Lane McFarland, the 2012 Restaurant Member of the Year for the Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association, has been in the restaurant business since he was 15. Only nine years after starting off as a dishwasher at an old German restaurant, he’s worked his through the restaurant hierarchy to award-winning chef and manager at the age of 24.
McFarland and his mother Lisa took over Beechie’s Place in Meadow Lands, Pennsylvania, in 2010 and brought the hometown favorite back to life. Beechie’s was founded in 1952 by Frank “Beechie” Bonazza and his wife, Sophie. They started with their famous hot sausage and added homemade soups and chili, until the restaurant was sold to Charles “Chuck” Phillips in 1974, who added “Beechie’s Famous Wings” and Honey BBQ to the menu.
Since Beechie’s was sold to the McFarlands two years ago, Lane has worked to revive the restaurant by updating and improving the menu without taking out the historical favorites. His award was based on his culinary experience, as well as his involvement with the local community.
Every year the restaurant hosts month-long events like Pink Out! for Breast Cancer Awareness, Pediatric Hydrocephalus Month, Muscular Dystrophy Month, and Multiple Sclerosis Month to help these charities raise money for research to help save lives. In addition to month-long events, Beechie’s donates time or money to the Fraternal Order of Police, American Cancer Society, Washington Area Humane Society, Lupus Foundation, local churches, local organizations, and sports teams. Beginning in 2013, Lane will be donating his time to the Chartiers-Houston music and musical theatre program to assist in the development of the students’ musical ability and involvement.
Lane holds a degree in business and music from Westminster College and is currently pursuing his Certified Chef de Cuisine certification through the American Culinary Association. Lane has traveled all over the Eastern seaboard, Italy, Ireland, and England, experiencing the food and the culture. Lane’s specialty has become taking the standard culinary traditions of a vast array of cultures and turning them into something new and delectable.
At the Awards Gala on November 4 in Harrisburg, Lane was nominated with other restaurateurs across Pennsylvania and was recognized for his excellence in the culinary arts and for his contributions and service to the Pennsylvania Restaurant and Lodging Association and the Hospitality Industry.