Lamp Theatre in Irwin to expand using part of Ritter's Diner
March 17, 2017 12:00 AM
Lamp Theatre in Irwin, PA.
By Anne Cloonan
A piece of Pittsburgh’s restaurant history will soon join a piece of theater history in Westmoreland County.
A stainless steel diner that was once part of Ritter’s Diner and has been sitting empty at Station Square is expected to be moved in upcoming weeks next to The Lamp Theatre in Irwin.
The diner, which does not have a kitchen, will be attached to the theater and used as seating for patrons eating their popcorn, candy and other concession items.
“Whenever The Lamp gets over 200 people coming to a performance, the current concession area becomes very crowded, with nowhere to sit,” said Mike Pochan of the Irwin Project, the group that helped to raise money for the renovation and reopening of the theater, which first showed movies in 1937.
Building a concession overflow building would have been expensive, he noted.
The 1951 diner, made by the diner-building company DeRaffele Manufacturing Co., had been attached to the kitchen building of Ritter’s Diner before the restaurant moved to its current location on Baum Boulevard in Bloomfield.
The restaurant owners bought a larger diner to attach to their kitchen building, Mr. Pochan said.
One of the owners of Ritter’s Diner, who asked not to be named, said he and his brothers donated the diner to the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation in the mid-1970s before their move.
The foundation no longer owns Station Square. Mr. Pochan bought the diner for $100 from Forest City Station Square Associates LP of Cleveland.
The Irwin Project has borrowed $18,000 needed to move the diner to Irwin. If needed, it will borrow $10,000 for site preparation work before the diner is relocated, he said.
After the diner is moved, an additional $8,000 will be needed for electrical and heating, ventilation and air-conditioing installation, plus $12,000 for interior renovations, Mr. Pochan said.
The utility work and interior renovations can't be done until the rest of the money is raised. Mr. Pchan hopes interior renovations to the diner can be finished by July.
A Go Fund Me page to pay for the project has been created at https://www.gofundme.com/lampdiner
Anne Cloonan, freelance writer: email@example.com.
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