WILKES-BARRE — The smell of hot dogs permeates the air as Kirby Park visitors approach a green, cinder-block building near the parking lot.
The building is home to Fred’s, a new snack shack.
Suzanne Kapral Kelly and Sue Henry opened the business over Memorial Day weekend after Kapral Kelly found out no one was interested in the snack operation this summer.
“I’ve been coming here for 12 years,” Kapral Kelly said from behind the order window Thursday. “I’ve had good memories.”
But over the years, Kapral Kelly said no one has operated the business on a consistent basis. Now, the duo has “committed” to at least three years in the spot.
The owners look to keep their menu fresh and local, pairing with businesses such as Mrs. Fritz’s Homemade and The Lands at Hillside Farms.
Chocolate ice cream was the highlight of Amelia Schappert’s trip to the park.
Amelia, 6, of Bear Creek Township, ate a plain hot dog before ordering her sweet treat.
Evin McGinley Mirin , 7, and his sister, Helen, 9, came to the stand for drinks. Evin used a straw for his Mountain Dew while Helen opted for water.
“It’s good because hikers come through and they can get water,” Helen said. “A lot of parks don’t have a snack stand.”
Her brother was also pleased, giving it a big thumbs-up.
“There is something for everybody,” Kapral Kelly said of her offerings. The menu includes noodles and cabbage, grass-fed beef hamburgers and Kernel Moonie’s Popcorn. “The idea is to get as many families as possibly back in the park,” she added.
Over the past two weeks, Kapral Kelly said Fred’s Fries, not french fries, have proved to be the biggest seller. The stand will be transitioning to paper products over the next week to encourage recycling.
The stand — officially Fred’s at Kirby Park — commemorates Fred Kirby, for whom Kirby Park is named. According to a 1940 Wilkes-Barre Record article, Kirby donated $87,000 for the park’s development.
“Fred is back,” Kapral Kelly joked.
The stand is open noon to 7 p.m. daily. For more information, visit Fred’s at Kirby Park on Facebook.