SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — It has been a dream of a local entrepreneur for more than a decade. Pat Hinton found what he says is the ideal location in what he says is believed to be the oldest structure at Nay Aug Park.
We visited Blackwatch Cafe on the grounds of Nay Aug for their soft opening.
“So this is something I have been thinking about, honestly, for about the last ten-twelve years. I just wanted to open up a café, coffee shop. Always a fan of Nay Aug park, my whole life. Growing up our family used to always come here, so I have a lot of great memories up here. And I always remembered this building. I was always fascinated with this building. Just the architecture of it,” said Hinton.
So, he leased the space from the Scranton Municipal Recreational Authority. But he tells us the pandemic slowed down the building’s transformation.
“COVID was a huge obstacle for the last year. That is in part one of the reasons, if not the main reason as to why it took so long for us to open.”
The building dates to at least 1905 and Hinton believes it may be the oldest structure in the park. It now features images and statuettes from Ben Franklin and presidents Polk and Lincoln to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Colonel Ezra Ripple.
“That is actually the chief architect, founder of Nay Aug Park. He was the 7th mayor of the city of Scranton,” said Hinton.
“Oh, it is such a nice aesthetic. Inside is so beautifully done. The book cases. It has sort of a medieval feel. I think it is really, really, cool. It is one of the coolest looking coffee shops around here,” said Madison Heaton, a University of Scranton student.
“I love taking walks up here. Anytime of the year, too, especially Christmas with the Christmas lights, so this is just a great addition to it. You know, some place to go around the park,” said Sarah Hickey, also a University of Scranton student.
“All the landscaping that they are doing, the treehouse is improving, all the paths around here. And now that they are having the café, I really am excited for all the progress,” said Scranton resident Nancy Talapa.
“We kind of just had tunnel vision, and said to ourselves we are just going to keep going, not let anything distract us, and here we are,” said Hinton.
Blackwatch Cafe is open Tuesday through Sunday. Hinton says he plans on having a grand opening in the near future.