BROCTON - Residents who live in Brocton have some sites within the village that are easily recognized. One of those sites is the St. Stephen Hotel located at 2 W. Main St.
The original building was built in the mid 1800s and served as a hotel and boarding house with 24 rooms on the second and third floors, as well as a bar and restaurant on the main level. The hotel's previous names include the American Hotel, the Payne Hotel and the Exchange Hotel.
One of the previous owners, Diane Ringer owned the hotel until selling the property in 2007. The hotel changed name and ownership for five years prior to current owners Al Seavy and Terri Selig, purchasing the hotel in April.
OBSERVER Photo by Samantha McDonnell
The St. Stephen Hotel opened under new ownership early September but recently opened the bar area. The St. Stephen is located at 2 W.Main St., Brocton.
"(Diane) reacquired it so we could buy it off her," Seavy said. "We couldn't see anything else getting torn down in Brocton so we thought we'd try to save it (and) get it back up and running."
Seavy and Selig decided to change the name of the hotel back to the St. Stephen Hotel as it had been since the 1970s.
Ringer also donated the original sign from the hotel to Seavy and Selig. It now hangs at the front of the building, restored by Jamie Ballas of That 70s Shop in Brocton.
Once Seavy and Selig bought the property, they removed all the debris from the second and third floors caused by a fire that broke out in the late 1950s. Only two people were at the hotel when the fire occurred. Damage was contained to the top floor and roof but the other floors suffered smoke and water damage. While searching through debris, Seavy found the original doors for the hotel.
"Everything we could keep we did," Seavy said. "We removed all the debris that was left there."
Other renovations that were made included restoration of the staircase, which has taken 200 hours of work so far. The bathrooms and the hallway have been redone. In the men's bathroom, Seavy kept the original urinals which "have to be the oldest in the area," he said. The Victorian urinals stand more than four feet in height.
Among other notable renovations is a new kitchen area. The floors in the bar area were replaced due to moisture in the floors and no heat in the building. The building originally had two kitchens, a main kitchen and a smaller kitchen by the bar.
"We opted to make the small kitchen our main kitchen," Seavy said.
Because of zoning and fire regulations, the small kitchen was more cost effective. It also has added much needed space.
The bar is from 1901 Pan-American Exposition held in Buffalo and is made of matchbox tiger wood maple. The original bar was cut into three pieces, with two landing in Chautauqua County. One part is at the St. Stephen's and a sister bar is located in Forestville at the Tavern on the Mall.
On display in the dining room will be artwork by local artists. One of those is Dan Mardana of Westfield, whose medium is diversified acrylic on canvas. That 70s Shop also has artwork on display.
Along with the expanded menu, The St. Stephen offers weekly specials including Friday night fish fry using Ringer's recipe and prime rib on Saturday. The hotel will also feature karaoke on Friday nights twice a month by Wild Kat Karaoke.
Seavy and Selig would like to thank the village of Brocton, John Monaco, Dave Hazelton and That 70s Shop and Phil Giambra of the Bread Box.
"Hopefully we don't let them down and run successfully for years to come," Seavy said.
The restaurant has been open since early September and recently opened the bar area. Future plans include expanded hours and turning the upstairs back into a hotel. Under Ringer's ownership, the restaurant did not have rooms to rent as a hotel, but there were apartments above the restaurant for rent.
The restaurant is open Thursday through Saturday 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. and on Sundays for football games. For more information, contact the hotel at 792-SAINT. A grand opening celebration is being planned and will be announced at a later date.
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