Do you remember the Havens Concessions at the Troy Fair every summer? Now you can enjoy that year round.
Craig Havens now owns Havens Main Street Diner in Towanda. He purchased the restaurant almost a year ago from Suky Schuster, who ran Suky’s Diner at that same location on Main Street.
When Havens purchased the business his wife, Martha Havens, helped him with the decorating, including new signs and new colors for the walls. She also changes the décor by seasons and bakes cinnamon sticky buns and pies.
By late February 2019 he was open for breakfast and lunch and soon gained a reputation for his omelets, sausage gravy, and Reuben sandwiches.
“I’m very picky with my sausage gravy,” said Natalie Williams, who is employed by Havens. “And Craig makes the best.”
“You either like Reuben’s or you don’t, and it’s hard to find a good Reuben,” said Havens. “I make the corn beef in house. It’s not deli meat.”
“They’re great!” said Williams. “He cooks his own corn beef, fresh sauerkraut on yummy marble rye bread.”
Havens emphasized that his bread is freshly baked on the premises and he offers a choice of white, wheat and rye for toast and sandwiches.
Havens makes many homemade soups. His chili is one of his popular items. They have daily specials and serve breakfast all day.
According to Havens, they are often like a unique specialty shop, explaining that he gets what he calls “quirky orders” where people ask for things made a little different from the menu. But Havens has no trouble making those items and he says he is definitely not a chain restaurant. He tries his best to make a meal for each customer’s satisfaction.
“When time permits, I come out to see my customers and make sure they are happy with their meals,” said Havens.
Havens Main Street Diner has been a diner since the 1940’s.
“There have been many owners,” explained Havens. “If these walls could talk.” He went on to point out an old photo on the wall that shows when the Shaw family owned it.
In Havens’ opinion he has the best employees. In addition to Williams, he employs Dorothy Dodge and Betty Roof.
“Dorothy comes in a half hour early before she’s scheduled to do prep work and stays a half hour late,” said Havens. “Natalie and Betty step in whenever I need them.”
“Natalie has a way with our customers,” added Havens. “She’s great!”
Roof has worked at the neighboring Red Rose Diner.
“The day the Red Rose Diner closed, Betty came to Suky for a job,” said Havens. “Betty was the only person I told that she had a job when I opened. And she’s been here since.”
According to Havens, when Roof, in her 80’s, leaves his diner she goes to another establishment to do prep work in their kitchen and then some days comes back to his diner to help him finish out the day, often doing dishes.
“People know her so well,” said Williams, speaking of Roof. “She’s loved by everyone.”
“She’s a sweetheart,” added Havens.
Havens Main Street Diner is open six days a week, Monday through Saturday from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m.
“Weekdays we open a little earlier,” said Havens. “Betty is here cooking at 4:30 a.m.”
According to Havens he is closed only one week each year, and that’s during the Troy Fair where he is set up with the concessions.
Craig Havens loves what he is doing and it shows. He is well loved by his customers and employees.
“My boss is great! He’s just amazing!” said Natalie Williams. “He works with us girls all day and still smiles!”