TRUMANSBURG, N.Y. -- For years the Rongovian Embassy has been the living room of Trumansburg. Its name alone has drawn many locals and visitors to the village since it first opened in 1973. Current manager Robert Thomas is one of many who grew up spending time at the Rongo in those early days.
"The place would be packed night after night and so they would only have live music on maybe Tuesday's and Wednesday's not on Friday and Saturday because the bar was packed with people anyways," Thomas said.
That was when the Rongo was just a bar and the drinking age 18. Once it was raised to 21 a neighboring building was purchased and it expanded making way for a restaurant most known for its Mexican food.
Thomas says operating as a bar and restaurant worked for then owners Mary and Eric Ott. They sold the Rongo in 2002. Since then it has struggled to stay afloat. Thomas and a management team of other community members came together in 2014 with the hope of helping its legacy continue.
"Business was great for the first six months or so, but it didn't have the staying power to attract sufficient clientele day in and day out," Thomas said.
With the last live music performance taking place this Sunday, the hope is that the Rongo will not be closing their doors permanently. After all this will be the 7th closure in its 43 year history.
"We want it here everyone wants it here," said Daniel Scherer, Rongovian Embassy landlord and part owner. "I want it here, believe me, as the building owner more than anyone else I think. I want a viable profitable thriving business here."
One popular but expensive idea is being discussed.
"If this became a brewery, a brewpub you start to bring in more people because of that," said Scherer. "Its a very attractive type of establishment for this region because there's other businesses doing similar things. I think that would get more traffic in the door and it would be another source of revenue."
All to ensure that if and when the Rongo does reopen it will meet operating costs to keep it afloat and continue to serve as the village's living room.