Wednesday February 6, 2008

Restaurant to Shut Down This Week in Downtown Oswego

Coleman's Irish Pub of Oswego to close doors temporarily
By Lou Sorendo

    Coleman’s Irish Pub of Oswego, a longtime restaurant on West First Street, is shutting down temporarily.

    Peter J. Coleman, owner of both the Oswego Coleman's as well as
    Coleman’s Authentic Irish Pub at Tipperary Hill in Syracuse, said one of the reasons is that revenues have been considerably below expectations.

    "We believe in Oswego and have a vision for our waterfront location that we would still love to see come to life," said Coleman, whose son Peter Jr. manages the Oswego location.

    "We've given it nine years and at this point we're not happy with the bottom line," he added.

    In order to make the Oswego location profitable year round, Coleman said he intends to renovate the second floor into a room that would be suitable for banquets and meetings.

    He said besides the need for roof repairs, another $350,000 is needed to revamp the second floor of the building.

    "We get a lot of requests for meeting space in Oswego, but we've had to turn people away. This project would require an influx of capital," Coleman said. "We're considering our options right now. Winter is much quieter (in Oswego). This is a good time to take stock of the situation."

    Coleman also owns Rosie's Sports Pub and Grill, West Genesee and Fayette streets, Syracuse.

    Coleman says he will keep the area informed about future developments on the Oswego restaurant.

    “We are in fact closing,” an unnamed source at the restaurant said Wednesday. The longtime employee said she was saddened by the closing.

    The restaurant is noted for its tasty Irish fare and beverages. It is a popular spot on St. Patrick’s Day in Oswego as well.

    “We are in a recession,” she said. “Things are not picking up as fast as we would like.” She said overhead costs got “too high” and the closing was unavoidable.

    The restaurant will continue to serve dinners through Friday evening, or until its food resources are depleted, the source said.

    The employee said there are “people looking to invest,” and if that happens, to expect the establishment to undergo a complete transformation and name change.

    “It won’t be the same place anymore,” she said.

    When Coleman decided to locate in Oswego during former Mayor Terrence Hammill’s tenure, he was enticed by incentives such as the availability of a low-interest $600,000 HUD loan to renovate the historic property.

    He opted into the Oswego property, however, with the understanding that development would continue to occur along the riverfront on West First Street where Coleman’s is located.

    It never has in the nine years the restaurant/pub has been there, he said last September.

    “I didn’t know it was going to turn out like this,” he said.

    Financially, Coleman has on several occasions expressed doubts as to whether he could continue with the Oswego Coleman’s. “It just doesn’t produce enough money to keep it going,” he said.

    “I haven’t taken a dime out of there since the day we opened,” he said.

    Coleman’s is the site of the former Cahill’s fish market.

    City’s response

    Mary Vanouse, director of the city of Oswego’s Community Development Office, said today that Coleman has requested a meeting with city officials to talk about the future of his restaurant and the possibility of creating a banquet room.

    Vanouse said she was unaware of any bottom line difficulties experienced by Coleman. “It looks like they want to expand their offerings in terms of a banquet facility. That would be great for the city,” she said.

    Vanouse refuted Coleman’s contention that not enough has been done along the waterfront.

    The west side river walk now features a stage for summertime concerts, she said, while the Oswego Harbor Trail will benefit from a $650,000 project which will connect Wright’s Landing marina to the river walk and adjacent businesses.

    In addition, the city received $2.5 million in Restore NY grant monies for its east and west side harbor revitalization projects.

    On the west side of the Oswego harbor, an underutilized brown field industrial site at 68 W. First St. will be demolished and a new mixed-use building will be constructed to accommodate 24 market-rate apartments with six retail structures.

    Vanouse said the “domino effect that Coleman suggested would happen when he came to Oswego” didn’t occur as he had originally envisioned.

    “We’re looking for additional growth and hope that Coleman will see some benefit and prosper in this environment as well,” she said.

    Jennifer Hill, executive director of the Greater Oswego-Fulton Chamber of Commerce, said the closing will diminish the variety of restaurants in Oswego.

    “I know Coleman’s is a strong business in Onondaga County and hopefully it will continue that success here,” she said.








Oswego County Business Magazine
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