Ithaca, N.Y. — Rulloff’s Bar and Restaurant in Ithaca’s Collegetown will reopen Wednesday under new ownership, the Cornell Daily Sun reports.

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Writes the Cornell Sun’s Sofia Hu:

Gregar Brous — the owner of the AGAVA Restaurant and Collegetown Bagels — purchased Rulloff’s after the restaurant’s previous owners abruptly shut down …

Brous said he and a team of approximately 40 newly hired employees have worked since November to return the restaurant to its “original luster.”

“There was a lot of tender love and care that went into preparing the restaurant,” Brous said. “Every wall was repainted. Every piece of wood was polished and oiled. Every piece of metal was reshined.”

Rulloff’s abruptly closed its doors on Sept. 1. That triggered frustration among many of the bar’s approximately 30 employees, who said they felt “blindsided” by the closure.

Brous, however, has stepped into the breach. Saving Rulloff’s preserves an establishment steeped in Ithaca history, given who it’s named after: Edward Rulloff.

Edward Rulloff’s notoriety stems from his death in 1871 in the last public hanging in NY State. He had been accused of burglaries, robberies and several murders, and — according to the bar’s website — allegedly disposed of his daughter’s body in Cayuga Lake.

See related: The strange case of Edward Rulloff, 1800s Ithaca murderer and bar namesake

Edward Rulloff’s death has long been considered part of the lore surrounding the bar — as noted on the bar’s website:

“…Unrepentant to the end, Rulloff proclaimed in his final interview, published in the Ithaca Daily Leader the week before his death, “…you cannot kill an unquiet spirit, and I know that my impending death will not mean the end of Rulloff.

In the dead of night, walking along Cayuga Street, you will sense my presence. When you wake to a sudden chill, I will be in the room. And when you find yourself alone at the lake shore, gazing at gray Cayuga, know that I was cut short and your ancestors killed me.” As he stood on the gallows platform in the center of a crowded Court House Square, Rulloff defiantly spoke his last words, “Hurry it up! I want to be in hell in time for dinner.”


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Jeff Stein

Jeff Stein is the founder and former editor of the Ithaca Voice.