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Midland Park

What's Cooking Andy?

08/23/2013 02:05PM ● By Rebecca K. Abma

Andy Swankie, owner of Andy's Community Lunch on Godwin Avenue.

In many ways, Andy's Community Lunch is a lot like Midland Park. It's small, friendly and everyone seems to know everyone else. One visit is all it takes to feel at home. And if you weren't looking for it, you might pass it by without realizing the gem that it is. 

The unassuming Godwin Avenue diner features American Fare cooked by owner-operator Andy Swankie and served from 6am to 7pm Monday through Friday and 6am to 3pm on Saturday. Swankie, who was raised in Hawthorne, but spent most of his life in Midland Park, purchased the Community Lunch of Midland Park 36 years ago.

The restaurant at 143 Godwin Ave. was originally founded in 1939. The name Andy's got tacked on by accident, Swankie explained, when a new sign was installed. It has caused a bit of confusion with Hawthorne's Andy's Corner, with people calling in orders at one Andy's and trying to pick up the order at the other Andy's. 

Prior to purchasing the diner, Swankie spent a decade working at the Hen's Roost in Oakland. "I always knew I wanted my own place," he said. "Then this became available [in 1977] and I went for it." 

Over the decades, he's observed the business change with the culture. Loyal daily customers made for steady business early in the day.

"Years ago, we had all the trades people coming in every day for breakfast," he said. "You could take a picture at 8am Monday morning and another at 8am Friday morning and the pictures would be identical." 

But as regular tradesmen retired, moved away or passed on, the daily breakfast crowd dwindled. "These days, no one sits to eat breakfast like they used to," he added. Lunch has replaced breakfast as the busy part of the day. 

A borough resident, Swankie raised his family here. His wife worked in the local Board of Education office for 25 years before retiring recently.

"I love Midland Park," he said. "The people are great. It is a wonderful place to raise a family. There are so many volunteers who work behind the scenes to make this town great."

Andy's Community Lunch offers daily specials, rotating desserts and fresh ground coffee. Every menu item is under $11. Andy is new to  Facebook, but intends to post specials daily. 

Special for Midland Park Press readers: Tell Andy you read this article and get 20% off your bill. 

What's your favorite item on Andy's menu? Tell us in the comments!

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