Wilkes-Barre’s historic downtown has long been a regional hub of art, culture, entertainment, and social recreation. From festivals and parades to one of NEPA’s most popular farmers markets, the there’s always something going on. And, whether you’re just visiting on a weekend, or a local looking for a little fun on a Tuesday night, you’re gonna’ to need to eat.
We’ve teamed up with our good friends at Wilkes-Barre’s Diamond City Partnership to bring you the skinny on the city’s versatile and vibrant downtown dining scene. Keep an eye on this space as we explore the Diamond City’s culinary delights.
All-Star Team Leads the Way at Newest Addition to Wilkes-Barre’s Culinary Stable
Bank & Vine merges historic city landmark with fresh, farm-to-table vibes.
Opening a new restaurant can be challenging under normal circumstances – let alone during a pandemic. But that didn’t stop Rob Friedman from bringing Bank + Vine’s unique farm-to-table dining experience to life. Just two months ago, Friedman’s latest venture became the newest addition to Downtown Wilkes-Barre’s restaurant row.
Friedman is no stranger to the restaurant business. He’s spent the last eight years reinvesting his time, attention, and finances into Northeastern Pennsylvania’s burgeoning culinary landscape. To date, the Friedman Hospitality Group owns and operates seven successful, local restaurants in the region.
I just love this place. It is a perfect combination of the old and new — a historically preserved, old bank building with a fresh new look, menu, concept, and team. I am excited to be bringing a unique farm-to-table dining experience to Downtown Wilkes-Barre.
Rob Friedman, Owner, Bank + Vine
All the pieces in place.
Just as the right combination of flavors helps to create the perfect dish, the right combination of people helps to create the perfect dining experience. And it just so happens that you can find both at Bank + Vine. The always seasonal menu features top-quality, locally sourced ingredients. And the team behind that menu brings a wealth of creativity, enthusiasm and many years of fine dining experience. Quite a few of Bank + Vine’s highly skilled food and drink professionals cut their culinary teeth in major market restaurants.
These are the key players in Bank + Vine’s initial success. And yes, they’ve been around the block, so to speak, but here’s the thing – they’re all NEPA natives.
In the kitchen.
Executive Chef, Chad Gelso, prides himself on ensuring that each dish that leaves his kitchen begins with only the freshest ingredients. He meticulously combines an old school, scratch kitchen creativity with an industrious adherence to consistency. Every item on his menu employs nearly microscopic detail and an elevated nuance capable of turning even the humblest local ingredients into stars on the plate.
From Sunday brunch to inspired dinner features, Chef Gelso’s menu aims to please even the most discriminating palate.
Prior to taking the helm at Bank + Vine, Gelso was the Executive Chef at Suraya in Philadelphia. In his tenure, the Fishtown favorite was voted Philly’s #1 restaurant for the past two years. He also credits his culinary curiosity and creative drive for landing him a spot on the popular Hell’s Kitchen with Gordon Ramsay.
Leading from the front.
Bank + Vine’s General manager, Erin Crofchick, also offers a resume packed with big city restaurant experience. She’s spent the past few years planning and running events for one of Philly’s biggest celebrity restauranteurs. And she is thrilled to be bringing her big city experience to Downtown Wilkes-Barre. “Each one of us is excited for the doors to open every day.” She continued, “We love what we do, we love our customers, and we love being part of Downtown’s revitalization.”
For Erin, Bank + Vine’s success is representative of a new direction forward for Wilkes-Barre and Northeastern Pennsylvania in general. “Our area has changed for the better and we want to be on the cutting edge of making great things happen.”
Wet your whistle.
Golf carried Ryan Dimmick from the Back Mountain to the rolling greens of North Carolina. His passion for wine and deep-rooted love for whiskey brought him to Bank + Vine. The Level 1 Sommelier and master mixologist mans the polished, Prohibition-styled bar. He’s not one to shy away from coaxing diners into trying something new. And he makes good sport of challenging cocktail norms with fresh, seasonal ingredients.
Dimmick and Chef Gelso pride themselves on a bar/kitchen partnership that demands an elemental understanding of food and drink symbiosis.
A sweet ending.
Former Philadelphia pastry chef, Kristen Fereck doubles down on the local, farm-to-table theme. Her inspired desserts leave diners starry-eyed and puppy-bellied. Bank + Vine’s sweets menu features plenty of local ingredients and new twists on old favorites. In all, the hard-to-resist, homemade desserts offered the perfect ending to an unforgettable meal.
Bank + Vine offers both indoor and outdoor dining. There’s even a private table inside the old bank vault. And when it comes to safety, Friedman and the team go above and beyond all recommended guidelines. The spacious restaurant features socially distanced tables and high-tech air scrubbers as an additional precaution.
Go downtown and check out Bank + Vine.