By CRAIG FREILICH
HANNAWA FALLS – A popular restaurant spot along State Rt. 56 is getting a complete renovation under new ownership and will be dubbed Jake’s on the River.
“There’s nothing in there right now,” said Marc Compeau who, with his wife Christine, has gutted the restaurant most recently known as The Canoe Place. “There’s no electricity, no plumbing – we’re down to the studs.”
The restaurant is on the Raquette River at 5726 State Rt. 56. Under different owners, it has been named The Shorelounge, The Shoreline, Chris Fay’s, and Green’s before that.
The Compeaus have bought the property and are planning on having it ready to open on June 1.
They will be using most of the restaurant equipment that was there plus what they purchased from the former Market Street restaurant Scoopuccino, which closed to make room for construction of a Hampton Inn.
The Compeaus have engaged Dave Kingsley of Heuvelton to build a new bar and staircase and Jonas Hirshberger, also of Heuvelton, to build furniture. The Compeaus will be completely reconfiguring the ground floor, opening it up with new riverview windows, and renovating an upstairs room to accommodate parties of about 30. The will be a new main entrance and parking on the side of the building.
They will also install a new dock from Decks, Docks and Beyond of Potsdam that will accommodate four large or eight small boats.
“We’d been talking to Ron and Nancy (Robert, previous owners) for ages,” Marc Compeau said. “We’ve always loved the property. About a year ago, we were at a point in our lives where we said either we’re going to do it or we would regret it.”
The biggest challenge, said the Clarkson University business professor, was financing.
“I think a bank would rather hear you say ‘This is a stickup’ than that you want to open a restaurant.”
He said NBT Bank had been “very helpful,” as were the Adirondack Economic Development Corporation and Ron and Nancy Robert.
Musician, impresario, businessman, accomplished chef and food critic Wally Siebel is designing the menu for Jake’s. It is in its early stages, but plans are to offer “upscale casual” food, locally sourced as much as possible, especially in the summertime. Some of the ideas so far are “all-American burgers” such as Jake’s Favorite, an 8-oz. char-grilled burger with applewood-smoked bacon, caramelized onions, and melted Swiss; flatbread pizza; comfort food such as adult macaroni and cheese, Adirondack meatloaf, and lasagna; lots of homemade soups and chili in the winter and a variety of salads in the summer; dinner selections such as Mediterranean shrimp, Asian-inspired pork tenderloin, chicken Dijon, and osso buco; and desserts such as homemade ice cream, chocolate cheesecake, and tabletop s’mores.
They expect to employ up to 10 people, three to four full-time and the rest part-time.
“We’ll be going at it hard and heavy this summer so we’ll be all staffed and ready to go in the fall,” Compeau said.
The restaurant’s namesake is Jake, “a wonderful yellow Lab who was part of the lives of all three of our children,” Compeau said.