Share This Page

Harmony to welcome back one of its historic eateries

| Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014, 4:57 p.m.
Scott Calvert, 33, of Harmony works on renovations of the Harmony Inn in Harmony. Calvert said he’ll be the bartender in the restaurant, which is expected to open within the next few weeks.
The new owners of the Harmony Inn have kept many of the old touches, including this painting of a woman’s face on the floor.
Scott Calvert, 33, of Harmony works on renovations at the Harmony Inn. Calvert said he’ll be the bartender in the restaurant, which is expected to open within the next few weeks.

Cardboard, along with a thick coating of dust, covers some of the refurbished floors at the Harmony Inn as construction crews work steadily on revamping the historic inn so it can open in a few weeks.

“It's gonna be pretty great. I'm very excited,” said Scott Calvert, 33, of Harmony, who will be the bartender at the inn, as he put new tiles on the ceiling of a second-floor room last week.

Government officials said the loss of the Harmony Inn, which closed several months ago when the owners sold it, and the Kaufman House in Zelienople, which closed after an October 2011 fire, has hurt their towns.

“During the Christmas season, (people) were still shopping here, and still going to the museum for tours, and they'd ask, ‘Is there a place where we can have lunch?' and the answer would be, ‘Uh, no, you have to go to Zelienople,'” Harmony Mayor Cathy Rape said.

Zelienople has places to eat — ShuBrew Handcrafted Ales & Food opened four months ago on South Main Street — but Don Pepe, the borough's manager, is looking forward to when the Kaufman House is vibrant again.

“The Kaufman House is not only iconic, but it's an anchor to downtown. It's an anchor that's been missing for more than two years. It has a serious repercussion,” Pepe said.

The Butler County Tourism Foundation wants to buy the Kaufman House and turn it into a boutique hotel, restaurant and training facility for Community College of Butler County students.

The foundation is seeking grants to help pay for the $2.5 million project.

An agreement with owner Ken Pilarski to buy the property is pending.

Pepe said the Kaufman House's transformation could tie into the ongoing Main Street revitalization project.

“I think this is a good, sound project, and if it works, it's going to be fabulous for the town,” he said.

Rape said the Kaufman House project could boost interest in turning the old Sapeinza's Market building back into a hotel that could be a historic draw in the museum district.

“It would be great if someone took that over,” Rape said.

Bob and Jodi McCafferty, owners of the North Brewing Co. in Slippery Rock, bought the Harmony Inn several months ago. It reopened briefly, for a New Year's Eve celebration that was packed with people, Calvert said.

These days, crews are busy, putting dining areas upstairs while being sure to retain the historic flavor of the old inn, even leaving the painting of a woman's face on the floor by the bar. Crews have pulled down plaster to reveal brick walls. Furniture is stacked in some rooms, awaiting final painting and renovations.

“The community support has been overwhelming,” Calvert said.

Bill Vidonic is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5621 or bvidonic@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.