David McSweeney had 22 employees in 2011 and a waiting list for dinner at the Parrott House and Timothy Murphy Pub.
A grand opening in August 2011 was followed by a grand closing — courtesy of Tropical Storm Irene.
Having come back from a natural disaster, McSweeney expects he’ll overcome the manmade disaster that shut his restaurant down for 11 days.
His employees looked for other jobs when the county shut down the restaurant over code issues, adding to the struggle McSweeney has faced drawing customers to a village that is itself struggling to come back from the flood.
The fact that the closure order came from the county Health Department likely scared away customers, he said.
The place was closed after he neglected to apply for a permit renewal, and officials at the Health Department said it was building code issues — not food or sanitary issues — that held up re-opening.
“Now who wants to eat at the Parrott House? It’s bad publicity. Even for the village,” said McSweeney, who is hoping this past weekend will be the last time he has to cancel live music due to uncertainty. He reopened on Thursday.
He’s still at odds with village officials and believes some of the issues identified as in need of correcting — like keeping all rooms at a temperature of 68 degrees — are code provisions applicable to brand new construction, not an existing building.
McSweeney said he has to get a beam on the front porch checked out to ensure its stability and have a sprinkler system in the building inspected as well. He’s unsure about the need for a sprinkler system — he believes that’s a requirement for new buildings.
The massive hotel and tavern building sits right next to the county’s historic courthouse in the center of Schoharie’s Main Street.
As one of the few buildings open in the immediate aftermath of the 2011 disaster, the Parrott House hosted local meetings and has served as one of epicenters of flood relief, bringing hundreds of people to the rural village during a flood benefit that raised $29,000 for flood victims.
A more-recent benefit raised $1,500 to help the Animal Shelter of Schoharie Valley care for 100 cats seized in a recent raid.
At the present, McSweeney said the menu is limited: there’s Reuben sandwiches, fish and chips and steak available.
With a temporary certificate of occupancy in hand, McSweeney said he’s looking forward to March.
“We’re stocking up on corned beef,” the Irish-born, retired building contractor said.