved to the family’s other location in Scranton.
One of the reasons Cooper made the decision to close the restaurant was because the success Cooper’s Seafood House in Scranton has had with the catering business. Catering has been offered at Cooper’s for many years in Pittston, but this transition will allow the business to focus on that along with the banquet facility.
“Our catering department in Scranton is doing so well,” Cooper said. “We approached the Chamber with the idea and they were ecstatic after (Pittston) Convention Hall closed.”
The business in Pittston was booking two or three private parties per weekend, while the Scranton location has been booking almost twice that. The menu for catering in Pittston will not be changed.
“This has been a great place for Pittston and the chamber has worked with us greatly through the whole process,” Cooper said.
Outside of the Gramercy Restaurant on Main Street, the area has been missing a banquet facility since the convention center closed, Cooper said.
Once Sunday hits, patrons will no longer be able to eat at the restaurant as they have since 1992. The business will be renovated over the next few weeks in preparation for events in the coming months. There are already several events booked for the space.
The renovation in the dining area will include removing a wall and making the space one cohesive room. The Cabana, the popular tropical-themed bar are, will be available for private parties as well. Cooper’s Manager Nicole Telford, who will move to the Scranton location, said people can start booking the banquet facility now.
The Cooper family opened the initial Cooper’s Seafood House in 1948 in Scranton, which is still open today. The business, now co-owned by Paul and Jack Cooper, was started by their father, John. The Waterfront location in Pittston opened its doors in 1992. The restaurant has been expanded to include Cooper’s Cabana and a forest room with a view of the Susquehanna River.
The banquet facility can fit more than 100 patrons, along with the room in the Cabana area.
The Cooper family officially opened the location in December of 1991, and has been a staple in and around Greater Pittston ever since. The Cabana opened several years ago, and the popular forest room – where the banquet facility will be – was opened in 1996.
“I’ve been crying for the past half hour,” an emotional Cooper said Monday. “I’ve been here for 25 years and it’s been great.”
In February 2015, Cooper’s announced the Pittston location is for sale as the owners wanted to focus on the current Scranton location.
Cooper’s has already started planning its transition, as the release states anyone interested in planning an event may contact Janet Sterlecki at 570-346-7049 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Cooper said it’s because of Strelecki’s ability to turn the catering business around in Scranton this is all possible.
Cooper was emotional when talking about making this transition on Monday, but there’s one thing that keeps him working to keep the family business at its best.
“Look at that spectacular view,” he said.
Reach Nick Wagner at 570-991-6406 or on Twitter @Dispatch_Nick.