The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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July 20, 2013

B-29 launches new mission: Tavern shifts focus to diners

JOHNSTOWN — A renowned Brownstown establishment is back to serving customers but with a different focus: dining.

The B-29 Restaurant, formerly the B-29 Tavern, was reopened about two weeks ago by a man who owned the business before.

Dean Smuro, a Brownstown native now living in Chambersburg, Frank­lin County, owned the B-29 about

10 years ago for a couple of years.

The establishment at 125 Ha­bicht St. had two other owners before Smuro resumed ownership six months ago.

Smuro also bought the former Doug’s Place tavern across the street and reopened it as Fun Times tavern at the same time he opened the restaurant.

The 1959 graduate of Ferndale Area High School spent the past six months remodeling the restaurant, placing an emphasis on dining. Alcoholic beverages will still be available, he said.

“We changed it,” Smuro said. “We gave it a little different atmosphere.”

The B-29 can seat 65 people for dinner, he said. “It’s nice.”

The beer lights on the walls have been replaced by wall lamps.

Smuro also hired a manager, Pamela Manon, and a chef, Aaron Lewis, plus a number of servers.

“Aaron is a fabulous cook,” Smuro said. “He can make the dinner of your choice.”

Manon has plenty of experience at managing a restaurant and also will lead the serving staff, Smuro said.

Lewis, who had been a chef in the Navy and has an associate degree in culinary arts from the Commonwealth Technical Institute in Upper Yoder Township, said turning the

B-29 into a restaurant was a good idea.

“The concept is there,” he said.

“The customers are nice people,” Lewis said. “The word has gotten out that we are open.”

Customers also are ordering takeouts, he said.

The B-29 opens at 11 a.m. Mondays through Saturdays for lunch and remains open through dinnertime and beyond if there are still customers, he said.

Smuro, who has every Ferndale Area High School yearbook from 1938 to the present, plus a number of Greater Johnstown High School yearbooks, is keeping the books at the restaurant for customers, especially Ferndale graduates, to read.

Smuro plans to keep the restaurant open later at some point and have light entertainment. He is hoping to do business on Sundays, possibly with a buffet, beginning in January.

At Fun Times tavern, 150 Habicht St., manager Frank Steele is offering a grand opening special through

Aug. 1, Smuro said. A glass of beer will cost $1.25 and bottles of beer $1.35 during the special.

In addition to alcoholic beverages, the tavern will serve sandwiches and pizzas.

Hours will be 4:30 p.m. until closing Mondays through Saturdays.

The original B-29 was started by two Brownstown brothers when they returned home from fighting in World War II.

Steve Oleksa, who was in the Navy and resides near the B-29, said they chose the name because his late brother, John, served as a mechanic with a B-29 squadron.

A propeller from a B-29 plane that the brothers installed inside the establishment remains a fixture at the restaurant.

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