Restoration Well Underway at Former Guinan’s

Restaurant owners float new name

By Gwendolyn Bounds

Renovations for a new restaurant and café are well underway at No. 7 Garrison’s Landing, home to the former Guinan’s Pub & Country Store, which closed its doors in 2008. A few weeks ago, I received a private tour, stepping back across a threshold into a place so many lucky people once called a second home.

The nonprofit Garrison’s Landing Association, which is leading the reconstruction, has rebuilt the pub (the floor doesn’t slant anymore) and kept the overall architecture intact. The green phone booth still stands outside (it might become a library book trading outpost) and the stone fireplace is there. I couldn’t see the gold shamrock once embedded on the hearth — but was later told by Margaret Guinan that it’s in her possession. “We chiseled it up because we couldn’t leave it behind!” she says.

The former living area will become a dining room

The divide between the store and the living area is gone; this new open space will be the dining area. The upper floor will have two loft apartments.

The doors are scheduled to open in mid-March, and the restaurant will be run by Fresh Company, owned by Kimball Gell and Shelley Boris. In the meantime, after raising $400,000, the nonprofit Garrison’s Landing Association still needs about $40,000 to complete the work (see garrisonlanding.org/donate).

After my tour, I quizzed Boris about her plans:

What will you do with the space that was once the bar?
We thought it was too small to be the bar, so it will be for quiet dining with a fireplace. But on a slow night, folks can just drink there, of course.

Shelley Boris

Do you have a name yet?
We’re thinking about Dolly’s — a nod to Hello, Dolly! [which was filmed in part at Garrison’s Landing]. We like the open-to-all vibe of the name — a general locals place with very good food, but not fancy.

What type of food and drink?
That’s still a work in progress, but a casual, seasonal, varied and changing menu with a few standards, including burgers and fries. We are hoping for quality soft-serve for an in-house tasty dessert to walk with around the landing and along the riverfront, in keeping with our interest in reaching all ages.

What will you do in the basement?
Kitchen, second bathroom, storage and inside seating where folks can go if they are on the patio or the lawn and it rains. It also could be used for meetings, private parties or special dinners.

Do you have an idea of the hours?
We’re thinking 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. weekdays, and later on weekends, depending.

Coffee for commuters?
Initially, yes. We want to be open early for commuters and offer takeout at night.

Bounds is the author of Little Chapel on the River: A Pub, a Town and the Search for What Matters Most, a memoir about Guinan’s. This story was adapted from her blog (littlechapelontheriver.blogspot.com).

Photos by G. Bounds

 

5 Responses to "Restoration Well Underway at Former Guinan’s"

  1. John Carr   August 25, 2017 at 9:43 am

    Not enamored of Dolly’s as a name, and the association with the film is little known to most people. Why not something simpler and more accurate, such as The Landing?

    Reply
  2. Ron Soodalter   August 25, 2017 at 4:22 pm

    For those of us who regret coming here too late to get to know Guinan’s, this seems like a fine way to give it new life. Best of luck on the restoration, and we’ll see you for dinner!

    Reply
  3. Charles H. Park Jr.   August 28, 2017 at 9:44 am

    This area is steeped in history, going back to the Revolutionary War and beyond. Why not honor recent history and keep the name Guinan’s? That spot has had that name for nearly 60 years.

    Reply
  4. Frank Haggerty   August 28, 2017 at 2:21 pm

    Injecting and implanting a sense of history, you may name the place, possibly informally, in wry and dramatic irony, the Andre and Arnold. The view, is it not, of West Point? And the view, is it not, from a place called Garrison? Food for thought…no, even better… Food and thought.

    Reply
  5. Suzi Merritt   August 30, 2017 at 12:37 am

    How about “Guinan’s Lower Station Cafe and Pub”? When we lived in Garrison, I always loved going in there for the Sunday paper. All the original Garrison people will always call it Guinan’s, anyway. Keep up the good work — would love to see it all done next summer.

    Reply

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