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Hoover House owners work to turn building into restaurant

March 09, 2005|by RICHARD F. BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Workers were cutting, hammering, scraping and wiring in the first floor, high-ceilinged rooms of the Hoover House Tuesday, getting the 95-year-old building ready to take on a new life as an upscale Waynesboro restaurant.

Work on the 7,400-square-foot brick home at 227 W. Main St. is being done concurrently with efforts by its owners, John and Barbara Persun, to secure a state liquor license for their new venture.

Barbara Persun, 41, said the couple has met all requirements for the Pennsylvania Liquor Board to transfer a liquor license from a defunct business in Chambersburg to their business.

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Persun said no one protested the license during the 30-day public comment period.

While the couple is optimistic about getting the license, Persun reiterated Monday what she told the Waynesboro Borough Council last fall - that if they fail to get a license, they will make the Hoover House their private dwelling and live on all three floors instead of the top two.

Progress toward turning the former private home, former restaurant and former assisted living facility into a fine dining restaurant was moving forward Tuesday, she said. The couple has no firm opening date. "Just say sometime later this year," she said.

The exterior would remain the same except for some painting, she said. The major changes will be inside.

There will be three dining rooms with a total seating capacity of 50.

Two main dining rooms will flank the foyer. The third, a little less formal, will occupy a room behind the bar in the building's northeast corner.

The 12-seat, full-service bar will be built into an east-facing room framed by a large bay window.

Floors will be original hard wood.

A large commercial kitchen, service and clean-up areas take up the rear.

An outside dining area on the large front porch may be added later.

"The decor will date back to the 1920s and 1930s, the post Victorian era, in keeping with the age of the house," Persun said.

About 15 employees will work in the restaurant.

John Persun is a partner in a Chambersburg accounting firm.

The couple believes Waynesboro is ready for such a restaurant because of growth in the area. "People say they need one here," she said.

The Hoover House was built as a private residence in 1912 by Ira and Ella Hoover. Their daughter inherited the house and lived there until she died in 1954. Joseph and Carolyn Ausherman bought it next, lived there for about 30 years, then sold it in the early 1980s to Richard and Joann Eigenbrode, who turned it into a full-service restaurant.

The 15-room house was last used as an assisted-living home for elderly residents until its then owner, Patricia Clark, sold it in 2003 to Burke Realty, which put in on the market for $230,000.

The Persuns bought it in early 2004.

Barbara Persun said she and her husband expect to spend more than $650,000 restoring the upstairs living quarters and converting the first floor into the restaurant.

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