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Chef wants to serve food in Dunn Building

June 24, 2005|By CANDICE BOSLEY

MARTINSBURG, W.VA.

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

A local restaurant owner proposed a plan Thursday to serve breakfast and lunch in existing restaurant space in the county-owned Dunn Building.

Bruce Monforte, head chef at the Market House Grill in downtown Martinsburg, pitched his idea to the Berkeley County Commission.

Monforte said he wants to serve food at a former restaurant/bar on the second floor of the Dunn Building. The site was used as a restaurant when the building was part of an outlet shopping center.

The space has sat empty for years, but still has tables and chairs in place and drinking glasses hanging above a bar.

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The commissioners listened to Monforte's proposal, but said other restaurateurs also should be allowed to submit ideas before the space is offered for lease.

Commissioner Ron Collins said any proposals should be for full restaurant service, rather than from people wanting to operate hot dog stands.

Commissioner Steve Teufel said he is concerned about leasing the space, which has been offered to various groups as a free meeting site.

"I don't want to give that away 100 percent," he said.

Monforte said he believes he could work around the meetings, and added that he does not immediately want to serve dinner but might someday look into opening on Friday nights.

Commissioner Howard Strauss asked the county's attorney, Norwood Bentley, to further look into the matter, particularly in regard to accepting proposals.

Bentley said he would provide his advice at next week's meeting.

If the restaurant space is leased, it would not be the first time the Berkeley County Commission has acted as a landlord.

The County Commission now leases the first floor of the Dunn Building to The Community and Technical College of Shepherd.

The upper floors of the Dunn Building are home to several county offices, including the Planning Commission, County Commission, Tax Office, Assessor's Department, Ambulance Authority, Fire Board, Building Inspection/Engineering and the Health Department's environmental department.

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