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Booths from Ruth & Harry’s find new home at Caterina’s

May 21, 2011

Sisters Jackie (left) and Monica Duffell chat over lunch while sitting in one of the booths that was housed in the former Ruth & Harry’s Restaurant, which shared a wall with the existing Caterina’s Dolce Cucina, where the Duffells were eating Friday. (Photo by Tom Chapin/The Punxsutawney Spirit)

PUNXSUTAWNEY — A little piece of downtown Punxsy nostalgia is back, as Caterina’s Dolce Cucina owner Katie Laska has installed a few of the single-seat booths from the former Ruth & Harry’s Restaurant in her coffee shop.

The left-hand wall inside Caterina’s was once shared with Ruth & Harry’s, which closed in 1994 and was razed in the late 1990s. Hair Trends now occupies the space.

Laska said the booths — which seat one person each, and are not the two-person booths that were also in the restaurant — were offered to her by George “Butch” White, who co-owns Agape Students Housing, across the street from Caterina’s.

“He had the benches for all these years, and I love old Punxsy stuff,” so she accepted the booths, Laska said.

White said he saw the booths and some other items still intact inside the restaurant just days before its demolition.

“I was surprised to see them in place,” he said, adding that he also has some of the four-person booths, tables and stools from the restaurant, as well as booths from the former McLaughlin Pharmacy, located at 210 West Mahoning St.

The booths at the coffee shop aren’t the only items that Laska has from the former Ruth & Harry’s.

At Laska’s Pizza, which she also owns, along North Main Street, she has one of the stools that had been placed at the restaurant counter, as well as one of two large dough mixers used in the kitchen, which she bought from Ruth Mackenzie, who owned the downtown restaurant with her husband, Harry.

Harry Mackenzie died in 1975, and Ruth Mackenzie died in 2010.

“I use it every day,” Laska said about the mixer.

“It mixed huge amounts of dough for bread, brownies and cookies,” said Amy Morris, who had known Mrs. Mackenzie as a child and referred to her as Aunt Ruth.

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