Van Gilder’s Jubilee
THE BREAKFAST KING OF THE POCONO MOUNTAINS
Pocono Pines, PA
Fifty years ago, in the summer of 1968, William and Jean Van Gilder purchased property in Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains just one day after marrying, following their six-week romance. The property, called the Jubilee, featured a small breakfast diner with an old-fashioned swinging door and a 12-foot breakfast counter. The breakfast category was always their specialty, which quickly earned William the title of “Breakfast King.” Throughout the decades, they’ve expanded parts of the business, including the restaurant space, the bar, and additional menu categories. However, most generations still come to enjoy their large platters of morning favorites that have brought bustles of breakfast crowds through the doors for 50 years. Bill and Victoria, the second-generation of Van Gilders who now manage the restaurant with help from their quiet, yet hardworking mother (the matriarch of the business and the family), are committed to keeping their parents’ legacy alive. This year, they’re proud to celebrate 50 years of upholding their consistent quality and deep-rooted family traditions while continuing to evolve, adapt to new customer expectations, and strive to remain a Pocono staple for years to come.
Breakfast is the fastest growing foodservice daypart, and the Van Gilders are at the forefront of this trend, incorporating new flavors, trending concepts, and seasonal ingredients onto their well-established menu. A breakfast item they call “The Favorite” is a go-to meal for numerous customers. It contains simple eggs, choice of meat, home fries, and toast. This item will always remain a best-seller, but as consumers are craving more global cuisine, the Van Gilders are incorporating ethnic flavors onto the morning menu. Shakshuka with Feta and Avocado Toast are two new morning meals they believe will soon become top-sellers. Victoria Van Gilder explained, “Dining out for breakfast has evolved and, more than ever, we have groups of diners joining us with friends and family as they would for dinner.” As a result of the global shift towards all-day breakfasts, alcoholic beverage sales have significantly increased. Customers socialize and treat themselves to mimosa samplers, a DIY Mimosa Kit, and specialty bloody marys.
The Van Gilders clientele includes diners who want to order the same dishes from 30+ years ago, as well as younger generations who seek more contemporary items. They meet customer demand by ensuring their menu showcases longstanding, well-perfected classics intertwined with globally inspired concepts or updated with more enticing components like their Latin-inspired Breakfast Tostadas. With eyes and ears always open to how the industry is changing, the Van Gilders have adapted throughout the years, but have never changed the identity that William and Jean created when building the restaurant. They were always, and still are, the Jubilee at their core.
Bill Van Gilder, who is incredibly involved and passionate about the restaurant and the Pocono area, believes Maines has been an intricate part of Van Gilder’s Jubilee Restaurant’s success. He said, “The ever-changing landscape of the foodservice industry can make it difficult, as an owner, to keep up with the trends. Maines has proven to be more than just a broad-line food provider, but a true educator and vital source of information.” Through their 50 years of business, Maines has helped them strategize concepts and push the boundaries with their menu. For example, the Van Gilders were inspired by Maines Food Show special guest David Chang to incorporate vegan ramen and squash noodle dishes onto the menu. They created the squash noodles using equipment that their Territory Manager introduced to them. Bill explained, “Ed Newcomb, our Territory Manager and friend, has a vast knowledge of trends, recipes, and costs that allow us to keep with the times, be current, and remain profitable. Having both Maines and Ed in our corner allows us to be who we want to be in this market and continue with the Van Gilder family tradition of providing great food and true Pocono hospitality.”
The Van Gilders remain inspired by the industry and passionate about food after 50 years in business. Victoria said, “It would be nice to rest on our laurels after 50 years, hoping that our reputation and longstanding service to the community will keep the doors open, but we know that they won’t. We still have to sweat the small stuff , even after 50 years.” Their devotion to the hospitality industry, the community, and their parents’ legacy is what drives them to continually reinvent, improve, and strengthen their business to exceed expectations. With hopes that the next 50 years are as prosperous as the last, the Van Gilders are ready to refine their traditional, yet contemporary menu, maintain their strong partnerships, retain their loyal customers, and serve the Pocono community for generations to come.