SWIFTWATER, MONROE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – Mark Capone says he’s been a loyal employee at Pocono Brewing Company in Swiftwater. As he got ready for work Wednesday, he got a surprising text from a co-worker.
Capone says, “he asked me if I was out working on the deck. I was like, yeah. And he said, well don’t bother. He sent me a picture of the building all wrapped up.”
Employees arrived for their shifts only to find caution tape and no trespassing signs blocking it off.
Capone adds, “by Wednesday morning 27 people don’t have jobs. With no notification from anybody.”
PBC’s landlord, Silvio Vitiello, says he had to lock the doors a few days ago during the busiest time of the year after the business owner abruptly left.
Vitiello says he leased the business to a new owner in 2014. That new owner left months ago, taking the liquor and health licenses with him.
“I believe he took those licenses several weeks ago,” says Vitiello.
New managers recently took over. Vitiello says he closed the business Wednesday because those managers weren’t licensed to sell food or alcohol.
We looked into the restaurant’s inspection history with the PA Department of Agriculture. According to the DOA, the restaurant had violation after violation. Last month, inspectors say the business ran months without a certified food employee. The report also states the person in charge didn’t have enough knowledge in food safety.
Vitiello says. “this is a very hard business. It’s a business where you never know where it’s going to go. It takes your life.”
Employee’s are upset they weren’t given their final paycheck or answers. They feel all they can do is find a new job while their old one sits closed up.
“I sympathize. I’m really sorry that they lost their jobs so suddenly like that,” says Vitiello.
Capone adds in reply, “it’s a crappy thing.”
Pocono Brewing Company’s landlord says the restaurant will be renovated and re-opened in the next few months. He’s now working to get the licenses back in his name and welcomes the former employees to re-apply for their jobs once PBC re-opens.
The ‘New PBC’ is expected to brew beer for the first time, and feature an Italian menu with brick oven pizza.