Historic Scranton building reopens as cafe’

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A 120-year-old building inside Scranton’s Nay Aug Park has begun its latest chapter, transitioning from bathroom to coffee shop.

SCRANTON, Pa. — A building that was built around the turn of the 20th century as a women’s bathroom at Nay Aug Park in Scranton’s golden age when even bathrooms got the best architecture, it’s now the Blackwatch Cafe.

“There’s so much beautiful architecture in this city, and any time they can preserve it, and somebody wants to put money into it and make it into a beautiful café, all the better. It’s wonderful,” Bobbye Kopec said.

Pat Hinton bought the place in 2018 with the dream of restoring it into something the park’s founder and seventh mayor of Scranton, Col. Ezra Ripple, would be proud of.

“This building always fascinated me, the architecture of it, the stonework, just that that old Scranton feel. and for years, I always wanted to open up a café, and I thought the two would just match perfectly,” Hinton said.

Hinton says he finally had construction permits in hand, and then the pandemic hit. He’s hopeful that people will be returning to the park this summer and will be looking for a cup of coffee or bite to eat.

The owners hope people who frequent Nay Aug Park come and check out the café. They also hope that people across the street at Geisinger Community Medical Center check it out, too.

“We think it’s a wonderful asset to the park and for the people who work at the hospital, all the people who come through this park, especially in the summer,” Kopec said.

“We love to come here with our kids and play, and now it’s an extra added bonus,” Sarah McNamy said.

The Blackwatch Cafe is planning a grand opening next week and extended hours through the summer months.

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