Bennington Station closes
The restaurant, located in the historic stone building at 150 Depot St. that once served as Bennington's passenger rail station, was opened by Jim Secor and chef Robert Andrew in August 2008. Signs announcing the closing went up on the restaurant's front door and Facebook page over the weekend.
The restaurant closed last week for spring cleaning as it has every year for eight years.
"We took a step back," Secor said on Monday. "We asked, 'Do we want to keep going, or start putting things to rest?' Looking down the road, my wife and I will be retiring soon... We decided now is the time to do it."
Secor thanked the community for what he called "a wonderful run."
"Hopefully we gave back to the community over the years," Secor said.
"The people who came in week after week, they made it all worth it," Andrew said. "We were so fortunate, and I'm really going to miss those folks."
For Secor, who runs the Secor Group, it was a chance to preserve a historic building.
"That's what drew me to it," he said.
Andrew said he "was blessed, maybe even to the point of spoiled" with the great foodstuffs he got to work with, including local produce.
"I loved the cooking," he said. I've been so fortunate to be able to do something I love so much for a living."
The restaurant is set up to accommodate 90 to 100 in the dining room, plus 25 to 30 in the bar.
Andrew said that, Fridays and Saturdays, the restaurant was full, but not Wednesdays and Thursdays. "A building this size has to have that day trade daily."
Andrew spoke about changes in the restaurant world over the past couple of decades, including the decline of "dinner houses." Today's diner knows much more about food, he said.
"People have been introduced to a different way of dining," Andrew said. "Gourmet pastas and burgers — that was our schtick."
Andrew said that, "It's not a 9-to-5, 40-hour a week kind of job, far from it. It's seven days a week, and 12-plus hours a day."
Secor said the building is zoned for any business and said the space could accommodate anyone who wanted to come in. "I can see it as an art gallery, a business, another restaurant," he said.
"My goal now is to make sure that whoever comes in and buys it gets a spotlessly clean restaurant to inherit," Andrew said. "I always kept a spotless kitchen."
Anyone with a gift card should contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Gift cards must be redeemed by the end of March.
The 5,613 squarefoot space is listed with Hospitality Consultants, LLC at $520,000.
The Richardsonian Romanesque-style building was constructed in 1897 and served as the town's passenger rail station until 1933. The rock-faced blue marble structure was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988.
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