The Hoagie Hut has returned to Factoryville.
Located at the site formerly occupied by the Lions Den at 3 Tunnel Hill Road near Lackawanna Trail High School, the Hoagie Hut is offering the same high quality subs that it has been famous for since the original restaurant opened in 1975.
That’s because the new operation, which opened on Aug, 3, is being overseen by Paulette Johnson and her sister Tara Basile, daughters of the late William Dixon, who established the original Dixon’s Hoagie Hut on Route 6 more than 40 years ago.
Johnson was with her father when that restaurant opened for business.
Rounding out the new partnership is Bobby Pacholec, and the three use the same secrets and techniques William Dixon developed through the years that makes the Hoagie Hut stand out to the customers who frequent the establishment.
“We ran the business for almost 40 years,” Johnson recalled about the original restaurant. “Then I decided to step back for the last two years. Running a family business is tough, and I needed a break. But then I started to think about coming back.”
The original Dixon’s Hoagie Hut closed down at the beginning of the year.
“We just wanted to get back into Factoryville,” Basile explained. “We heard there was a need and the opportunity presented itself. We heard this building was for rent and we jumped on it.”
“Our landlords, Albert and Barbara Beebe, have been wonderful,” Johnson said.
The Beebes ran the Lions Den for a number of years before ceasing operation in July.
The Hoagie Hut will be a year-round operation, open Monday through Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
“We’re thinking of expanding to 8 p.m.,” Johnson said. “If we can expand our staff.”
“Everything has been positive,” Pacholec said, concerning their new location. “We already had a good relationship with the high school, because they (the students) always came to the old one.
William Dixon’s legacy as founder of Dixon’s Hoagie Hut continues even beyond Factoryville. When the original restaurant closed down, his son Bill Dixon and Bill’s wife Sandra opened a new Dixon’s Hoagie Hut in Tunkhannock on Feb. 15.
Although the Factoryville and Tunkhannock restaurants have different owners, the same procedures, techniques and quality controls in making subs is employed at both restaurants, helping both maintain a very loyal base of customers.
When he established Dixon’s Hoagie Hut in Factoryville, William Dixon decided he wanted to do something that would make his menu items stand out.
“He developed the recipes through a lot of trial and error,” Johnson recalled, explaining that she was 18 and right out of high school when she started helping her father in the restaurant. “He really knew what he wanted and he wanted to make it right.”
In the beginning, Johnson said, her father did not use mayonnaise when making his hoagies. But Dixon eventually changed his mind and incorporated mayonnaise into his recipes when he realized that’s what his customers wanted.
The original Dixon’s Hoagie Hut was definitely a family affair.
“All the kids worked there,” Johnson said. “Nieces, nephews, sisters-in-law. It’s definitely a family business in just about every sense of the word.”
In addition, the establishment of the Hoagie Hunt in Factoryville and Dixon’s Hoagie Hut in Tunkhannock, under different family members, has not caused any problems between the Dixon relatives.
“There’s no in-fighting,” Basile explained. “We peacefully co-exist. There’s no animosity.”
Basile said that training to make a proper sub at the Hoagie Hut varies, depending on the person.
“Sometimes it takes a week. Sometimes a it takes a year,” she explained. “Some people never get it. It depends on the person.”
“Because we’re a small operation, we do a little bit of everything,” Johnson explained. “We might take an order, go back and make it, then check the person out.”
Johnson explained that all the ingredients they use are fresh. Fresh onions are chopped each morning right before the restaurant opens, and fresh tomatoes are cut.
“We also offer party platters and meat platters. And three-foot long hoagies,” Basile said.
“People have been nice,” Pacholec said. “They’ve really given us a lot of show of support.”
“Business has been good,” Johnson said. “Despite the fact we kept running out of hoagie buns every night for the first week.”