10 Questions for New Proprietor of Old Guinan’s Building (Plus: Proposed New Name)

View of #7 Garrison's Landing, now under renovation, from train platform.

Renovations for a new restaurant and cafe are well underway at #7 Garrison’s Landing, home to the former Guinan’s Pub & Country Store, which closed its doors in 2008. A couple of weeks ago, I got a tour inside - stepping back across a threshold into a place so many lucky people once called a second home. 

The nonprofit organization leading the reconstruction has rebuilt the pub area in back (no, the floor doesn’t slant anymore but that glorious view of the Hudson River is the same) and generally kept the building’s overall architectural shape in tact. The old green phone booth still stands outside (it might become a library book trading outpost, I’m told), the stone fireplace is there (couldn’t see if the gold shamrock was still embedded on the hearth as it was covered with new windows about to be installed.)  [UPDATE: Breaking news...the shamrock has been located and while it is not on the hearth, it is in a most excellent place: Margaret Guinan's possession. She reports, before closing the store "we chiseled it up because we couldn't leave it behind!" Mystery solved.] The divide between the store and the living area is gone; the floor-plan is very open. The upper floor will have two apartments with loft spaces and views of the Hudson.

Doors are set to open likely in mid-March of 2018, I’m told, and the restaurant will be run by well-known local caterer Fresh Company - owned by Kimball Gell and Shelley Boris. Below, Shelley answers a few questions about her current plans, including an idea for a name. (Hint: think Barbra Streisand and Vandergelder ... and a very special dog for those of you who read "Little Chapel on the River").

Meantime, nonprofit Garrison’s Landing Association is seeking roughly $40,000 to complete its work renovating the building after raising $400,000 from the community. You can read an excellent history of the building here at our fine, local Highlands Current news Web site. I donated last year, and plan to give again to support bringing back to life this very special community gathering place. Tax deductible donations can be made here online.

View from the former family living area, which will be a restaurant.

Q. The space where the bar is located has the same footprint - what will you do in that area when you open?
A. Well, we thought it was too small to be the bar so it will be quieter dining with a fireplace but on a quiet night folks can just drink there of course.

Q. Do you have a name yet?
A. We're considering “Dolly’s” - nod to Hello, Dolly! but we like the open-to-all vibe of the name for all sorts of people of all ages - a general locals place, we are hoping, with very good food, but not fancy. [Editor's note: The 1969 film Hello, Dolly! was filmed on Garrison's Landing and some of the buildings there retain architectural nods to their starring role in the movie. Some locals, including the Guinan children, had cameos.]

Q. Do you have an specifics on what kind of food/drink will be served?
A. Still a work in progress - casual, seasonal, varied, changing menu with a few standards including burger and fries, hoping for good quality soft serve for in-house tasty dessert, walking around the landing and along the riverfront and in keeping with our interest in reaching guests of all ages.

Q, Will the main dining area be on the main level (where the store/living room area used to be?)
A. Yes.

Q. What will you do in the basement area?
A. Kitchen, second bathroom, storage and some inside seating in case of rain where folks can go if they were on the patio out front or on the lawn and/or possible for meetings/small private parties/chef table special dinners.

Q. At what hours do you plan to open/close?
A. We will try early until there is interest: 6:30 am - 9 pm weekdays, later weekends depending.

Q. Will there be coffee service for morning commuters?
A. To begin with, yes, and hopefully it will be doable. We want to be open early for commuters.

Q. Will there be takeout service for commuters coming off the train at night?
A. Yes.

Q. Will there be a bar for people who just want to drink?
A. Yes.

Q. Will there be sit-down tables?
A. Yes. 

The old pub area still has the same spectacular view. (No TV up in the corner though.) 

Corner facing train platform where the red Coca-Cola cooler used to hold beer.

View from the front door into the former living room, dining room area of #7.

Tables for restaurant will be placed throughout an open floor plan.

The basement is being renovated around the old stone fireplace.

The old green phone booth might become a book trading post.
(That's Peter Hofmann, president of Garrison's Landing Association.)

#7 Garrison's Landing as seen from the river landing.


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