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‘Bread, grapes and philosophy’ help keep family in business for 50 years

By Staff | Apr 10, 2012

The Noviello family will be celebrating 50 years in business this weekend. Their well-known restaurant, Orlando's, has been serving customers in Muncy since 1962 when it first opened as a sub shop. Front: Nichole Noviello Coppes, Susan Noviello, and Tillie Noviello. Standing: Matt Noviello, Orlando Noviello and Andy Noviello.

MUNCY – Fifty years is a long time to be in business. A lot to learn and a lot of people to meet along the way. For no one knows better than Orlando Noviello, who along with his family are the owners of Orlando’s Restaurant on 33 North Main Street, Muncy.

This year the Noviello family would like to celebrate this milestone with a champagne brunch on Sunday, April 15 which marks the opening of their business fifty years ago on April 15, 1962.

On April 19,1962 the Luminary archives had posted: “Orlie’s sub shop now open here. Muncy got another new business this week when Orlie’s Sub Shop was opened in the building at 33 N. Main Street, next to the Abbott Apartments. Offering a complete line of subs and sandwiches, the shop was opened on Monday. It is operated by Orlando Noviello, of South Williamsport.”

Looking back, it is hard to believe how much the restaurant has grown. “It was a struggle,” said Orlando. “Running a business is a love hate relationship,” he added. “It’s in your blood.”

For the first six years, the business, which was Muncy’s first sub shop, offered sandwiches and take outs. But then the business outgrew the space and ‘Orlie’s Sub Shop’ was relocated to 17 W. Water Street which also accommodated more parking much needed at the time. “We stayed there until 1981,” Orlando said. it had its ups and downs, mainly the Agnes flood of 1972 kept him out of business for awhile.

In 1976 Orlando had to find another location, and in 1977 when the Muncy Dry Goods department store came up for sale, he bought the building located on 6 South Main Street. After four years of renovations, he moved the business to its current location. Before the restaurant was able to acquire a liquor license in 1998, it was difficult to stay profitable and run a full scale restaurant that featured Italian cuisine without the benefit of accompanying wine. He states in his historical memoir, “Unfortunately an Italian restaurant without wine, is like an eagle without wings.”

Now the business is flourishing with four of their adult children spending most of their time managing day to day operations and looking ahead at other opportunities for the restaurant.

Another expansion took place about 7 years ago when the family purchased the building next door which moved seating capacity up to about 250 at any given time. Since 1963 Orlando and Susan Noviello have been residents of the Muncy community, raising their seven children. “Our rewards are big,” Orlando said. “Customers keep coming back.” According to the family, they are a welcoming sight when they see those who once lived here in the Muncy area, coming back and making a stop at Orlando’s Restaurant.

“Many continue to stop here when traveling through,” said Matt Noviello, General Manager who added that customers come regularly from as far away as Canada and California.

The Noviello’s make their own products. Their pastas, sauces and bottled dressings are a favorite by many, and daughters, Tillie and Nichole do most of the baking while Andy is the chef and manages the kitchen. Orlando is semi-retired but admits he can often be seen at the restaurant talking to his long time customers. They employ 26 people and in 2003 they added a new Market and Deli which serves the downtown area. Meeting rooms are also available for small parties and receptions. Besides weddings, Matthew has plans to expand the catering business and venture more into corporate markets. Their catering menu is now available online.

To thank their many customers and to help them celebrate 50 years of long, hard work, for a fee the public is invited to a buffet style champagne brunch from 11 to 3 on Sunday. It will be walk-ins only so reservations will not be needed.