Leechburg’s former Addison House to reopen with new name, new owners
Leechburg’s Addison House Restaurant and Lounge may soon welcome customers again — with a new name and without alcohol.
The popular First Street eatery shut its doors in 2012 in the midst of financial difficulties after the tragic death of co-owner Laura Stettmier in an October 2011 plane crash in West Virginia.
Co-owner Josh Spiering continued operations after Stettmier’s death, but ultimately closed the business.
The liquor license was sold by the IRS years ago, said current owners John and Devra Gromley of Upper Burrell.
The couple bought Addison House in March 2015 for $106,000, fulfilling their dream of owning a restaurant.
“For the past 25 years, I’ve had the dream of owning a coffee shop,” Devra Gromley, 55, said. “When I retire, this will be my future — opening and operating this business.”
The Gromleys both work full time.
They said they are squeezing in minor remodeling and redecorating the building when they can.
The couple plan to rename the business 1st Street Cafe, are redecorating the interior and plan to open the first floor of the three-story historic home this year. They hope to open later this year, but a definite timeline has not been set.
Plans for the second floor include a space for private parties.
The underutilized third floor contains an antique piano and boasts the original tin ceiling.
“The third floor is used as a storage area, but we would like to utilize the third floor at some point,” Devra Gromley said. “My favorite place of the building is the third floor. It was a big selling point for me.”
“We are completing changing the look inside and intend for this to be a family restaurant,” Devra Gromley said. “We had no desire to have a lounge,” she said referring to the lack of a liquor license.
Leechburg Mayor Wayne Dobos welcomes the reopening and sprucing up of the once busy eatery.
“The Addison House was once a go-to place for a fine meal,” Dobos said. “It’s stately charm inside and out was appealing and historic. Now, it has become a neglected building that is falling apart. It hurts me everyday when I go to the borough office, which is right beside it, and see what this beautiful building is becoming.”
The Gromleys said they plan to remove the overgrown landscaping and offer outdoor seating.
“We want to offer a friendly, casual place to get a meal, hang out, have some coffee or grab some dessert to go,” Devra Gromley said. “My specialty is homemade cheesecake.”
The Addison House — named after Addison Leech, son of Leechburg founder David Leech — was built during the mid-1800s on land that dates back to a 1783 Pennsylvania Land Grant.
Historical information provided by the Leechburg Area Museum and Historical Society confirms Addison and Mary Leech resided in the home until selling it to Amanda McKallip in 1868.
The original property included three buildings and was bought by West Leechburg Steel — and known as the Kirpatrick Club.
In 1934, Joseph Freilino bought the property, opening the Old Mansion restaurant, a mainstay in the borough for decades.
“We have a lot of work to do in cleaning up and changing the look and repairing all the damage,” Devra Gromley said. “We look forward to serving the people of the A-K Valley.”
Joyce Hanz is a freelance writer.
Joyce Hanz is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.