Cooper’s Diner celebrates grand opening

Photo by Amy Cherry – Cooper’s Diner, located on S. Michael St. in St. Marys, recently celebrated its grand opening. Shown are owner Karly Carnovale surrounded by family, friends, and members of the St. Marys Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. 
Amy Cherry
Staff Writer

Patrons of Cooper’s Diner in St. Marys will be hounded with great food inside the S. Michael Street eatery.
The small diner recently underwent a facelift and change of ownership when Karly Carnovale purchased the former Monica’s in June, and re-named it after her late beloved golden retriever, Cooper. 
This week, the diner celebrated its grand opening with a ribbon-cutting ceremony hosted by the St. Marys Area Chamber of Commerce.
“I kept most of the same menu from Monica’s,” Carnovale said. 
With Cooper’s, Carnovale plans to add more hamburgers, subs, and salads to the menu. Breakfast will remain mostly the same, with the addition of a few new sandwiches. 
A new addition to the diner’s offerings includes a "Burger of the Day," which has been frequently selling out. 
“I want to bring more dining options to the area,” Carnovale said. “I want to keep it simple, but have a different twist on everything.”
As an example, she hopes to offer some food items often found in large cities.
Carnovale recently created a poutine burger last week, consisting of French fries and cheese curds topped with brown gravy. 
Patrons will always find a soup and dessert of the day on the menu. 
Among the popular menu items are the diner’s steak hoagies and potato pancakes. 
“People come here just for the potato pancakes on Fridays. Most days we sell out,” Carnovale said. 
On Sundays, the diner offers a breakfast buffet along with a limited breakfast menu. 
Carnovale is running the restaurant with the help of her family. Her mom, Traci, cooks a majority of the meals, however, Karly can be found in the kitchen cooking lunches on Tuesdays and Thursdays. 
“I didn’t think I’d like cooking, but then I started to cook and now I love it,” Karly said. 
The opportunity to open her own business presented itself to Karly after she was contacted by her father, Chip, who informed her Monica was planning to sell the restaurant.
Initially, Karly said was not interested in, but changed her mind after a bad day at work while she was employed as a manager at a Panera Bread restaurant in Pittsburgh. 
“I wanted to give back to the community I’ve grown up in and carrying on a restaurant that has been open for many years,” Carnovale said.  
Eleven weeks ago Cooper’s Diner opened following some minor renovations including some fresh paint and re-decorating. 
Carnovale chose to get into the hospitality business because she enjoys meeting customers and talking to them. 
“I like making people happy,” she said, adding what better way to do that than with food.
Carnovale graduated from Penn State University in 2016 with a bachelors degree in hospitality management. She noted she began college as an animal science major with the intention to become a marine biologist. 
According to Carnovale she became interested in the hospitality field through a friend. 
She has previously worked at the St. Marys Dairy Queen and at the former Garfield’s restaurant in State College. 
Cooper’s Diner is open Monday-Friday 6 a.m.-2 p.m., closed Saturday, open Sunday 7 a.m.-1 p.m.
The diner also now accepts credit card payment as well as cash. 
Patrons are invited to bring in a 5-by-7 photo of their dog which will be displayed inside the diner.