PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The original Ritter’s Diner was moved from Bloomfield to Station Square in 1983.
Now vacant, the 66-year-old throwback soon will be making another move.
The 40-foot, 20-ton former dining establishment will be hoisted onto a flatbed truck for a journey down Route 30 to its third location: Irwin. It will be located right next door to the renovated Lamp Theater.
“We’re going to be going right through this wall here to hook up with this courtyard on the other side, or actually the diner on the other side, when it arrives,” says Lamp Theater General Manager John Cassandro, gesturing toward the wall of the theater’s small concessions area.
“Irwin, being a small town of only 4,000 people, we don’t get a lot of exposure that the bigger towns get,” he added. “So adding a little diner here would kind of be a little tourist attraction.”
The newly-restored theater is 14 years older than the diner. With the help of more than 100 volunteers, renovations include the expansion of the stage and addition of 354 new seats.
The general manager says longtime Irwin residents get a sense of nostalgia when they visit the Lamp Theater.
“First of all, this is tugging on their heartstrings, because this is their childhood here.” Cassandro said. “And coming back into a place they thought might not even be around, that might even be a parking lot because of the disrepair it was in a few short years ago, some of them cry and have very emotional reactions.”
The non-profit theater continues to collect donations for further restoration, through its website: https://www.gofundme.com/lampdiner