Isaac's to close York City location; brewpub to move in

Logan Hullinger
York Dispatch
Isaac's On The Fly at 78-98 West Market St. in York City, Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Isaac's quick and casual York City location will be closing after a run lasting just more than a year, but a future tenant is hoping to revitalize the spot.

The regional soup-and-sandwich shop was founded in 1983 but didn't make it to the city until March 2017. The 57 W. Market St. location will close July 27.

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The shop opened with an experimental "On the Fly" approach, which prioritized fast and informal service, differing from the sit-down atmosphere of the chain's other central Pennsylvania locations.

The location was the first new Isaac's in a 17-year span and was targeted because of revitalization in the city's market district, the website states. 

However, not everything went as planned.

Isaac's moving out: The restaurant's lack of alcohol service and a full dinner menu proved to be a mismatch for the downtown area, which is filled with full-staffed kitchens and vast drink options for city night owls.

"When we had started, one of the things we were looking at was providing a breakfast, and that did very well," said Isaac's CEO Mike Weaver. "However, the location required a different mix of products than our traditional services."

As a result, nights and weekends didn't bring in much revenue for the business, Weaver said.

The business contemplated investing in new equipment that would allow for full dinner services and alcohol, he added, but management chose to opt for another option: look for a business that could take over the property and successfully draw in locals.

Old Forge moving in: That business turned out to be Old Forge Brewing Co., a brewpub based in Danville.

The Montour County establishment opened in 2008 and is a "well-run establishment that can definitely succeed in the location," Weaver said.

The brewpub features daily and seasonal beers crafted in-house and locally sourced food.

As during Isaac's inception, the growing downtown scene sparked the owner's interest in the location.

"I've always been partial to downtown locations," said owner Damien Malfara. "Downtown York is vibrant, and it has a good beer culture with a lot of great breweries. We're excited to be a part of it."

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As a result, the business expects to fit right in.

"We've been looking for an opportunity to expand for a while now, and nothing seemed to be the right fit," Malfara said. "We feel pretty strongly this is it."

The Danville location offers a large menu, ranging from seafood and locally sourced meat dishes to some dishes that might be more foreign to York City locals, such as shepherd's pie and Irish bangers and mash.

The menu will change for the York location, Malfara said, but it will still have a full kitchen staff and a similarly large range of options.

Malfara added that the process of moving in is in its preliminary step, and he couldn't give an estimate for the transition.

Certification from the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board is pending, and changes need to be made to the building to allow for more kitchen equipment and bar space, he said.