Scranton Tour for Fans of The Office : Yes! It's real and you should go!
I've read so many people dog Scranton as an "office destination" that we almost didn't go. I’m very glad that we did and I’m going to show you the proof. If you're stalker level office fans like we are, you need to go to the mecca. Yes, Scranton is real -- and the writers went to great detail to make our favorite show seem real!
We started out at Poor Richard’s Pub. From some people's blogs you'd think it was next to a crack house, but we were pleasantly surprised. It’s just a Midwest bowling alley, nothing more, nothing less. One of the co-owners there, Mike, took the time to talk to us and even showed us some pictures -- many of the cast have been to poor Richard’s in real life and apparently "Angela" stops by from time to time. I highly recommend stopping in to see mike's place and pick up a poor Richard’s t-shirt. It’s totally worth it. Thanks, Mike!
Next up was Cooper's Seafood. What an amazing place. There are so many things to look at from so many genre's and areas of interest. The owners are big fans of the days of yore and pop culture and their attention to detail will delight your inner weirdo if you look closely enough. It’s clear why cooper's is featured in the office -- it's status as an "institution" there in Scranton is obvious. A walk through and it'll be just as obvious as to why it's an institution.
The atmosphere is amazing and the food is good. from the giant octopus on the outside of the building, to the pirates placed all around... you can even go up in the lighthouse and hang out at the bar. While the staff will tell you a scene was shot there (and they probably honestly believe it), I’ve reviewed the footage and do not believe the scene with Michael and Holly was shot there. Still, the outside was definitely shot and it is TOTALLY worth going to cooper's. The prices aren't bad and they have a FANTASTIC gift shop, complete with exact replica dundies - naturally, we got Kevin’s don't go in there Dundy.
The steamtown mall. It’s a mall. What can we say? Apparently there used to be quite a bit more office themed displays there, but most have been removed. All that remains is a replica sign like the one that appears in the show opener. A few shops do sell a very small number of items. I found a great Dunder-Mifflin hoodie in the bookstore. Unfortunately none of the stores from the show are actually real. We were hoping to get some jo from Jitterz (Stanley's daughter's favorite hangout), but it's not real either. You still need to go.
You see Froggy 101 stickers all over the office, specifically on the file cabinet by Dwigget's desk. That station is real and we took the time to drive about 15 minutes southwest of Scranton to Wilkes-Barre where the radio station resides. We went in and the receptionist, with a knowing smile, forked over a few Froggy 101 stickers which we prize BIG TIME and display proudly. I mean they're straight from Froggy 101 in Pennsylvania!
We hear people talk about Montage Mountain and The Pavilion from time to time. Once Jim said he was going mountain biking on Montage Mountain over the weekend. A winding 15 minute drive up the small mountain will take you past PNC Field (also mentioned in the show), past The Pavilion, and up to the very real Montage Mountain where you'll find snowboarders, skiers and snow machines. Not much else, but it was towards the end of the season when we were there. It’s worth a drive though.
Gertrude hawk chocolates are seen around the office in the vending machine, and, of course the turtles in the gift basket were Gertrude’s. We drove up there and the ladies wrapping up treats behind the counter were very friendly. the chocolate in a word -- to quote Gabe -- was exquisite. Really. It’s fantastic chocolate. The main office is in Switzerland I think -- they know how to make chocolate. You should go there just to get the chocolate, even if you're not an office fan.
Probably the weirdest and most uncomfortable place we went was the Crystal Soda Water Company. Crystal Soda is found in lots of episodes and we were hoping for a sample, but the company is really just a factory and they're not set up to entertain at all. They opened the door and a worked talked with us for a minute, probably thought we were crazy, but the guy was as friendly as everyone we met in Scranton was. They definitely know that office fans come to Scranton and they seem to "get it". Crystal Soda Water Company, though, it's in a kind of sketchy area and nothing to really see, so I’d plan on skipping that one.
Wegman's the grocery store is mentioned in several episodes. In fun run Michael is eating Wegman’s cereal and Wegman’s soda is shown several times, so we stopped by the local store. It’s a grocery store. Didn’t bother going in, but there's the sign -- again, it's real!
Alfredo’s pizza? Or pizza by Alfredo? Alfredo’s pizza of course! Alfredo’s is real. It’s busy. It’s another institution in Scranton from the looks of it. We had to swing in there and get a pie. Full disclosure, the pizza wasn't amazing, but it was good pie. We’re a pizza family and Alfredo’s definitely has its own local pizza style and it is a good pie that we'd buy again. We understand their other food choices are also good. By the way, Poor Richards is right next to Alfredo’s, so you can get a two-fer at this location.
The last thing we can speak to in Scranton is the tower from the opening scene. Odd as it is, the tower is the thing that I personally was most happy we saw, went to, and kind of bonded with. It’s in every opening scene and when I see it at the beginning of the show with the theme music, every time I now say to myself "Hey, I saw that. I was there to see that." It's actually the Penn Paper Company and you can see that in the opening scene of the show if you look closely. In good humor, the Penn Paper Company has accepted their fate and labeled the other side of their tower as "Dunder-Mifflin". We understand they may have some office memorabilia inside and are accommodating to fans, but parking was weird and we didn't go in.
Well, that's our trip in a nutshell. Scranton was fun! It most certainly is worth making the sojourn if you're a die hard Office fan like us. If it's your spouse or friend who is the fan and you not so much....or vise versus.....it's STILL worth going because Cooper's is awesome and when The Office fan among you sees these places in person their happy energy will lift the spirits of anyone around. Go to Scranton! Make your own list of places to go and then just go.
Thanks for reading/watching and long live Dunder-Mifflin!