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January 4, 2014

Cal & Dot's to close: Which downtown eatery is poised to take its place?

JOHNSTOWN — Barely four months after the beleaguered restaurant at Johnstown’s airport reopened as Cal & Dot’s Rock and Country Grill, it has closed.

But the eatery won’t be closed for long.

Renovations are planned to make way for The Press Richland, a second location for the Press restaurant in the Central Park Plaza building in downtown Johnstown.

The opening is planned later this month at the John Murtha Johnstown-Cambria County Airport terminal.

Airport manager RaNell Fenchak confirmed the switch.

Richland businessman David Horten will continue his interest in the restaurant, but Cal & Dot’s operator, Galen Blough, is no longer involved, Fenchak said.  

“Since we’ve been open (downtown), we’ve been getting a lot of delivery requests from Richland,” Press co-owner Jeremy Shearer said. “This will allow us to to deliver to all those businesses.”

While launching its airport location as a base for deliveries, Shearer said he and his wife, Jen, will work at establishing the airport as a destination for lunch and dinner.

The menu will be familiar to current patrons of the original 110 Franklin St. Press restaurant, Jeremy Shearer said.

Specialties include sandwiches and wraps toasted on an Italian-style panini press, along with coffee-based specialty drinks. In the evening, tapas and wine are featured.

A new menu will roll out later this month at both locations, he said.

“At some point we will add entertainment, but it will be different,” Shearer said. “It won’t be country. It will be similar to what we do downtown: Casual entertainment; good, live music.

“If the crowd likes it, we like it.”

The Shearers’ success in downtown Johnstown will benefit the Richland location, Horten said.

“If the ones who are going to run it have experience, it is going to be a plus,” Horten said in a telephone interview from his business, NyKo’s Restaurant On Scalp.

The change will create a simpler venue with a new range of cuisine, Horten said.

“We are going to change everything,” Horten said. “People of Richland are going to get a taste of what they have in downtown. I think people are going to be very impressed.”

Horten said he is not actually involved in the ownership of the business. His interest is through his wife So Yeun Horten’s ownership, in partnership with the Shearers.

Press opened in June at the Central Park Complex location, almost three months before Cal & Dot’s premiered at the airport in September. Both restaurants are located in county-owned buildings.

Press Richland will be the eighth name over the restaurant door since the terminal opened on May 1, 1999.

In addition to Cal and Dot’s, previous incarnations have been The Wings Restaurant, Lino’s at the Airport, Skyway Cafe, Barnstormer’s Bar and Grille, Sassy’s at the Airport and Audi’s Olde World Restaurant, which closed in November 2011.

Horten had little to say about Cal & Dot’s demise.

“We just tried one way, and it didn’t work,” Horten said.

Reached at his Riverside home, Blough would not comment, but confirmed he has sold his interest to the Shearers.

Randy Griffith is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/photogriffer57.

 

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