Binghamton is getting a big boost to its culinary scene in the coming months. Four eateries are set to open soon, with two of those located in former bars that were shut down due to recent lawsuits.
The new businesses range from a beer garden owned by the former mayor to a chop house located in a historic train station, to Tex-Mex fusion run by a longtime restaurant owner, and a sports bar.
"I think we went from somewhat subtle times the last couple of years in downtown Binghamton to basically explosion in the near future here," said Mark Yonaty, owner of Station 45 Chop House.
"There's a lot of building and a lot of ideas. It's like a cauldron of cool things happening down here," said Dan Polhamus, owner of Iron Agave.
It comes as the city’s downtown had gone through a bit of a down period in recent years. Two bars shut down over pending lawsuits, while some never recovered from the COVID-19-related shutdowns.
For former Mayor Rich David, owner of Stadium 138, now is the time for a resurgence.
“Now that I'm no longer mayor of the city of Binghamton, I really wanted to again focus on developing parts of the city of Binghamton. That's something I did as mayor to help build the momentum and energy that exists today. And as a private citizen, I want to do the same," said David.
He’s developing the sports bar and beer garden with outdoor eating and a number of decks.
Just around the corner, at the site of the former Dos Rios Cantina, Polhamus is opening Iron Agave.
"We've really been interested in having a presence downtown for years and years and years as there's a lot of neat things going on, a resurgence, the culinary scene, a lot of operators that you see eye to eye with have places down here and just contributing to the vibrant downtown vibe. It's something we're really excited for," said Polhamus.
Across the tracks, Yonaty is set to open Station 45 at the historic Lackawanna Train Station. It’s a project that has a deep meaning to him.
"All four of my uncles left here and a lot of local people, families left from here to go to war right from this very train station. So, keeping some history here, I think people will be excited to see how we've incorporated the history with a little bit of a modern-day restaurant, and I think it's great for everybody," said Yonaty.
Yonaty is also opening Courtside Bar and Grill at the site of the former Colonial.
For each owner, it’s an exciting time for Binghamton’s economy and culture.
"It's just something we're very proud of. It fits in line with what we've always wanted to do," said Polhamus.
"It really brings a lot of people together, offering several different types of options," said Yonaty.
While some dates are still unclear, most of the restaurants are set to open by the end of the year.