A local farm-to-table restaurant: the story of Elizabeth’s American Bistro

Jessie Castellano, Contributing Writer

Elizabeth’s American Bistro has been serving food to the Lewisburg Community for roughly 22 years. 

Founder Elizabeth Long-Furia spoke to the Bucknellian about what brought her to Lewisburg, opening the restaurant, farm to table eating and how the pandemic has forced her to make changes toward success.

Long-Furia – or “Liz,” as she insisted – grew up in New Jersey, where she developed a passion for the arts and a love for the theatre of the restaurant business. 

“There was a big revolution in food in the ’70s — it was the birth of farm to table. When my husband and I came to Lewisburg for his work, we thought it was a nice town to open up a small cafe-restaurant in,” Long-Furia said. 

While “Liz” couldn’t choose just one favorite dish on the menu, but she said that the summer salmon with shrimp remoulade, or the pulled pork tacos are standout dishes. 

“Our chef did a really nice job with those,” she added. 

Long-Furia had a lot to say about the farm to table aspect of the restaurant. “It comes natural to the restaurant. We are surrounded by so many small farms and young people that are opening up different kinds of businesses that lend themselves to just dairy farming, or even wineries throughout the area.”

Many downtown businesses rely on the business of University students. However, because of the pandemic and lack of students on campus throughout last year, there was a negative impact on the business. 

“We’ve made a lot of changes and went right into takeout. But it was really wonderful how the community rallied around it,” she remarked. “We started doing things like bistro boxes and even got a special liquor license to sell drinks, to go.”

So what’s the secret to running a successful business during a pandemic with the hustle and bustle of a college town?

“Listening to your customers and going with the flow are so important. We have had to make so many changes in the last year, but I tried to keep a positive mindset and stayed happy. You’re going to make mistakes and you have to roll with it. That’s one thing I’ve learned about business, it’s all about being open to change. Sometimes you have to make the hard decisions,” Long-Furia said. 

“We really appreciate [The University]. We know the kids have gone through a lot, we appreciate them coming in from all over the place, it keeps us fresh.” 

This whole pandemic has brought a lot of change, but one thing it has done is brought the whole neighborhood together. 

Elizabeth’s American Bistro is located at 412 Market St. Lewisburg, PA 17837. Its hours are Wednesday through Saturday from 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. and 4-8 p.m.

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