News of Otsego County

Serving Otsego County, NY, through the combined reporting of Cooperstown's Freeman's Journal and the Hometown Oneonta newspapers.
 BREAKING NEWS 
 POLICE & FIRE 
 IN MEMORIAM  
 HOMETOWN PEOPLE 
 COLUMNS 
 EDITORIALS 
 LETTERS TO THE EDITOR 

 EMPLOYMENT  
 DINING & ENTERTAINMENT  
 REAL ESTATE  
 AUTOMOTIVE  
 REMEMBRANCE  
 GOODS & SERVICES

Brian Wrubleski

New Bar Installed As Mel’s Redo Nears End

REOPENING DUE NEXT WEEK

New Bar Installed As

Mel’s Redo Nears End

Clerk of the Works Frank Halay, right, directs the installation of the new bar, as a month-long renovations at Mel’s at 22, the Cooperstown hot spot, is nearing completion. The bar was built in Amish carpenter Paul Byler’s shop in the Town of Springfield and transported down East Lake Road at noon today to restaurateur Brian Wrubleski’s establishment.  Next to Halay are Mike Beilby, Sean Murray, Adam Halay, William Bawolak, Shannon Hugick and Jacob Stutzman.   Mel’s regulars have been asking, what happened to the cow?  Inset right, Frank Halay unloads the spruced up painting from the truck, ready to once again hang over Mel’s bar.  The bar and restaurant is expected to be open for business again next Wednesday. (Larissa Ryan/AllOTSEGO.com)

With Music, Good Cheer Mel’s At 22 Marks Fifth

WRUBLESKI FAMILY, PATRONS CELEBRATE

With Music, Good Cheer

Mel’s At 22 Marks Fifth

Surrounded by family, friends and patrons, Brian Wrubleski and his family at this hour this evening the fifth anniversary of Mel’s at 22, which quickly established a place in Cooperstown’s restaurant and social scene.  Brian is flanked his daughters, Alex Gauther, right, and Natalie Wrubleski, and joined by his in-laws, Richard and Dorothy Dabrowski, visiting from Webster, Mass.  The Dabrowskis are parents of Brian’s wife Maryellen, the restaurant’s namesake, who passed away in 2013.  (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)
Mel’s, For A Good Meal – And, If Needed, Help

WRUBLESKI SAVES PATRON

Mel’s, For A Good Meal

– And, If Needed, Help

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Brian Wrubleski, here with daughter/business partner Alex, last week saved a patron at the table behind them from choking. He recalled that, on Alex’s first day in the restaurant business, she’d similarly been called upon to perform the Heimlich as well. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)

COOPERSTOWN – Working in the kitchen at Mel’s at 22 late last week, Brian Wrubleski got the word:  “Somebody’s choking.”

One waitperson had already attempted the Heimlich maneuver, he was told.

Walking out onto the restaurant floor, Wrubleski saw a second waitperson was performing the maneuver on a customer who, with a morsel trapped in his windpipe, had fallen out his chair in the restaurant’s southeast corner.

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for SATURDAY, OCTOBER 27
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for SATURDAY, OCTOBER 27

Fall Guitar Fest Concert

14-19eventspage

GUITAR CONCERT – 7:30 p.m. Headline concert of Classical Guitar Fall Festival features The Newman & Oltman Guitar Duo performing de Falla, Rossini, Moravec, more. Fine Arts Building, SUNY Oneonta. 607-865-8775 or visit cgsuny.org

CONCERT SERIES – 7:30 p.m. Open 49th Cooperstown Concert series featuring Molly Tuttle, performing distinctly original works. Ballroom, Village Hall, Cooperstown. 607-547-1812 or visit cooperstownconcertseries.org/molly-tuttle-saturday-october-27/

4-Hour Parking Rejected On Chestnut, Lower Main

4-Hour Parking Rejected

On Chestnut, Upper Main

Restaurateur Brian Wrubleski, right, proprietor of Mel’s At 22, speaks against raising parking limits on upper Main Street and Chestnut (between Main and Lake) from two to four hours at this evening’s meeting of the Cooperstown Village Board. On average, tables turn over every hour and a half, and the higher limit would lock up parking spaces his customers might otherwise use, Wrubleski said. The village trustees then unanimously rejected the local law that would have increased the limit.   From left are Trustee Cindy Falk, Mayor Jeff Katz, Village Administrator Teri Barown, and Trustees Richard Sternberg, Lou Allstadt and Bruce Maxon.  (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)
Sweaters REALLY UGLY At This Year’s Holiday Race

