The Castle Inn, a Back Mountain restaurant dining institution since 1927 on state Route 415 in Dallas, was torn down Monday, June 17.
According to Dallas Township Zoning Office Carl Albert, the building is owned by the Triangle 24 Hour Club Inc., 26 Lenape Court, Wilkes-Barre.
Triangle 24 Hour Club bought the Castle Inn from Valgadur Omar Hallsson for $307,000 in July 2012. Hallsonn, a popular owner/chef bought the restaurant in 1992, which catered to many civic organizations in the area, serving catered food and providing a convivial location for events.
The Triangle 24 Hour Club, a non-profit Alcoholic Anonymous group, presently meets in a building next to Back Mountain Bowl in front of Dallas Nursery where it rents space.
The group had wanted to own a building, according to previous reports by Nicholas Colangelo, a board member of Triangle 24 Hour Club, Inc. In 2012, Colangelo said the building would be used strictly for meetings and would not be a treatment, counseling or evaluation site and would definitely not be a halfway house.
Colangelo is also the executive director of Clear Brook, Inc a drug and alcohol residential treatment center in Wilkes-Barre. In the past, he has made a point of noting there is no affiliation between Clearbrook and the Triangle 24 Hour Club.
In previous reports, Colangelo estimated there would be 30 to 40 meetings a week in the building, attended by people who no longer drink or do drugs and who are looking for support to stay clean.
He has said in the past the location was ideal, accessible and had plenty of parking. According to Albert, Colangelo took out permits to renovate the property.
“Yes, I’m very surprised now that they have taken out a permit to tear down the place,” Albert said.
Although Albert said the township has not received requests for any other permits for the property, Jack Kugler, who lives 500 feet from where the restaurant once stood, said the Triangle 24 group had tried to repair the structure, including adding a new roof, but found it was not a cost-effective project. Kugler said he was told a new structure will be built and will be used for AA meetings.