BURNHAM - Previously known as Luba's Restaurant, a Burnham mainstay was re-opened on April 6 with a new name: the Cedar House Restaurant, located at 206 W. Freedom Avenue.
The new restaurant is owned by Rodger Clare, with Derek Confer as the general manager. Clare, a former Lewistown resident, has lived in northern Virginia for some time, and so Confer, also of Lewistown, works as the acting operator of the restaurant.
Confer's experience in the restaurant business includes working with the public locally, as well as business and catering work in southern California.
Sentinel photo by MATTHEW?LOEWEN
General manager Derek Confer, standing, tends to customers in the dining room of the Cedar House Restaurant in Burnham.
"I'm still influenced today by what I learned out there," Confer said. "(There's) a lot of tropical salsas and citrus and fruits that I like to pair with different fish dishes and what not."
Plans for the Cedar House began a little more than a year before the official opening. For Confer, the effort was inspired mostly by the building's previous life.
"I remember coming here as a child. There were lots of good memories for people in the area," he said. "We wanted to resurrect a local landmark, and also bring something new and fresh."
IF YOU GO
What: Cedar House Restaurant
Where: 206 W. Freedom Ave., Burnham
Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday
The restaurant seats between 80 and 100 customers, and currently has 14 employees, including servers, bartenders, kitchen staff, and in-house chefs.
"We specialize in innovative, fresh, American cuisine," Confer said when describing the restaurant's menu.
The menu is influenced by dishes from all around the country and, in the vein of American cuisine's multicultural spirit, by many foreign flavors as well.
The restaurant also specializes in dishes that feature twists on familiar ideas, such as lobster cakes (a variation on crab cakes) and goat cheese fritters (a variation on the tradition of fried mozzarella cheese).
"We hope to not have anything ordinary. We hope everything we have is extraordinary, " Confer said. "We didn't want to mimic or try to recreate anything that anybody in Mifflin County was doing."
When asked what sets the Cedar House apart from other local restaurants, Confer said the restaurant's wide-reaching range of wines and beers - both American and imported - and the fact that all of the menu items are made from fresh, non-frozen ingredients.
But above everything else, Confer pointed to the restaurant's service as a special factor.
"I know that, in today's economy, it can be difficult for people to find space in their budget to entertain and take care of themselves," he said. "When someone comes into the Cedar House, we really put ourselves out there as far as trying to serve them 100 percent. When you go out, you deserve to be taken care of."
Confer also said the restaurant is actively seeking ways to expand on the current Mifflin County food market.
"There's people doing great things in the food industry all over Mifflin County, so we just want to add to that," he explained. "We want to find a new niche and offer new products, and a (unique) level of quality, freshness and service."
The Cedar House Restaurant is located at 206 W. Freedom Avenue in Burnham, and is open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. The restaurant also has a Facebook page, and the full menu can be found online at mifflincountyliving.com. For more information, call 513-4212.