Sweaters REALLY UGLY

At This Year’s Holiday Run

Brian Wrubleski and a team from Mel's won a top prize in today's third annual “Rockin Around Cooperstown Ugly Sweater Run and Walk”Ugly Sweater 2K and 4K race this afternoon from Pioneer Park through the village to Lakefront Park, sponsored by the Cooperstown Chamber of Commerce and the Clark Sports Center. Front row, from left, are Natalie Wrubleski, Santa (Steven Zabroski), Jamie Brinkman and Alex Coffey. Back row, from left, are Emma Ryanmiller, Natha n Tweedie, Brian Wrubleski, Hannah Bergene and Shirley Tyler. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)
Brian Wrubleski and a team from his Mel’s at 22 Restaurant won a top prize in this afternoon”s third annual Rockin’ Around Cooperstown Ugly Sweater Run & Walk from Pioneer Park through the village to Lakefront Park, sponsored by the Cooperstown Chamber of Commerce and the Clark Sports Center. Front row, from left, are Natalie Wrubleski, Santa (Steven Zabroski), Jamie Brinkman and Alex Coffey. Back row, from left, are Emma Ryanmiller, Nathan Tweedie, Brian Wrubleski, Hannah Bergene and Shirley Tyler. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)

CLICK FOR UGLY SWEATER SLIDE SHOW

Husband Dedicates Mel’s To Wife’s Memory

Husband Dedicates Mel’s To Wife’s Memory

By LIBBY CUDMORE • The Freeman’s Journal

Edition of Thursday, Dec. 4, 2015

 

Daughter Alex and her husband Steve are participating in Brian Wrubleski’s venture. (Jim Kevlin/The Freeman's Journal)
Daughter Alex and her husband Steve are participating in Brian Wrubleski’s venture. (Jim Kevlin/The Freeman’s Journal)

Opening Mel’s at 22 was not just a dream come true for Brian Wrubleski – it was a chance to honor his wife, MaryEllen, who died Dec. 21, 2013, at age 53.

“It had been a goal of ours for a long time,” he said as he stirred a batch of his homemade clam chowder in preparation for a Monday lunch crowd. “After she passed away, we found this location. She always said, ‘When it’s the right time, it’s the right time.’ I guess now was the right time.”

The restaurant, in the space that once housed Sherry’s, a legendary Cooperstown soda shop, opened in early November and in the three weeks, Wrubleski’s cuisine – including specialties like fried pork belly, grilled salmon with Asian-inspired glaze and Southwest-inspired chicken – have drawn rave reviews and a packed dining room.

“It’s good, classic American fare with an ethnic flair,” he said.

Wrubleski, a former Webster, Mass., police officer who graduated second in his culinary class from Johnson & Wales, is Bassett’s former head of dining, and worked two years as the head chef at the Otsego Country Club. “My parents were bakers,” he said. “I’m trying to use lots of local foods, and I make almost everything from scratch.”

And it’s a family affair. Daughters Natalie and Alex manage, hostess and serve, while son-in-law Steve Gunther works behind the bar. “Steve and I were living in North Carolina and I was working in an office, but secretly, I’ve always wanted to do something like this,” said Alex. “When it came around for my dad, I felt like it was right!”

But he also shares his kitchen knowledge with staff who aren’t blood relatives. “I try to show my team everything I know about hard work,” he said. “I put in 12 to 16 hour days, but the end result is that I get watch people enjoy my food.”

And even more than a restaurant, it’s a chance for Wrubleski to join in the community. “My biggest passion is when I see people at the store or at the gym, and they tell me they love this place. They’ve given me so much support in this endeavor.”

It’s part of the reason he makes good food at reasonable prices. A 12-ounce sirloin steak with three sides costs $23, his specialty fried haddock costs $15. “I want to take care of the locals,” he said. “I don’t want anyone to say, ‘It was good, but I can’t afford to eat there again’.”

He’s also starting to offer more gluten-free and vegetarian options.

MaryEllen was the chairwoman of the annual food drive for the Cooperstown Food Pantry, and with the one-year anniversary coming up, Wrubleski plans to honor her memory by making sure everyone in the community has enough good food to eat. “I’m going to volunteer down at one of the food pantries on Christmas,” he said. “I realized I have to give back some of what I’ve had to those less fortunate.”

Posts navigation

21 Railroad Ave. Cooperstown, New York 13326 • (607) 547-6103