Courtesy of Stella's Facebook page

ITHACA, N.Y. — A local property owner says he’s hopeful that Stella’s Bar and Restaurant will reopen in Collegetown soon after it abruptly closed in July.

[do_widget id= text-55 ]

George Avramis, who owns the property that housed Stella’s at 403 College Ave., says that he’s optimistic Stella’s will reopen — perhaps under new management — in the same location.

“I think that Collegetown could support it; it did well for over two decades, and I’d like to see it here for another two or three decades,” Avramis says.

Avramis says that the building already has student housing on the upper floors and that there are no plans to convert the property of Stella’s into more student housing. Whether as Stella’s or something else, the storefront will remain some form of retail, according to Avramis.

It’s still unclear why the owners decided to close the popular bar and restaurant, Avramis said.

“I’m not sure what happened,” Avramis says. “I’ve owned the building for six years, and three years ago management changed hands, but that’s all I really know.”

Phyllisa DeSarno, the city’s deputy director for economic development, says she is talking with Avramis and Matt Garner, the active owner of Stella’s, about how to move the property forward.

See related: City Hall surprised, confused by sudden closure of Stella’s

Garner runs a farm in Ovid and is in town about once every 8 weeks, DeSarno said. “We have to figure out how to move this ahead,” she said. “He’s committed to the area.”

DeSarno herself recently went to the property and is optimistic the restaurant could be quickly restored. “I toured the building, and it looks like it could probably be reopen within a week … I don’t see anything major that would have to go on,” DeSarno said.

Courtesy of Stella’s Facebook page
Courtesy of Stella’s Facebook page

She said she was also encouraged by what Avramis had to say.

“It sounds like George (Avramis) is on the same track as I’m on and that the city’s on: We would like to see the business open as soon as possible; We have students coming in now in the next week or two, really heavily, and it would be wonderful to see that business open and viable for students to be using,” she said.

“I’m going to stay very active in this and try my best to get someone in there and get the business operating again, either as Stella’s or as a new business.”

[do_widget id= text-61 ]

Jeff Stein

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