HONESDALE — Fred Chalmers, tall, direct, and cheery man who greets customers looking down and over the top of his  glasses, has been in the food business his entire adult life.  He has worked every position in the restaurant, “from dishwasher to owner”.  As the In--flight feeding manager for a major airline, he has tasted food all over the world.  However, his establishment, the Town House Diner, is nothing but pure Americana, plain and simple.


HONESDALE — Fred Chalmers, tall, direct, and cheery man who greets customers looking down and over the top of his  glasses, has been in the food business his entire adult life.  He has worked every position in the restaurant, “from dishwasher to owner”.  As the In--flight feeding manager for a major airline, he has tasted food all over the world.  However, his establishment, the Town House Diner, is nothing but pure Americana, plain and simple.


Fred is originally from the New York area, but came here 33 years ago and opened the diner, having had family connections here in Wayne County.  “I’ve always had an intrinsic interest in diners, and liked diners,” he says, “They represent value.”


Before the diner he was manager of a steakhouse, a restaurant in an airport terminal, after which he started managing the in-flight feeding.  When asked about his favorite places to eat in the world, he says “South Africa and Argentina are very, very interesting from a culinary standpoint.”


“My favorite part [of his job] would always be [I] get to meet and greet three to five hundred people a day.  Shake hands, exchange ideas.”


Assisting Chalmers in the kitchen, and about whom Chalmers speaks with high acclaim, is Peter Papoutsakis from the island of Crete.  “He loves making greek food,” says Chalmers.  Moussaka is one of the premier greek dishes prepared by Papoutsakis on the Town House menu, and is made with eggplant, potato, chopped beef, and oven-baked with a béchamel sauce, a French cream sauce.  Papoutsakis has been with the diner for 25 of his 35 years in the United States.


Also noteworthy on the menu is the Navy Bean and Kielbasa soup, with a rich vegetable flavor and hearty chunks of vegetable and kielbasa, and the daily Shopper’s Special which on Wednesday was a delicately prepared French Dip with homemade au jous and served on a delightfully fresh poppy seed bun.  The special changes everyday and offers diners a full course budget option.  The special comes with soup and a drink.


But what they do best, according to Chalmers, “are burgers and chicken sandwiches.”   What he really likes to sell though, are his chef-prepared meals, which come with real home-style mashed potatoes, made from scratch daily; fresh-cut vegetables; and his own homemade gravy.  The diner makes all its own stocks, soups, and sauces.  “We only have small freezers [to store items],” Chalmers told the Independent.


“In a sluggish economy,” says Chalmers, “a diner represents the ability to eat out with a full meal, a chef-prepared meal, for less money than you would spend in a ‘table cloth restaurant’.  That’s why I like diners, that’s why I patronize diners.”

Town House Diner Pennsylvania Dutch Chicken Corn Chowder


2 lb, 8 oz. Whole kernel corn
3 lb. Boneless chicken
4 oz. Green Peppers, cut 1/4”
4 oz. Onions, cut 1/4”
3 qts. Water (first portion)
51/2 oz. Chicken base
4 oz. Barley
1 gal. Water (second portion)
14 oz. Cream Sauce Base
1qt. Milk
2 cups Half-and-Half
1/2 tsp. White pepper
2 oz. Pimiento, cut 1/8”
    Yields 2 gal.

1. Slice chicken thin and sauté until completely rendered.
2. Add corn, green peppers, onions, and the first portion of water, and simmer slowly until the vegetables are tender.
3. Add chicken base and barley to the second portion of water and cook until the barley is tender.
4. Add cream sauce to barley mixture.  Stir while cooking until thick.
5. Combine barley mixture, vegetable mixture, milk, half-and-half, white pepper, salt, and diced pimiento.
6. Stir to blend. Cook until heated through.