Lyndonville celebrates opening of Webber Hotel on Main Street

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 15 June 2023 at 8:15 am

Collaborative Kitchen, candy store among tenants so far

Photos by Ginny Kropf: Participating in a ribbon cutting ceremony for the renovated Webber Hotel in Lyndonville include, from left: Orleans County Chamber president Dave Gagne, Lyndonville mayor John Belson, Chamber director Darlene Hartway, building owner and Lyndonville native Robert Smith and Assemblyman Steve Hawley.

LYNDONVILLE – Completion of a project several years in the making was celebrated at a ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday afternoon on Lyndonville’s Main Street.

Building owner Robert Smith of California, a Lyndonville native, cut the ribbon signifying the opening of the Webber Hotel and Webber Kitchen Collaborative. Joining him were Orleans County Chamber president Dave Gagne, Lyndonville mayor John Belson, Chamber director Darlene Hartway and Assemblyman Steve Hawley.

Smith’s idea for the historic renovation was born in August 2017 when he came home for his mother’s birthday.

“I grew up here and I love this community,” he said Wednesday afternoon.

Thus began a restoration completed with a $490,000 matching grant, which included complete gutting of interiors, new windows and doors and exterior upgrades.

People chat in front of the three buildings owned by Robert Smith. The white building houses the Webber Hotel on the second floor and the Webber Kitchen Collaborative on the ground floor. The blue building has been leased for a candy store and a third building to the right, not pictured, is available for lease.

The Webber Building’s first floor has been leased by Hartway for a Collaborative Kitchen. The kitchen is a New York State Certified Processing Kitchen and is available for rent by anyone who wants to learn to cook, practice their culinary skills or has a product they would like to make and sell, such as jams or baked goods. Hartway has even added a bread oven for bakers to use.

Eventually she plans to have a dietitian and nurse onsite to teach nutrition and cooking for diabetics.

“We would talk about the nutritional values of bone broth, and then make it,” she said.

The kitchen will also be open as a grab-n-go café, offering sandwiches from the Sourced Market in Millville, homemade soups, chips, bagels, tea, coffee, lattes and other snack foods. Hours will be 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.

Darlene Hartway stands by a table she acquired from the Lyn-D-Lounge, a restaurant owned for 18 years by Webber Hotel owner Robert Smith’s mother. Barbie Smith got the table from the former Apple Grove Inn.

The kitchen is meant to be a gathering place for the community, Hartway said.

“We want them to have a place to meet and talk,” she said.

There is room to sit and talk and space to rent for private events. Several tables were acquired from the Lyn-D-Lounge, the restaurant his mother ran for 18 years. One of the tables came from the former Apple Grove in Medina.

Throughout the building, the walls have been decorated with artwork from local artists, including Pat Greene of Medina. Many of the paintings are of local farms in the area and are available for sale.

The crowd was invited to go upstairs and tour the new hotel rooms. The first guest was welcomed to the hotel Wednesday, a Lyndonville native who came home for a visit.

This is one of the traditional rooms in the Webber Hotel, which welcomed its first guest on Wednesday, in time for the ribbon cutting.

Lyndonville Mayor John Belson was thrilled with the new hotel. In a prior interview he said it would be in big demand by people attending weddings at White Birch and by fishermen.

“It’s been 10 years since anything like this has happened in Lyndonville,” said Assemblyman Steve Hawley. “It came from the heart as you spoke,” he told Smith. “I commend anyone who comes back to New York, to their roots, invigorating the things we believe in.”

Lyndonville native Ethel Valentine said the building looked very nice.

“He put a lot of time and effort in it,” she said. “It livens up the town.”

Town of Yates supervisor Jim Simon was also excited about the new buildings.

“The Sourced Market is one of my wife’s and my favorite places to eat, so we are thrilled their food will be here,” Simon said. “This is great for the village, and what’s great for them is also great for the town.”

Robert Smith, right, owner of the Webber Building, chats with two of his new tenants, Dan Conrad, left, who plans to open a candy store, and Darlene Hartway, Orleans County Chamber director who will operate the Webber Collaborative Kitchen. The trio are standing in the kitchen prior to Wednesday’s ribbon cutting ceremony.