Couple re-opens famed Highlands institution
By G. Michael Dobbsnews@thereminder.com
HOLYOKE Susan Goff and her husband Larry Cromack want to bring back a neighborhood tradition to Holyoke. The couple recently opened Susan's Place, a breakfast and lunch restaurant at 930 Hampden St. in the location of the fabled Luchini's of the Highlands.
Mayor Alex Morse and Kathy Anderson, president of the Holyoke Chamber of Commerce, officially noted the opening of the restaurant at a ribbon cutting on April 9.
Cromack said the new eatery opened on March 14 and the reception has been "very good." Goff said with a smile that opening just before the St. Patrick's weekend resulted in "two days of non-stop craziness."
The restaurant features fresh baked items by Cromack and a menu that includes breakfast all day, fresh hand-rolled hamburgers and sandwiches. The couple has also brought in hard-packed ice cream and is offering sundaes, milkshakes and cones. It is the first restaurant owned by the couple, although Goff has been in the restaurant business for 30 years, her husband explained.
Goff said they are keeping portions large and prices affordable to attract families.
Although Holyoke is known for its Irish population, Goff and Cromack have added apple cinnamon or blueberry filled pierogies for breakfast and kielbasa dogs for lunch.
Cromack is the baker and Goff said her husband's Oreo cheesecake cookie is his specialty.
The restaurant features ingredients from local vendors and Goff said, "If we support the local people, they are going to support us."
Goff, a Holyoke native, remembered walking from the family home in the Flats up the hill to the stores on High Street and then further up to eat at Luchini's. She added that Luchini's had the reputation of being a second City Hall, where people talked politics.
"If there was a deal to be made in Holyoke, this was the place it was made," she said.
Since Luchini's closed in 2006, there have been several other restaurants in the same location, and Goff and Cromack hope they can re-kindle the attraction that Luchini's once had.
"We're starting to bring people back from the neighborhood," Cromack said.
With its original tin ceilings and a long mirror at the counter, Susan's Place has a sense of history, something the couple wants to enlarge. Over the door of the bakery, hangs a vintage Dreikorns Bread sign. Goff and Cromack said they would be looking to add pieces of Holyoke's history.
Goff said, "It's a place to come and remember."
The restaurant is open from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday.