Generations of faithful customers and employees have kept family-owned Ed’s Steak House a mainstay at the Bedford Interchange of the Pennsylvania Turnpike for more than six decades.
Now operated by the third generation of the McDevitt family, who founded the popular restaurant 65 years ago, Ed’s is celebrating its anniversary on Sunday.
In a display the family set up to mark the birthday, a guest sign-in book reflects the sentiments of 60-plus years of operation. Customers wrote that they’ve been longtime patrons and plan to remain so.
“A lot of stories like that — ‘I’ve been stopping here since I was a kid,’ ” said Kim McDevitt, paraphrasing customers’ comments.
She and husband, Jason, are the chief operators of the restaurant.
Jason’s parents, Tom and Kathy McDevitt, handed over the reins some years ago, but they still work at Ed’s: Tom three days and week and Kathy, two to three.
“I still work three days a week because I enjoy working with my son,” said Tom, who just turned 71.
Jason said there are plenty of challenges, keeping up with equipment and technology chief among them.
But aside from that, Jason, who graduated from Penn State with a degree in restaurant, hotel and institutional management, said the best part of operating the restaurant is simply the people Ed’s serves.
“It’s just being with all the customers and seeing them every day. And every day is so different so there’s never a boring day.”
The important cog in the operation is the staff, the McDevitts said.
In their display are photos of Doris Long, 22-plus years as a bartender; Diane Riegel, 27 years as a sever/hostess; and Patsy Turner, 35 years as kitchen manager.
“Lots of people who work here are over 10 years, and the people who work here are the biggest asset,” Jason said. “It’s all about the people that work here.”
“It’s definitely a team effort to do this every day,” Kim said. Ed’s employs more than 50 workers.
Ed’s was founded by Tom’s parents, Ed and Ruth McDevitt.
Ed’s first job was working for the chef at the Bedford Springs resort in the late 1930s or early 1940s. He would go on to other restaurant/food service endeavors.
Ed had owned the Town Tavern in downtown Bedford at the spot where the Landmark restaurant is today.
Tom, who had worked in the family business and earned a hotel, restaurant and institutional management degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, joined his dad as a partner in 1971. Three years later, Ed retired, and Sam Slick, who had joined the business as manager in 1960, became Tom’s business partner. The collaboration of the McDevitts and Sam and wife, Elizabeth, would last until Slick retired in 2000.
Through the years, celebrities have stopped, including Joe Paterno and his team on their way back from West Virginia.
There have been plenty of tales from the restaurant, but Kim said she is looking forward to hearing customers’ recollections Sunday during the official celebration.
“We’ll be on hand to hear any stories,” she said.
Jason’s hoping for a big turnout Sunday. Ed’s is offering most of its dessert menu for free with a purchased meal. Also, customers may enter a drawing for a $65 Ed’s gift card and children can enter to win a plush toy animal.
Ed’s will be open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday and is open each Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. each Saturday. The eatery is closed Mondays.