HOLLEY – A major transformation of a historic downtown building will celebrate a grand opening on Monday with the new Holley Falls Bar & Grill.
Dan and Monica Seeler have been working on the project the past five years. They have given the former Tagg’s Tavern a major overhaul.
“No one can believe it’s the same place,” Mr. Seeler said Saturday during a tour.
He owns Seeler Contracting and has been working on building projects for 45 years, since he was 16.
He and his wife are grateful to have the project complete, and they look forward to the new business drawing people to Holley, to see the waterfalls just down the street from Frisbee Terrace in the Public Square.
Dan and Monica Seeler wanted to create a destination restaurant for Holley.
“It’s been a team effort,” Mr. Seeler said on Saturday during a soft opening for the restaurant, which was open to some of his friends, suppliers and contractors who worked on the project, which includes five upstairs apartments.
Mr. Seeler said it has been a long journey, but he enjoyed the steady progress and giving a new purpose to the site.
“It’s been fun every little step, but I’m relieved because we’re done,” he said.
The Seelers’ sons, Jesse and Sean, also were critical in the construction and will be with the operation of the restaurant and bar.
The Seelers like how the building looks out on the Public Square, offering a great view of a quaint small town with its historic downtown, large American flag in the Public Square and a landmark former church building.
There are 135 seats, with 85 in the dining room and 50 in the bar.
The building used to have a wooden exterior when it was Tagg’s Tavern. The wood was removed to reveal cast iron columns in front. The Seelers needed to rebuild walls, paint them and make numerous other improvements for one of the most prominent buildings in Holley. They also added an awning.
Mr. Seeler led the construction efforts and his wife shaped the look of the restaurant and bar.
“Dan had the vision,” Mrs. Seeler said. “He does this for a living.”
The couple visited many restaurants in the region, and noted many popular establishments are in small towns, including the Red Osier in Stafford and Farmer’s Creekside Tavern & Inn in Le Roy.
The Seelers want to serve the Holley community, but they expect the new restaurant will draw well beyond the local community.
Mrs. Seeler wanted to create an upscale dining experience where everyone would feel welcome. She also wanted to celebrate the beauty of the Holley Waterfalls.
Retired Holley art teacher Tony Barry created a painting of the Holley Waterfalls that hangs prominently in the dining room.
Giant photographs by Kim Miller of the waterfalls, walking trails and canal system in Holley are mounted on the walls.
The community has watched the improvements at the building the past five years, and residents have been eager for the business to open.
“It’s all of the little details,” Mrs. Seeler said. “It’s all the details and they take time.”
The Seelers have hired 32 people and then will add to the staff. They said the staff is hard-working and committed to making the new business a success. The Seelers have sensed the pride of the employees in getting the new business ready.
Beth Miller, 29, of Holley is the head chef. She holds a Crème Brulee dessert. The Holley graduate developed the menu at Holley Falls. She makes the meals and desserts from scratch.
She earned a culinary degree at Paul Smith’s College and worked five years as a pastry chef at an upscale lodge in Lake Placid. Most recently she was the head chef for a brewing company in the Town of Greece.
“This is an amazing opportunity,” she said about working for the Seelers. “You don’t get an opportunity like this everyday to open a restaurant from the very beginning.”
Nickie Poler is the front of the house manager. The restaurant has tablets where waiters and waitresses enter orders at the customers’ tables, and those orders are sent directly to the kitchen and bar, before the waiters and waitresses have left the table.
Poler said it will speed up service and decrease mistakes in ordering.
Holley Falls will be open for dinners from 4 to 9 p.m., with the bar menu available from 9 p.m. to midnight.
After a couple months, the Seelers said the Holley Falls will likely open for lunches from Thursdays through Sundays.
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