Peculiar Kitchen in Scranton hosts buffet with live music on January 16 to benefit V-Spot after fire

NEPA stage staff

On New Years Eve, the roof of the V-Spot in Scranton caught fire while it was being repaired for minor leaks. While no patrons were in the bar yet and no one was injured, the fire, smoke, and water damage will likely take about a month or more to repair, leaving bartenders, bouncers, kitchen workers and event staff out of work until then.

Last week, NEPA Scene launched a GoFundMe crowdfunding campaign for The V-Spot employees which has already raised $ 4,675 from 100 donors. A special event coming up this weekend seeks to dramatically increase that total.

In partnership with NEPA Scene, Peculiar Kitchen in downtown Scranton will host a small fundraising dinner and town hall on Sunday, Jan. 16 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. with live music by Dustin Douglas of the Wilkes- blues rock trio- Barre Dustin Douglas & The Electric Gentlemen, Jeremy Burke of alternative rock band Jung Bergo from Scranton and Adam McKinley from jazz funk band SUZE from Kingston.

A $ 10 at the door donation includes a buffet with a variety of food donated by Peculiar and other local restaurants like the Backyard Ale House, Villa Bettelli, Taco Bout Us, and Noir Dark Spirits. There will also be a cash bar with a benefit percentage, and NEPA Scene merchandise will be available for purchase.

Peculiar Kitchen (307 Penn Ave., Scranton) is generally closed on Sundays, so they just open for this friendly gathering that was led and hosted by owner and chef Gene Philbin, who “serves new American comfort food with serious passion. for Asia. flare, experience all kinds of dishes unique to the region ‘at the recently renamed restaurant.

“It has been a fairly difficult year for restaurants and bars around the world. We are all trying to survive, and New Years Eve is usually a big day for all of us. The minute I heard the V-Spot caught on fire, I thought to myself, “There’s never a good time when this happens, but damn it was a really tough time. That day is really a big help, especially during the January / February crisis, and it was taken away from them. It’s a no-brainer to help them in any way we can, ”said Philbin.

“And besides being wonderful people, they are big supporters of local art, music and their fellow restaurants and bars. The problem with a lot of restaurants in Scranton is that we’re all in the same boat. They would do the same for any of us.

NEPA Scene founder and editor Rich Howells agreed, noting that V-Spot co-owner Vinnie Archer was one of the first people to help his family when his parents’ house burned down there. is barely three years old.

“I knew everyone at The V-Spot was too humble to ask the audience for help, but they really shouldn’t have to. They have always been there for the community with benefit shows, donations for charities and fundraisers, sponsorships etc. so I set up the GoFundMe so we can all be there for them. Over the years, I’ve gotten to know their employees and see how hard they work and what their great personalities are. A lot of workplaces are trying to homogenize the staff and make them all behave like robots, but The V-Spot allows them to be themselves and they’re all great people, ”he explained. .

“As editor-in-chief of NEPA Scene, I also know how important this bar is to the local music scene. They host a wide range of live music each week, our NEPA Scene Open Mic, a popular karaoke night, and events like the annual Steamtown Music Awards. We just lost another concert hall in Scranton, so it’s important to support the ones we have, especially those that feature original local music as well as covers.

Archer told NEPA Scene that neither he nor co-owner Frank Lombardo will accept donations from online and in-person fundraisers – all funds will benefit their employees. After the fire, Archer posted the following message on the bar’s social media:

“What a heartbreaking end for 2021.

At around 5:00 p.m. on Friday (NYE), our roof on the second floor of our three story building accidentally caught fire while being repaired for minor and pesky leaks. Luckily we weren’t open yet, choosing to open at 7pm instead of 3pm that night due to staff issues. Luckily our chef was there to prepare for the evening when he heard screams for help from above. Three of our own fire extinguishers were used to fight the flames before the Scranton firefighters arrived. Bernie (our kitchen superman) is responsible for saving our building from suffering 10 times the possible fire, smoke and water damage it actually caused. This guy has a habit of “saving the day” since the day we met him. An incredible asset to our business in every way imaginable. Our gratitude for his bravery is simply immeasurable!

The number of friends and family on hand to offer help and emotional support was truly humbling. The Scranton Fire Department was so quick to respond and so was the Scranton Police Department. Concern and empathy were clear to see from both of these departments. Bartenders, bouncers, former employees and even our own children crossed the warning tape to show solidarity in what was clearly the darkest hour of our 11 years of existence. Thanks to everyone who helped try to comfort us.

And now?

Well, this morning we met 3 city officials. Each shows genuine respect for us not only as a business owner, but as peers compassionately identifying with our sadness and shock. It was a heartwarming reaction from them for sure. With their leadership, we now know what to do and what not to do to get our business up and running as quickly as possible.

Trust us. With speed… we will make all phone calls, make all appointments, answer and comply with all agencies involved in the process of securing our building to reopen. In a perfect world, where everyone involved in the repair process is working as efficiently as possible, we will be up and running again in 2-3 weeks.

[To the band scheduled to play that night], Dance Hall Devils, we are SO sorry that this has happened. We really love you guys. To our large number of customers, we love you too and are also sorry to spoil what was for sure a legendary evening.

We’ll continue to post reopening screenings as we learn about them. “In the meantime, stay hopeful with us… We want nothing more than to be together with all of you again!

Main photo by Rich Howells / NEPA Scene, illustration by Eric Bussart

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