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Mope's Diner opens in Laurel Mall

| Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012, 9:00 p.m.

Mope's Diner is now open daily inside Laurel Mall with a menu of nearly 100 choices.

“I want people to be happy when they leave here, so they'll want to come back,” said owner Henry Swope, who had always wanted to open a restaurant.

Swope has been involved in food service and has observed what sells best. He makes his own recipes for some dishes, including his very popular and hot spicy shells.

“People who love hot food love my shells,” he said.

Swope's goals are to keep prices reasonable and keep the customers and his employees happy. A full-course steak dinner with potato and vegetable costs only $9.99 and is the most expensive item on the menu. The same steak dinner is the Monday special and includes a side salad for $8.99.

Other daily specials include a chicken dinner on Sundays for $6.99, spaghetti and meatballs with Swope's homemade sauce and side salad for $5.99 on Tuesdays, a pork chop dinner for $6.99 on Wednesdays, a stuffed pepper dinner for $6.59 on Thursdays, and on Saturday choose from Italian chicken sub or pasta for only $6.99.

Laurel Mall has five vendors that are open every day; the others open on weekends.

“First Niagara Bank and Laurel Highlands Dentistry here in the mall are ordering often and helping me build traffic by sending customers here,” Swope said. “I want to be very accommodating. I want to build my business on return customers who become regular customers because they realize that our service and prices can't be beat. Nowhere else offers a steak dinner for under $10 or spaghetti and meatballs for $5.99.”

Other selections include wings in flavors such as hot butter and garlic, butter and garlic, garlic Parmesan, mild, hot and extra hot, ranch and spicy ranch, teriyaki, spicy teriyaki, Italian Parmesan, BBQ and spicy BBQ, honey mustard or plain — a half dozen for $5.99 and a dozen for $9.49. They are great for holiday get-togethers and football parties. Liver and onions is a popular menu item as is chicken and broccoli alfredo. There is a large selection of appetizers, sides and salads.

The menu lists hot and cold sandwiches including an “awesome steak sandwich: with mushrooms, onions, cheese and steak sauce.” Swope offers homemade soup and desserts including “dream cream pies” such as strawberry, banana, strawberry-banana, chocolate, coconut or butterscotch for $1.69 a slice or $8.99 whole.

”I make everything here; nothing is shipped in. I make the stuffed peppers, the meatloaf and the stuffed shells,” he said.

Customers also receive free refills on their drinks.

“I'd like to offer Daily Courier readers a complimentary order of french fries with any dinner when they mention that they read about my new restaurant in the paper,” said Swope.

Breakfasts start at $2.29 for one egg and toast. Blueberry pancakes, home fries and omelets have been popular choices.

Mope's Diner has a meeting and private party room that can be booked by calling to reserve it. The business is located in the former Valley Dairy location in the mall.

Swope delivers to local businesses with a $10 minimum order. Customers can also call ahead for take-out at 724-628-2228.

Mope's Diner is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. seven days a week.

Nancy Henry is a freelance writer.

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