July 18, 2016

Simeon’s on the Commons to Reopen After Truck Crash

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Two years after a car carrier collided with the restaurant, Simeon’s on the Commons will reopen its doors this fall after completing extensive construction work.

The interior of the restaurant has been completely updated and will feature three new dining experiences, including the casual Oyster Room, a more lively Tavern Room and a balcony dining space, according to owner Dean Zervos.

The building, first erected in 1871, has served as a gathering place throughout much of Ithaca’s local history, according to Simeon’s website. The current owners hope to capitalize on the historical significance of the space in its revitalization.

Kelly Yang / Sun File Photo

A runaway tractor-trailer barreled into Simeon’s Restaurant on June 20, 2014, destroying the building’s facade. (Kelly Yang / Sun File Photo)

“We want Simeon’s to be a destination,” Zervos said. “We hope that our restaurant will become a reason for people to travel to downtown Ithaca.”

The restaurant’s grand opening has been delayed several months due to the slow pace of construction. However, Zervos and co-owner Rich Avery — who took over the restaurant in 2007 — remain optimistic about the restaurant’s successful reintroduction.

“We are just looking forward to the re-opening and serving our friends and customers,” Zervos said. “The Ithaca community has been very good to us [since we have closed], and we are excited to open our doors.”

The restaurant’s family ambiance is apparent in the return of about one third of its original staff. However, the absence of Amanda Bush, a former bartender who died in the crash that closed the restaurant, will not go unnoticed. The owners honored Bush’s memory by dedicating building’s new additions to her.

“You never really move past it; we lost a friend in the tragedy and we don’t want to move past it,” Zervos said. “That’s why we dedicated the build-out to her.”