Longtime Tylerdale eatery Krency’s reopens with new look

February 16, 2014
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Jim McNutt/Observer-Reporter
Chef Art Meza serves up dishes for customers Feb. 11 at the newly remodeled Krency’s Restaurant. Order a Print
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Jim McNutt/Observer-Reporter
Rhonda Macfarlane sets out a tray of treats in Krency’s Bakery. Order a Print
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Jim McNutt/Observer-Reporter
Bob Hollick and Mike Namie chat at a table on the right while chef Art Meza makes a sandwich on the grill in the background at the newly remodeled Krency’s Restaurant in Tylerdale. Order a Print

Doug Krency glanced around at a roomful of change.

“We have new walls, new floors, new counters, new chairs, new tables,” he said, enumerating from a list that includes new colors and a new chef.

Krency’s, a Tylerdale tradition, has reopened its dining area to the breakfast and lunch crowd following a year-long interior renovation. It was a much-needed facelift, Doug said, resulting in a spiffy, soothing blue and pale yellow motif with retro photos, neatly arranged tables and an open kitchen jutting out.

“We decided to rejuvenate,” he said of an upgrade that he, his brother David and friend David Clark planned and executed. “The room was red and white. It has more of a dining room look now.”

Reopening day was Feb. 7, and the crowds, thus far, have been steady.

Krency’s has been a city of Washington favorite since 1959, launched by Doug’s father, Mickey, at the intersection of Jefferson and Wylie avenues. It endures there today, renowned for the bakery featuring its signature doughnuts, birthday cakes, raisin cookies and other treats, and complemented by the catering and dining operations.

Krency’s also is recognized by longtime patrons and local residents for a non-food-related moment. About 20 years ago, a deer crashed through the front door and was captured inside.

No, venison was not on the next day’s menu.

It is one of two Krency’s in the city, co-owned by Doug and his brother Michael. Michael operates the one on East Maiden Street.

The Jefferson store’s bakery is immaculately displayed, large and well lit with items arranged flawlessly in an expansive showcase. It remained open during the renovation, along with the catering end.

Actually, the dining area was available during the work period, serving as a party room for birthday celebrations, wakes, showers and other occasions.

All told, the original Krency’s has 4,000 square feet in which to operate. Doug Krency and his eight employees do all of the food preparation in the back of the building and have a trailer in the alley behind there that provides mobile refrigeration for catering.

David Krency handles a lot of the baking and catering, mulitasking along with the rest of a staff of mostly veterans and a few newbies.

Art Meza is a rookie only in a Krency’s sense. He is the executive chef, one with an impressive resume: a chef for seven years at the George Washington Hotel in downtown Washington, and for 11 at Washington & Jefferson College.

“Sometimes I worked at both at the same time,” said Meza, a native of Barcelona, Spain. “I’m just here now. I’m enjoying this.”

Meza lives in East Washington and has been in the area since 1995. He likes the local flavor – and flavors.

“Some of the best foods I’ve had have been here in Washington County. You can change anything here (recipe-wise).”

Though he doesn’t plan immediate changes at Krency’s, Meza said, ““We’re going to get a more intense menu in the next three to six months.”

Rhonda Macfarlane, conversely, is a longtime Krency’s employee. She has worked in the bakery for 11 years, since finishing an externship at a Pittsburgh culinary school. Her day there starts at 4 a.m., helping to prepare the fabled doughnuts, and ends when she closes the shop in the early evening.

Bakery hours are 6 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday; and 6 to 5 on Saturday. The shop is closed Sunday and Monday.

Not that she’s grousing.

“This is a good place to work,” Macfarlane said. “We’re busy here, especially during the holidays. The bakery opens at 6, and I have customers waiting for me to let them in.

“The dining room is popular, too. People missed it.”

Hours there are 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. six days a week; it is closed on Mondays. Breakfast, Doug Krency said, is served at all times and is especially popular on Saturdays and Sundays. Luncheon items are available during appropriate times.

Doug has worked at his namesake shop since 1975. Ofttimes, as it usually is with a family business, the labor has been laborious. Renovating one phase while operating the others was demanding.

But as he glanced around again at his refurbished room, he smiled with satisfaction.

“I think this is going to be all right.”

Rick Shrum joined the Observer-Reporter as a reporter in 2012, after serving as a section editor, sports reporter and copy editor at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Rick has won seven individual writing awards, including two Golden Quills.

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