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Where Ya at YaJagoff

Where Ya At: The Johnstown, PA Edition 

By Daniel Casciato

On Saturday, July 2, 2022, Strikeout PSP will host its annual fundraising event at PNC Park when the Pittsburgh Pirates battle the Milwaukee Brewers. 

Founded by my wife, Amanda McKendree, Strikeout PSP is an organization that helps raise awareness of Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP), a brain disease with no known causes, treatments, or cure. It affects your mobility, vision, speech, and cognitive functioning. Her dad, Joseph McKendree of Salix, PA (outside of Johnstown), passed away from PSP on January 19, 2018, after a courageous 4-year battle with this disease. He left behind a wonderful loving family including his 3 beautiful granddaughters. He loved the outdoors and he served our country faithfully in the Army and later in the National Guard.

We partnered with Cure PSP, Inc., an organization at the forefront of promoting PSP awareness, education, and research to ensure that proceeds of our annual fundraising efforts will support the most promising PSP research initiatives. Well continue to hope for a cure for others afflicted by this disease, by supporting PSP research initiatives. To date, Strikeout PSP has raised over $4,000. 

You can learn more about Strikeout PSP at our website. 

Since my father-in-law was from the Johnstown area, I wanted to feature a few of his favorite places from his hometown in this week’s Where Ya At?

Photo from Corner Coffee Shoppe’s Facebook Page

Corner Coffee Shoppe

The Corner Coffee Shoppe is a family restaurant that has been in existence for over 50 years. It serves you more than just coffee—you can get breakfast (all day) along with lunch and dinner. This quaint diner began in the 60’s in the Geistown Cloverleaf location where it was neighbor to the old Saylor Brothers Hardware, and in 1997, it moved to its current location, on the “Corner” of the Bel Air Plaza. In 2017, Natalie and John Riccilli began a total remodel of the restaurant. The goal was to recreate the “old-style diner feel” complete with chrome, red, and black décor. It certainly is a throwback of yesteryear, complete with a black and white checkerboard floor as well as a long lunch counter complete with stools. Walk in anytime and you’ll hear music from the 50’s and 60’s blasting in the background.

Photo from Morris’ Website

Morris’ Tavern & Restaurant

This was one of my father-in-law’s favorite restaurants. Located in Sidman, PA, Morris’ Tavern and Restaurant was founded in 1973 by 24-year-old Terry Morris.

Terry and his wife, Kim, who joined him in 1982, ran the place together for 24 years. They continued to add more original recipes to its menu, unique wildlife decor to its ambience and extra dining space to its upper floor. After Terry’s passing in 1997 passing, Kim took over and helped the restaurant grow and thrive. Today, with the hard work of her second husband and partner Ken Golias, Kim is celebrating 49 years of success. Regulars will tell you the good food and even better friendship is what keeps bringing them back. 

With a constant commitment to quality, Kim and Ken prides themselves in serving the best food in town. They begin every morning by making their pizza dough from scratch. It begins with flour and yeast, which is then rolled by hand. The chili is made from scratch from Terry’s original recipe, salads are made fresh and each wing sauce is handcrafted. Kim remarks that it’s the way they’ve always done it and the way they always will do it.

Photo from The Bistro’s Facebook Page

The Bistro

Founded in 1980, The Bistro is another family owned local restaurant that offers great food, such as their famous breaded wing dings, and wonderful service. 

Loved by locals and traveling foodies alike, this cozy establishment highlights the owners’ passion for market-fresh ingredients, honest cooking, and an enjoyable atmosphere. Its menu features a wide selection of dishes, all made in-house by its team of talented chefs. With some of the most delicious combinations of ingredients, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

Photo from The Johnstown Flood Museum’s Website

Johnstown Flood Museum

On May 31, 1889, a neglected dam and a phenomenal storm led to a catastrophe in which 2,209 people from the Johnstown area died. While it’s a tragic story, it’s also one of a triumphant recovery. Visit the Johnstown Flood Museum, which is operated by the Johnstown Area Heritage Association, to find out more about this shocking episode in American history. the museum features an Academy Award-winning documentary, artifacts, exhibits and more.

Photo from Heritage Discovery Center’s Website

Heritage Discovery Center

The Heritage Discovery Center’s exhibits include America: Through Immigrant Eyes, which tells a national story in a local setting — the story of late 19th century immigration from Europe; and the Iron & Steel Gallery, which vividly explains the story of the steel industry in Johnstown. The third floor is devoted to the Johnstown Children’s Museum, where kids can learn through play about this region’s ecology, history, geography and more.

Photo from The Johnstown Inclined Plane’sWebsite

Johnstown Inclined Plane

Built to remove citizens from Johnstown in case of a flood, this is the world’s steepest vehicular inclined plane. The Inclined Plane was designed by Samuel Diescher of Pittsburgh, internationally known as an engineer of vertical railroads, having designed the Monongahela, Duquesne, Fort Pitt, and Castle Shannon inclines as well.

The Cambria Iron Company began construction of the inclined railway in 1890, to carry people, horses and wagons to the new hilltop community of Westmont. On June 1, 1891 the Johnstown Inclined Plane began providing convenient transportation up Yoder Hill which had a steep 70.9% grade.

On March 17, 1936 when flood waters ran through Johnstown, the Inclined Plane proved its worth by carrying almost 4,000 residents to safety. In the most recent flood to hit Johnstown on July 20, 1977, the Inclined Plane once again carried people to the safety of higher ground, as well as carrying boats, emergency personnel and equipment down to the valley to aid in rescue operations.

Though it’s currently closed for renovations in 2022, it’s scheduled to reopen in the spring of 2023.

Photo from Asiago’s Website

Asiago’s Tuscan Italian

This restaurant was another favorite of my father-in-law’s. Situated high above sea level, Asiago’s is perched atop the historic Johnstown Inclined Plane offering you breathtaking views of the city. Reminiscent of an Apennine ascent, the view from Yoder Hill is impressive in any season, day or night, making Asiago’s one of the best romantic restaurants in the city.

Asiago’s features authentic Tuscan Italian cuisine and beautiful Tuscan decor. The experience begins the moment you walk through the doors. The tasteful Romanesque atmosphere beckons you with warmth, ideal for an intimate dinner, family gathering, business lunch, or special occasion party. You won’t find a drink menu similar to Asiago’s Wine and Martini Bar at any other martini bars in the area. Asiago’s has a wine list with more than one hundred selections, custom-blended vodka and rum infusers, signature martinis, seasonal sangrias, remarkable craft beers, and specialty mixed drinks. Its one-of-a-kind Sunday brunch tempts your sense of adventure with a full Bloody Mary and Mimosa bar.

Every dish on Asiago’s authentic Italian restaurant menu, from exceptional salads to pasta specialties, hand cut steaks, and seafood, is created with passionate attention to detail and the freshest ingredients. Asiago’s sauces and breads are made daily, in house. Dipping oils are custom blended, and distinctive desserts are the hand-crafted sweet ending to your perfect meal. Caramelized cheesecake and peanut butter pie are homemade by the owner’s mother.

 

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