By CRAIG FREILICH
POTSDAM – The Clarkson Inn is considering adding on a small new restaurant and bar to the downtown hotel.
“We’re just thinking out loud” at this point, said inn manager George Lavigne. “We’re having conversations about it.
“It would be a popular move,” he said. “Guests have been asking for it,” especially when they might not want to go out to one of the “many nice restaurants” in the area because of cold weather, he said.
If they do add such facilities, the operation would be small, mainly for guests, Lavigne said. The community at large would of course be welcome, he said, but the idea would be to accommodate guests staying at the inn, which is in the heart of downtown on Main Street at Ives Park and on the Raquette River.
Kelly Chezum, Clarkson University’s vice president for external relations, said that this is “the time of year when we talk about these things,” since they are building their budget for next year and ideas are flying.
While few ideas are jettisoned outright, she said, “we need to be looking proactively at what we can do to improve” what the university offers. She could not offer insight into whether or not the inn expansion plan is likely to be approved.
The dining room has recently been revamped, and the inn has been advertising for a restaurant manager and an executive chef.
Lavigne said the talk of adding to the inn has nothing to do with competing with the new Hampton Inn being built on Market Street.
“It’s a different animal entirely,” said Lavigne, who has decades of experience in hotel and restaurant management.
“It’s a good thing for the community,” he said, noting that “we have such a high occupancy rate at the inn -- we have a waiting list,” and that at the busiest times of year in the village – graduation time, alumni weekends, sports tournaments hosted locally – that the Hampton Inn site is “a good place for another property” in town that can take guests in.