Cameron Pollack / Sun File Photo

After 40 years of business, the Nines will close its doors on Sunday, Oct. 7.

October 3, 2018

Farewell to The Nines: Collegetown Restaurant Likely to Close on Sunday

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Pizza enthusiasts, trivia night frequenters, open mic night artists and Latin dance lovers will soon have to say goodbye to longtime Collegetown staple: The Nines, a popular bar and pizza joint which formerly housed Ithaca Fire Station #9, will bow out of nearly 40 years of business on Sunday, Oct. 7.

Though the intended closing day is Sunday, server Ryan Rutledge said that the restaurant’s final day will be determined by when they exhaust supplies.

“It’s until we run out of stuff,” Rutledge said. “We could be open Monday, but we might not be. It’s just kind of day-to-day at that point. But at this point, Sunday will probably be our last day.”

Located at 311 College Ave., the restaurant was the subject of a contentious Ithaca Common Council debacle on whether to declare The Nines building a local landmark this past year. The proposal was struck down in June when Mayor Svante Myrick ’09 broke a 5-5 split in the council with a vote of no, The Sun previously reported.

Myrick praised the owners Mark Kielmann ’72 and Harold Schultz — who have now owned the restaurant for nearly 40 years — for developing a community that is “still one of the three reasons [he goes] to Collegetown” after his undergraduate years.

Kielmann and Schultz — who celebrated the council’s decision — were given the freedom to sell the property to developers if they wished without having to receive approval from the Ithaca Landmarks Preservation Commission for making any changes to the building’s exterior.

Though the fate of the property remains unclear, Lenya Checkovich ’20, who has worked as a line cook at The Nines for over a year, expressed that she hopes the property does not become a Collegetown apartment complex.

“I guess that’s my main hope for it,” she said.

Throughout her time as an employee, Checkovich has interacted with employees who have worked at The Nines since it was established in 1980, and she explained that hearing their experiences working though “all of the cycles [The Nines] has been through” has been “pretty crazy.”

“It’s bittersweet, but ultimately the owners … this is what they’ve been wanting for a while now, so it’s good for them,” Checkovich said.

As Collegetown residents prepare to bid farewell to the restaurant, some acknowledge the closure as a goodbye to a hangout spot.

“It’s sad, because we live right down the street and it’s a good [place] to eat,” said Shelby Wray ’21.

The Nines’s final event will be a music show called “Hail and Farewell Nines” on Oct. 6, according to a Facebook post on the restaurant’s page that encourages Ithacans to “come out and celebrate all the good times.” The event will feature musical guests Pete Panek and the Blue Cats.

Sarah Skinner ’21 contributed reporting to this article.