READING, Pa. (CBS) — There’s no easy way to boil down the story of a business that’s been operating for 95 years. Some call it a second home, maybe a home away from home.
For Michael Leifer, it’s neither as Jimmie Kramer’s Peanut Bar Restaurant is where he grew up because it is his home.
“I grew up in this building,” said Leifer, the restaurant’s owner.
Leifer’s grandfather, Jimmie, began the business in 1924.
“The first nine years he moved around quite a bit during the days of prohibition as he would be raided or it would be suggested that he move,” Leifer explained.
Officially speaking, the bar didn’t open up on 32 Penn St. in Reading until 1933, when prohibition was repealed, and what was then known as The Central Café earned its first legal liquor license.
A year later the snack that would soon become the face and name of the business was included.
The goal has long been to have customers feeling comfortable so since 1935 the Peanut Bar Restaurant has invited guests to just simply throw their peanut shells on the floor and they’ve been considered the first place in the United States to invite customers to do that.
The restaurant has evolved beyond peanuts. Under the direction of Leifer’s father, Harold, the business thrived and so has their menu.
From an artistic twist on staples, to vegan- and gluten-free options, most everything can be made to order.
“Although we are very casual, we serve the best in food. We are a completely scratch kitchen. We do everything we possibly can from scratch from basic ingredients,” Leifer said. “We source locally when we can.”
Alongside relics of family history, the tie between the business and community is on full display with an ever rotating screen of Reading history.
“It tells the history, shares the history of not only the Peanut Bar, but the community,” longtime customer Meggan Kerber said. “It’s really impactful to see how much they’ve grown with our community as well.”
Leifer’s favorite piece on the wall is the a photo of father and son. His dad died in 2010, leaving the establishment to its third generation.
“We care about that person that walks in the door and it goes beyond what they are spending,” Leifer said. “It’s the fact that they have come in and we get to know people and that’s the really fun part for me.”
This story is one of family, a family that has grown to include all of those who have broken bread or shells inside of the Peanut Bar Restaurant.