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Irwin's Lamp Theatre diner naming rights for sale for $25,000

Joe Napsha
| Friday, Sept. 8, 2017, 5:00 p.m.
The Lamp Theatre diner in downtown Irwin is envisioned as an area where show patrons will be able to enjoy food and refreshments.
Kyle Hodges
The Lamp Theatre diner in downtown Irwin is envisioned as an area where show patrons will be able to enjoy food and refreshments.

For a mere $25,000, your name can adorn the Lamp Theatre diner in downtown Irwin, expected to be converted into a lounge for patrons.

“We're looking for companies that want to make a splash with their name” on the diner, said Michael Pochan of Irwin, a member of the Irwin Project Inc. The economic development organization has launched a fall fundraising campaign to rehab the 66-year-old stainless steel diner.

The $25,000 received for naming rights would be used to renovate the diner into an area where patrons can enjoy food and refreshments. Officials envision cutting a hole in an exterior brick wall so patrons can access the diner.

For those wanting to help the Lamp Theatre, but at a less costly price, donations between $3,000 and $5,000 are being accepted to support a “piece of the diner” — the heating, ventilation and air conditioning, the windows or the handicapped-accessible ramps.

For now, both the exterior and the interior of the diner remain unfinished as it sits on blocks used for stabilization. It was moved this spring from Station Square in Pittsburgh to a vacant lot next to the Lamp. There has been some interior cleaning and patching of the roof.

A fundraising initiative was launched to raise money to move the diner and renovate it, but that effort has slowed, Pochan said. About $15,270 has been raised, falling short of the estimated $18,000 to move it, $10,000 for site preparation and $12,000 to refurbish the interior.

“There was a really big surge when the diner was moved up, then it (fundraising) went down,” Pochan said.

The DeRaffele diner once was a fixture at Ritter's Diner in the city's East End, until it was moved to Station Square around 1983. The Irwin Project acquired the vacant diner for $100 from Forest City Realty Trust.

The diner sits in what Lamp officials envision as the future site of a courtyard. Auto dealer Casey Harper of North Huntingdon has donated $70,000 toward that project.

The 80-year-old Lamp Theatre, which opened in November 2015 after extensive renovations, has seen ticket sales for concerts, shows and plays surge this year to more than 14,000, already topping the 10,000 tickets sold last year, said John Cassandro, general manager. The theatre is booking acts for next year, including some performers who have played the venue, he noted.

“We're starting to get acts for a second and third time,” Cassandro said.

Joe Napsha is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-836-5252 or

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