Many have dreamed about buying out their boss and running their business on their own terms, but for restaurateurs Dave Brown and Linda Baker, owners of D&L Railhouse in Nicholson, that dream has become a reality.
Brown and Baker were both cooks at MaZar’s Bridgeview Restaurant in Nicholson, but after MaZar’s opened its Greenview Restaurant in Montrose two years ago, the two began to envision potential changes and new ways to run the Nicholson establishment.
“We had ideas and we took the opportunity to buy out the business,” Brown said, “and once we agreed on amicable terms we got to work.”
That all happened earlier this year, and, after closing for renovations, painting, and decorating on Aug. 4, the new D&L Railhouse opened for business at the same location, under the banner of the famous Tunkhannock Viaduct, on Aug. 5.
Since that time Brown and Baker have been working hard to ensure that their own little vision of the American Dream becomes a reality, all while enjoying the freedom that owning their own restaurant entails.
“We are trying to keep everything popular from the old restaurant,” Brown said, “but we are also jumping on the opportunity to offer more homemade, mom and pop style food, as well as some southern inspired dishes.”
The D&L Railhouse boasts an expansive menu of lunch and dinner specials, ranging from burgers to seafood pierogis to Browns own favorite, the smothered delmonico steak.
They also offer an impressive desert menu, all of which are handmade by Baker herself. Currently the restaurant offers 15 different desserts, with a new cake offered every other weekend.
Diners should know that they are in good culinary hands, as between them Brown and Baker have over 70 years of cooking experience.
Brown has a culinary degree and has been working in restaurants since the early 1980’s. He had been employed as a cook at the Nicholson MaZar’s since 2009.
Baker, who is self-taught, has also been cooking for as long as she can remember. She has done a little bit of everything, and was even employed as a cook on a deep-sea oil rig for a period of time.
The two said that their goal for the new restaurant attract the same level of business that MaZar’s did prior to their expansion into Montrose.
“After the Greenview opened in Montrose we lost about 10 or 15 percent of our customers,” Brown said. “A lot of them were from Montrose or close to it, and they weren’t going to drive 30 minutes up here for the same food they could get down there.”
As a way to draw in more customers Baker and Brown have made some changes, updating the restaurant with a railroad theme that reflects both the history of the Tunkhannock Viaduct and the restaurant’s location relative to the infamous bridge.
They hope to attract customers with their family-oriented atmosphere, menu, and view of the Viaduct itself. “We have the best view of the bridge you will find,” says Baker, “and people have said they stopped in just for that.”
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Tunkhannock Viaduct, and D&L will have a kiosk set up outside their restaurant to help accommodate the large crowds that are expected to flock to Nicholson for the Bridge Day celebrations on Sept. 11-13.
“I’ve heard we might get 10,000 people in town that weekend,” Brown laughs, “and we probably won’t be able to fit them all in the restaurant.”
Visitors to the D&L Railhouse can expect the same reliable service from the same staff that they came to know when the restaurant was still MaZar’s.
Baker said that they currently enjoy the patronage of many regulars, but that first-time guests are always welcomed. A 10 percent senior discount is given on Tuesdays.
“We’re a good family restaurant with great prices and a great view,” said Brown. “Stop by and give us a try sometime.”
Other renovations to the restaurant include new tables, chairs, tablecloths, wall paper, and the addition of a new bar-top dining area.
The D&L Railhouse is located along Route 11 in Nicholson. It is open seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.