Above, Ramona Schafsteck, Cherry Valley, with the help of friend Nancy Manganaro, detaches one of two decorative bears she bought yesterday as Brzostek’s Auction Service sold off the contents of the Adirondack-style Christoper’s Motel, many of the items hand-crafted. Adjacent Christopher’s Restaurant burned in April, and, according to talk at the auction, owner Marty Patton’s plan is to raze this structure, clearing a sizable parcel of coveted Southside Oneonta real estate for redevelopment. At right, auctioneer Ernest Brzostek, assistant by wife Martha, auctions off a room’s-worth of content at a time, for prices ranging from $200 for all the contents to $800-plus. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)
By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
“Mirabito” replaced “Taylor” on the sign in front of the Goodyear Lake quick-stop this afternoon as the worst-kept secret in Otsego County in recent days became public.
Word is that Binghamton-based Mirabito is buying Cooperstown-based Taylor Heating & Mini Marts. Of the seven stores, five are in Otsego County, including the lighthouse-adorned one, a landmark as you enter Cooperstown on Route 28 from the south.
In addition to Goodyear Lake and Cooperstown, Mirabito is acquiring the Mini Mart in Oneonta’s East End, plus the ones in Laurens and Richfield Springs. Outside Otsego County, Mini Marts in Norwich and Richmondville are part of the package.
Joe Vezza’s new Upstate Bar & Grill, on Route 28 on Cooperstown’s south end, was even more packed than usual Saturday evening, as – with the summer season over – the new establishment hosted a community open house. Hundreds watched a variety of football games and savored a buffet with samples of appetizers and entrees – from ribs to a whole pig – from the newly released menu. Inset photo, bartenders Sam Borgstrom, Jennifer Putnam and Maria Senk serve from 26 taps of local, state, national and even a few international beers. In addition to regular offerings, Upstate is offering banquet space for private parties. (Tara Barnwell/AllOTSEGO.com)
On coming out of executive session, board chair Devin Morgan said a special meeting may be called in the near future to act on the appointment.
‘THIS BIRD HAS BEEN SET FREE’
ONEONTA – Joe Ruffino Jr. announced to his customers on his website today that, after 45 years of the “daily grind” of making pizza – since age 7 – and running a business in Upstate New York, he has closed Joe Ruffino’s Pizzeria & Restaurant at 222 Main St.
“I have known for a while that I couldn’t maintain that work ethic forever,” he said. “No one is in the bullpen ready to relieve me … Now it’s time for my wife and I to move forward to a new beginning. It may seem like my wings have been clipped, but in reality this bird has been set free.”
HISTORIC BUILDING RENOVATED
All hands are on deck, including proprietor Perry Ferrara’s wife Cathy, foreground, as the Railroad Inn, the new boutique hotel at Railroad and Glen avenues, Cooperstown, prepares to welcome its first guests tomorrow evening. Ferrara, in right photo with Cathy, said the first-floor rooms will be occupied Friday evening, and by next weekend – Hall of Fame Induction Weekend – all 22 rooms will be completed and filled. Crews have been renovating the historic hops-storage facility since last October, which had been vacant since businessman Mike Manno bought the former Agway in 2009 and restored the exterior. Ferrara, who has operated Cat Construction on Long Island for 30 years, said bringing the building back to life while preserving the historic ambiance has been a particularly satisfying part of this project. Bob Holt, at the registration desk, former manager of the Best Western in Harwtick Seminary, is managing the new hotel. Helping Mrs. Ferrara in the top photo are, from left, friends Lorraine Banfield and Cathy DiResta, and Cassie Sawyer of Worcester. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)
FULL STORY IN NEXT WEEK’S FREEMAN’S JOURNAL
FERRARA LOOKS TO MID-JULY
Perry Ferrara, top photo, proprietor of the soon-to-open Railroad Inn on Cooperstown’s Railroad Avenue, shows off one of four two-story accommodations planned in the 22-room hotel. After eight months of renovations, Ferrara, who also operates the Hardball Cafe and Heroes of Baseball Wax Museum, said he hopes to have the establishment open for business by mid-July. In recent days, he recruited Bob Holt, veteran hotelier (most recently at Best Western in Hartwick Seminary) and Destination Marketing of Otsego County board member, as Railroad Inn manager. A tour of the building today showed renovations on the verge of completion. All the rooms have been sheet-rocked, and Ferrara said he expect them to be painted and doors installed by the middle of next week. In some rooms, furniture was already being assembled. And a roofed veranda is nearing completion on the north end. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)