WATERLOO — Lee Bieber’s dream of establishing a restaurant in downtown Waterloo featuring modern tavern cuisine hasn’t panned out.
Bieber said he will close Stan’s, which was named after his father, after the last meals are served Saturday night. The restaurant at the 7 E. Main St. opened Aug. 17, 2017.
The Brooklyn contractor and developer told Fingerlakes1.com in Seneca Falls that business has been difficult, resulting in his decision to close.
“It was a challenge, but at his point, closing is the best path forward,” Bieber said.
Stan’s was personal for Bieber. He named it after his late father, and put a picture of his dad on a wall of the wood-paneled restaurant.
Bieber wanted to make it a New York City-style tavern burger eatery with many locally sourced ingredients, along with local wines and beers. The beef came from Rosenkrans Farms in Fayette. Muranda Cheese in Fayette and Cayuga Lake Creamery in Interlaken also supplied the restaurant with food.
He extensively renovated the interior. He put in a main dining area and bar on the street-level floor and an upper floor for parties, special events and live music. He hired a chef and general manager from New York City to run the place.
The closing is the second downtown restaurant venture Bieber has opened and closed. The first was West Main Kitchen in 2017. Bieber bought the old Green Apple Restaurant and converted it before it closed and was sold to Marty Colegove, who has opened Coach’s Diner in the space.
Bieber has purchased several downtown buildings over the past eight years, including the former Harold Lewis Jewelry Store that he turned into Stan’s.
He was looking to invest in upstate when he was introduced to the village by real estate agent David Young. He said he saw potential and fell in love with the village. He formed the Waterloo New York Restoration and Redevelopment Co. as the umbrella organization for his efforts.
He still owns the Waterloo Shoppe Center on the north side of East Main Street and the old Grange Building on Virginia Street.
The closing is a “setback” to the revitalization of downtown, according to Village Administrator Don Northrup. But, Northrup said he’s optimistic the restaurant won’t remain closed too long and will continue to play a key role in the downtown effort.
“Mr. Bieber has been instrumental in setting the village downtown moving again. I respect him for his sincere effort to revitalize downtown,” Northrup said. “ It’s a setback, but there’s a lot of good things going on that will continue.”
Meanwhile, Northrup said Tammy Hobby is working hard to equip the Corner Deli and Bakery at 1 E. Main St., and is hoping to open next month.