Ladies of the Dukes Keeps Sunday Dinner Tradition Alive

NEW CASTLE, Pa. – Though its dining room has been closed since March, the Ladies of the Dukes restaurant has kept alive its Sunday dinner tradition with curbside pickup. That’s a big deal because the restaurant, which opened in 1963, is open only on Sundays.

The Ladies of the Dukes started as the women’s auxiliary arm of the Dukes, an Italian social club in New Castle. Their primary activity was cooking, and they have been doing so for 60 years.

The restaurant at 114 N. Croton Ave. is open every Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. It serves traditional dishes based on pasta, meatballs and chicken parmigiana.

The Ladies employed 39 people before the pandemic but has had to layoff about 40% of its staff, says Debbi Cameron, manager.

“The only good thing to come out of all of this is we were forced to start online ordering, which has helped us tremendously,” she says. “It was not something we thought about before.”

The Ladies provided weekly dinners for shut-ins around the city in March and April, the height of the lockdown, Cameron says. The staff also provided dinners for first responders and hospital workers and also for Meals on Wheels clients and the City Rescue Mission.   

The restaurant will continue to offer curbside-only service through February, and will re-evaluate in March.