Scrumdiddly Kitchen to Open At Odyssey Fitness Center

Scrumdiddly Kitchen to Open At Odyssey Fitness Center

A new business is opening next week that will give foodies opportunities to develop their culinary skills in a fun group setting, and families a chance to cook together and then enjoy the fruits of their labor.

The grand opening of Scrumdiddly Kitchen, located in the Odyssey Fitness Center building off Coal Street, is scheduled for Wednesday, 1/24/2024, with a ribbon cutting at noon.

Scrumdiddly Kitchen teaches and connects food and learning. It’s a place where adults and children can feel free to explore and learn culinary art as well as a space afterward to sit, relax and eat what they have accomplished.

“I always wanted to be a business owner and I always wanted to do something with parties and events,” owner Mary Tranguch said. “I used to do a lot of birthday party favors and do planning for my kids’ friends’ birthdays from start to finish. So, it just felt natural for me to come in and do this, incorporate it all together.”

Parents can book parties for their children’s birthdays that will let the children prepare a simple meal like pasta or bake cookies or cupcakes under Tranguch’s instruction and watchful eye.

Pop-ups for the public

But there also will be mommy-and-me or daddy-and-me events as well as adult cooking parties and classes for adults that explore more complex culinary dishes.

“I’m going to do some pop-up events, different theme nights. I would like to do like a soul food night or a Mediterranean night, Italian night, different things like that, that I will post online and it’ll be open to the public,” Tranguch said. “And if an adult wanted to have their birthday party here, they can do that as well. People can also call me if they want to do a private event or anything else, like date nights.”

Children’s parties with a simple menu like pasta or cupcakes would have a baseline price range of $15 to $20 per person. Events with more complex recipes would be priced on a case-by-case basis.

Scrumdiddly is located on the north side of the Odyssey complex facing Coal Street. The east side of the space houses the kitchen, with six food preparation tables with four stools at each, and all the necessary appliances and kitchen gadgets. The west side has the dining area, also with six tables, to accommodate up to 24.

There’s also a small loft upstairs with a seating area that overlooks the kitchen.

“Maybe you don’t want to be down here all the time when your kids are doing something at a party. You can come up here and sit,” Tranguch said.

Ideas and inspirations

The idea for her business began percolating in 2015 when she and her daughter, who was 3 at the time, were in State College and attended a mommy and me cooking class.

“I thought, how fun would this be to have a class or something like this of my own? And I always wanted to open up a business. That was something I was very passionate about, even from an early age,” said Tranguch, 39, of Plains Twp.

“I always had the passion and I wanted to do something kid-oriented. And then I was like, you know what? We love food. (We) were always in the kitchen together, always making something, so why not incorporate education and food?” Tranguch said.

The business name is based on the Scrumdiddlyumptious chocolate bar in the “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” book, which was set in England, and the later films. A self-described Wonka fan, Tranguch also confessed to being a bit of an Anglophile, having named her children London and Alessandra.

“My daughter and I were thinking of names, thinking of names, and all of a sudden, I said, “Well, Scrumdiddly!” And she’s like, Mommy, I love that name. So that’s really how it kind of came to be. I wanted something to draw attention and pull people in, but also that would be kid-friendly and fun,” Tranguch said.

Tranguch developed a passion for cooking while working for four years for Darden Restaurants, particularly at Red Lobster. And she knows her way around a classroom as well as a kitchen.

A graduate of Coughlin High School, Tranguch earned her undergraduate degree in elementary and early childhood education from Misericordia University. She’s employed by Wilkes-Barre Area School District as head teacher at Heights Elementary School, has her principal certificate, and recently completed work for her master’s degree in supervisory instruction at Delaware Valley University.

Getting help and paying it forward

Tranguch said her father, the late Robin Turner, was a pastor who served the local community in Wilkes-Barre and she wanted to contribute to the community as well.

“I’m excited to be a Black woman business owner in the area … because, not that it’s uncommon, but, especially being from this area, I didn’t have that growing up. So, it’s nice that I came from humble beginnings to where I am now,” she said.

Tranguch said she was able to finally pursue her dream because a friend told her about the SPARK program, funded by the City of Wilkes-Barre and run by the Greater Wyoming Valley Chamber of Commerce, which provided $10,000 toward her lease. Assistance from the Small Business Development Center also was invaluable, she said.

“If not for the SPARK grant, I wouldn’t have been able to afford it, let alone start it. I want to show my children what hard work and dedication is and that they can fulfill whatever dream they have. I want to show them that there are people willing to help you, if you just take the time and ask,” Tranguch said.

“One day, I hope to be a business owner who can pay it forward and give back,” Tranguch said, “just like I had the opportunity given to me.”