Cook Street closing doors

B y Dan King

The sign on the door reads “any concerns regards to Cook Street Station call David and Shelly,” but what that means is Whitehall has lost another business.

Cook Street Station closed its doors last week, less than a year after Dave and Shelly Carpenter purchased the property from former owners Dave and Roxanne Waters.

“The restaurant is closed,” the Carpenters said. “We are extremely sad to say this as we put our heart and souls into this.”

The Carpenters bought the place on Route 4 – long known as the Roma, and then Lucia’s – last April for $339,000, according to Washington County Real Property. Waters, the same data shows, purchased the property for $140,000 in 2012.

Cook Street Station received assistance in opening with a $150,000 microenterprise loan through the Washington County Local Development Corporation.
Deanna Derway, president of the LDC, would not confirm if the money had been paid back.

“We are still attempting to gather all the necessary information to reach our own decisions,” she said.

Asked if she knew when LDC would conclude its information-gathering, Derway said, “I don’t have more info for you at this point.”

Tax records show that all taxes on the property have been paid.

“We did everything we could. Financially it is not possible for us to continue anymore,” the Carpenters said. “There’s a lot of overhead in a big building like that and we were not pulling enough sales to cover those expenses.”

Asked if they planned to sell the building, the reply was: “No comment.”

Pat Roche, who owned the restaurant from 2002-2012, said that there are certain difficulties inherent to running a business at that building.

“The common denominator for all of the restaurants that have been at the Roma site is a great location and an aging structure,” he said. “The building itself has always demanded on-going repairs and improvements and was one of the contributing factors when we sold the restaurant after nine years. Nine years was our restaurant ownership shelf life. I know that the financial demand of simply maintaining the building and kitchen equipment would have to be an added burden to all owners.”

Roche added that he felt the demands of owners – and customers – have changed throughout the years.

“The original owners operated when there were 4,000 residents in the village – that is gone. New owners want their own menus and hours,” he added. “I believe that to say that the location at 209 Broadway cannot support a full service restaurant is too simple, you have to delve into the dynamics of each restaurant’s previous operations to perhaps, come up with a formula that works for Whitehall and the area.”

Cook Street Station joins a growing list of businesses to close recently in Whitehall. The news comes in the same week it was announced that the former Finch and Chubb restaurant would be turned into apartments. Both Skenesborough Gardens and Sunoco closed their doors and during that same week McDonald’s confirmed a long-assumed belief that it would not reopen the Route 4 location. Whitehall House of Pizza has also “closed for the season” and the Sasquatch Saloon, which opened recently, has also already closed its doors.

Attempts to reach Waters for comment were unsuccessful.

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