ITHACA, NY – The long-awaited re-opening of Simeon’s is so close, you can almost taste it.

There’s just one last little thing keeping the restaurant from opening its doors: an elevator inspection. Unfortunately, getting that inspection done is out of the hands both of Simeon’s owners and the CSP Management, the property owners.

The inspection has to be done by an independent inspector, and the company that installed the elevator is setting up the inspection. Unfortunately, there is no indication as to how soon that will happen for when that will happen, according to CSP Management’s Jerry Dietz. Dietz says he’s been in communication with the elevator company daily trying to expedite the process.

Ever since the disastrous truck crash over two years ago that killed one, injured several more and shut the restaurant down, Ithacans have been awaiting the re-opening of the bistro restaurant.

Simeon’s has been hiring in recent weeks in preparation for re-opening the restaurant. They had originally aimed for a tentative Aug. 1 reopening date.

Simeon’s co-owner Rich Avery says that once that final hurdle is cleared, Simeon’s is fully rebuilt, staffed up and ready to go.

Avery says that he’s excited for patrons to see the new build-out of the space.  The elevator that was added to the building required some reorganization of the layout, moving Simeon’s offices, bathrooms and prep station downstairs. It also created new opportunities to a more interesting dining space.

“We revamped the whole back room to be a really fun casual space that we have up to 24 seats in that room, and that’s been completely renovated,” Avery said. “And also to gain back space from the elevator, we have a second level, we have a balcony cutout around the bar that connects the two spaces. So instead of feeling like you’re just being shuffled out to another room, we decided to cut a balcony and connect the spaces and make it a lot more exciting.”

Simeon’s also has an expanded kitchen and opened it up so it can be viewed from the new oyster room. Oysters, which used to be behind the bar, are now shucked in front of customers. The area also includes cheese and charcuterie plates to go along with the oysters.

Avery is also excited for the new menu which will be evolving seasonally. Two new chefs have been hired on, as well.

“We’re really getting back to the essence of doing as many things as we can ourselves — pickling, curing, preserving — doing that all in-house and focused on local products. Really getting back to the art of cooking,” Avery said.

Avery said that they had hoped to do a soft-opening of the restaurant on Tuesday, but the elevator issue has forced them to delay. He says that as soon as that final step is completed, Simeon’s will be ready to go the next day.

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(Featured photo courtesy of Simeon’s Facebook page)

Michael Smith

Michael Smith reports on politics and local news for the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached via email at msmith@ithacavoice.com, by cell at (607) 229-0885, or via Google Voice at (518) 650-3639.