J.G.'s Tarentum Station Grille won't move from site, owner pledges
According to its owner, J.G.'s Tarentum Station Grille isn't going anywhere.
John Greco said his restaurant, which is housed in Tarentum's historic train station, will be in the building for the next 20 years regardless of who buys it.
“We signed a 20-year lease with the borough in January,” Greco said. “We're now paying $1,000 per month in rent, too.”
The borough recently announced its plans to subdivide the block the station sits on in order to separate it from the two adjacent parking lots and put the building up for auction.
“I plan on buying the building from the borough,” Greco said. “I want everyone to know, if anyone decides to go up against me at the auction (and wins) they'll be stuck with me for 20 years anyway. We're going to be there for a long, long time.”
The borough announced plans last fall to put the building up for auction. Council said they're likely to start the bidding for Tarentum's most famous landmark at $150,000.
Borough Manager Bill Rossey confirmed that Greco's 20-year lease will come with the building.
“They'll have to honor the lease. It goes with the building,” he said.
There will also be a clause in any sales agreement that mandates the building be used only as something that will accommodate the public, Rossey said.
“We don't want it to be a warehouse or something,” he said. “We want it to be something in the middle of town that people can enjoy.”
Tarentum will keep the parking lots to the left and right of the building, Rossey said.
Once surveyors are done subdividing the block, it will be sent to Allegheny County for approval. Then, the borough will move forward with auction planning.
Part of the reason Tarentum wanted to sell the building is what council members perceived as Greco's insufficient rent, which was $500 per month.
“The reason it was $500 for all those years was because the borough was trying to allow me to recoup the money I put into the building,” Greco said. “I put so much money into the building, they wanted to help.”
The restaurant's lease guarantees it'll be open for so long that a new generation will be in charge by the time it's up, Greco said.
“My son will be running it by then,” Greco joked. “I'm 59 now, so by then I'll be on a golf course in Florida.”
R.A. Monti is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.