Former Waynesboro restaurant getting makeover

November 20, 2008|By DON AINES

WAYNESBORO, Pa. -- The former John Wallace Kitchen will be getting an extreme makeover and, its new owners hope, a new restaurant tenant to help revitalize the West Main Street fixture and the downtown.

The restaurant that Nick Papoutsis opened in the 1960s closed a few years ago. It recently was purchased by Paul Gunder and Dr. Bob Zimmerman, who will be renovating the former restaurant from the floor to the ceiling, as well as nine one- and two-bedroom apartments on the upper floors.

"We'd like to see a good quality Mediterranean or Italian-style restaurant in there," said Gunder, a real estate agent who purchased the building with Zimmerman for $475,000.

"And we're making a very substantial investment above that" in the renovations, Gunder said. Bringing a good restaurant back to 81 W. Main St. could have a beneficial effect along the entire street, he said.


"The thing about restaurants is, the more you have, the better they do," Gunder said. "Dining becomes a destination."

After the John Wallace Kitchen closed, the building was purchased by a man who intended to open a Moroccan restaurant, a plan that never came to fruition, Gunder said. One change that the previous owner did make was the orange and burgundy exterior, something that will be removed along with the 1960s first-floor facade, he said.

In its place will be a facade more architecturally in keeping with the rest of the building, which is more than a century old, and other storefronts downtown, Gunder said. The building also will be painted a more muted hue of mushroom, he said.

Gunder said outdoor dining in an attractively fenced-off portion of the site will be another attraction for the dining public. Changing the ambiance of the property could stimulate others to get creative with their own properties, he said.

Any business or individual interested in leasing the property also could access financial assistance through a state economic development program, Gunder said. Waynesboro's Mainstreet program received $500,000 for downtown revitalization and $75,000 remains, he said.

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