Writing up the daily feature “This Day in NEPA”, I came across this interesting story from 25 years ago.

On July 23, 1989, a group of teens stole the Big Boy statue from the Elby’s Restaurant in Chinchilla. The article from the August 2nd edition of the Scranton Times appears below.

Digging a little bit more into the archives turned up some info on the Elby’s in Chinchilla.

The image below is of ribbon cutting ceremony that took place in Dec. 1969.  Behind the dignitaries from the community and officials from the restaurant’s corporate headquarters is the Big Boy statue.

According to articles in the Elby’s file, the restaurant chain would continue to expand in the area and faced competition from a locally owned chain of restaurants called Franklin’s.

In September 2000, the local Elby’s restaurants in the area, Route 6 & 11 in Chinchilla; O’Neill Highway in Dunmore; and Kidder Street in Wilkes-Barre; all closed.  According to a article in the Scranton Times, Elias Brothers Restaurants Inc., the parent company of Elby’s, closed the restaurants here and in other parts of the Pennsylvania in an effort to turn around the company.

In 2002, the South Abington Zoning Board approved a variance that allowed for the construction of Bennigan’s Grill and Tavern on the site of the Elby’s.  Bennigan’s would close in July 2009 after their parent company filled for bankruptcy.

After Bennigan’s closed a local group opened a restaurant on the site called Charlie’s. Charlie’s was opened for a  little over a year before closing. In May 2012, La Tonalteca opened a second location on that site.  La Tonalteca other location is in Dickson City by the Viewmont Mall.

In June 2018, the La Tonalteca closed for renovations. A spokesperson told the Times-Tribune that they “unsure when the renovations would be complete and couldn’t say when the restaurant will reopen, only that it would.”

– Brian