SACKETS HARBOR — The owners of the burned-down Anchor bar and grill hope to build a new, improved version of their eatery, and both the village and the mayor of Naples have offered assistance.
A fast blaze destroyed the popular eatery at 210 W. Main St. on Aug. 12, leaving behind charred rubble, remnants of the building frame and a hole in the historic village. The fire, caused by a carelessly discarded cigarette than landed on mulch, cost Thomas and Pearl Scozzafava a business that employed 15 workers, but they have not called it quits.
In addition to clearing the scorched remains of the establishment, Mr. Scozzafava said he wants build a new iteration of his restaurant with “Anchor” in the name and a brick and stone exterior to mirror neighboring historic buildings. The local restaurateur also said he wants to redesign the interior layout to capitalize on the scenic vista and improve efficiency, which will include relocating the kitchen away from the bar so servers can enter the dining room faster. The new establishment will be similar in size to the former 3,700-square-foot Anchor,
Mr. Scozzafava also said he plans to bolster the new eatery by hiring 20 to 25 workers and hosting musical performances, comedy acts and other festivities.
“Obviously, we’ve been given a blank canvas, and theway we’ll design the interior will run a little more operationally efficient,” he said.
Financing the new restaurant, however, could be a challenge, depending on how much money Mr. Scozzafava receives from his insurance company. After hearing word about the fire that destroyed the Anchor, consultant and Naples, Ontario County, Mayor Brian Schenk contacted him to offer help.
Mr. Schenk, who owns the firm Capital Solutions for Local Governments, said he hopes to secure funding from the Community Development Block Grant Program that would help Mr. Scozzafava finance the construction of a new establishment. The funding, if approved, would only cover the new structure itself, not replacement equipment, decor, or supplies, Mr. Schenk said. The consultant will also seek other grants to finance the technical services he has offered.
Learning about the Anchor fire reminded Mr. Schenk of a blaze that destroyed a building in his village that was erected in 1832 and housed two companies and three families, he said. With four mayoral terms and about 30 years of experience as a general contractor, Mr. Schenk said he felt he could help Mr. Scozzafava.
“I have extensive experience of how to navigate funding programs,” he said.
Funding from the program must be awarded to a municipality, but the village can serve as a pass through entity for Mr. Scozzafava’s new restaurant.
The Board of Trustees agreed to help Tuesday by allowing Mr. Schenk to apply for a grant on its behalf. A public hearing about the pursuit will be held at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 8 at the village office, 112 N Broad St.
Mayor F. Eric Constance said the village will spare no expense toward the effort, which should help remove debris that blocks the sidewalk and prevent the burnt structure from creating another hazard.
“I hope to see the property cleaned up in a timely fashion, I hope to see a new building and a new business done there and not a vacant lot in the middle of our downtown,” he said.
Mr. Scozzafava said the needs state approval before he can remove the rubble. He needs a variance stating his contractor will deal with the rubble as if it contained hazardous materials, because proving whether the building actually contained any can be difficult, if not possible, after it burns.
The village board also adopted a resolution Tuesday requiring Mr. Scozzafava to clean the property once he receives approval, which he said he expects to conclude by the end of the week or next week.
“(I) thank the village for its support and understanding,” he said, “and I’d like to thank the local fire department and other,” departments.