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Simeon’s restaurant to formally reopen in Ithaca on Thursday morning

By Maria Carbonaro


The newly built front entrance to Simeon’s on the Commons in Ithaca. Photo credit:

ITHACA, N.Y. — The Downtown Ithaca Alliance (DIA) and City of Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick are hosting a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday, Sept. 29, to celebrate the grand reopening of Simeon’s on the Commons.

The event is slated to start at about 10:45 a.m. outside of the restaurant at 224 E. State St., on the east end of the Ithaca Commons, according to a DIA news release.

During the celebration Mayor Myrick, DIA Executive Director Gary Ferguson, and other community leaders will present special messages to Simeon’s co-owners Dean Zervos and Rich Avery and their staff.

Simeon’s reopened to the public for dinner on Aug. 26, a little over two years after a tragic accident, according to the eatery’s website.

The grand reopening event marks the completion of Simeon’s extensive renovation project. The restaurant’s restorations were necessary after its façade was reduced to rubble when a runaway tractor trailer hauling vehicles slammed into the restaurant on June 20, 2014.

Simeon’s bartender, Amanda Bush, who was pregnant and working that day, was killed during the accident. The restaurant is honoring her memory with a plaque on the wall between the main entrance and the newly designed bar, according to the release.

Much of the restaurant’s newly built exterior mirrors the building’s previous architectural design except the wine-red awning and cast iron trim were changed to a dark brown shade; diners still have a view of the Commons through a series of large windows on the first story and the bay window on the second level.

“We couldn’t recreate everything that existed in the former Simeon’s, but we introduced some of the old elements to the new design elements which gives Simeon’s a more modern look and style,” Avery said in the release. “Each dining area offers a different ambience.” 

Simeon’s co-owners Rich Avery, left, and Dean Zervos, right, stand in the newly created Oyster Room, an extension to their recently remodeled restaurant. Photo credit: Downtown Ithaca Alliance.

A key addition to the renovated space is the new oyster bar located in a separate area — called Simeon’s Oyster Room — near the back of the restaurant.

Next to the Oyster Room is the main dining area that features a redesigned bar offering a variety of craft beers and a selection of spirits.

The bar room also has a dining portion, a slightly raised section.

The second story dining location, also new, offers room for about 40 people.

With the addition of the upstairs dining space, Simeon’s now has indoor seating for about 110 diners. Outdoor dining is also available.

“For the last quarter century, Simeon’s has been a downtown anchor and icon. We are beyond thrilled that this landmark property was saved and rehabilitated and that the owners decided to keep this successful bistro in this historic location,” Ferguson said.

Ithaca’s Jason Demarest was the architect, while Fahs Construction Group from Binghamton was the general contractor for the reconstruction project. McPherson Builders Inc., of Ithaca, served as the general contractor for the reconstruction of the apartments located above the restaurant, according to the release.

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