Muted Footsteps Exiting the Capitol Hotel

I swiped this menu a while ago. Don’t remember when it happened, or why I felt the urge to break the law. Did I really, though? All that happened, in my humble opinion, was the conversion from an in-house menu to a take-out one by walking out the very familiar glass doors with it in my hand. Strange, in a way, because I never ordered unless I sat at the counter, a back room table, or in one of four red vinyl booths.

“I’m glad I have it, officer.”

Today, I heard they are closing … for good. May I offer up another not so humble opinion? This information really sucks their really awesome steak salads!!

I don’t know why the owner decided to close. Could be a (late) pandemic response or he is, simply, tired of running a hotel restaurant. Whatever the cause, respect is due because so many memories from there are sheltered away in my treasure box of friendly conversational souvenirs. It’s been one of the few places in my life where words meant something when shared among close friends.

It was the first place I stopped on my way back from the hospital moments after mom died. My friend, Kevin, was sitting in the back middle booth to share in my grief. Although I haven’t seen him in years, that moment is as clear as this moment now.

During lighter times, my lame jokes – or, perhaps a few awesome ones – danced around one of two front booths where a bevy of bloviating bosomers sat. Chief among them, no one. All of us remained equal. Friends. Not one greater or lesser than the other.

Big heavy mirrors, old rotating chairs sitting partially occupied in front of the counter, stainless steel clanging about as breakfasts were served with a tinge of attitude … All of this, and then some, make the Capitol Hotel Restaraunt what it is – for one more day.

Thursday, September 23rd, 2021. This will be the day memories come to an end. Those warm, red vinyl booths will start to get an early fall non-conversational chill and remain so. Short, worn wooden bar chairs will be bound to their silent still posts as of 2:00 p.m. that day. A clean-up crew – and no others – will then pass through one of two entryways into the back dining room. The large grandfather clock there, sitting many decades removed from a big screen t.v., will no longer tick away pleasant fish Friday lunches for business companions, or retirees enjoying their sunset years.

The whole restaurant will be silent – as hushed as the last time a puff of air closed an off-white, laminated, “Since 1905” menu for the last time; Or, perhaps as one of a few times I sat extended, alone, in one of those very confidential front booths and wrote a blog entry. Possibly, muted tones from friends’ last footsteps leaving tomorrow will remain behind as reminders how special this place is to everyone.

Most likely, I will not be one of them.

This does not mean my heart will not exit through those double glass doors one final time with them, however. Hopefully, at least one of my brothers or sisters in crime will find their way into 300 Allegheny Street, Hollidaysburg, to swipe a menu for themselves.

I should remind them take-out could be tricky. Especially from the clink.

7 thoughts on “Muted Footsteps Exiting the Capitol Hotel

      1. Huh. I don’t remember that. I lived there from 2002-2006 and on Allegheny St, above the dog groomer, for three of those years. Those days we teachers would frequent the US Hotel for Friday happy hour. And I remember walking to the Old Canal and Sheetz and The Dream. But not this place!

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  1. Wow what a bummer, my grandfather Charlie Burger had a barbershop in the basement. There is or was a picture of the barbershop with my grandfather in it hung in the coffee shop then moved to the dining room. I would love to buy or have that picture. My daddy Joe Burger gave it to the Capital. This place was a staple for my daddy. I will miss The Capital but all good things must come to an end.

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    1. After I wrote and posted this blog, Brian Laratonda and I talked. He “may” consider reopening next spring – although unlikely. Business, during and post pandemic, wasn’t enough to justify staying open. The Pipe Room, downstairs, will remain open, of course, and he’s hoping that may sustain a positive cash flow until his reconsideration. Don’t see it happening, however.

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