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Jerlando's, a little more Italy in Watkins

WATKINS GLEN—By stepping through the door at Jerlando’s Ristorante, the patron is transported to a piazza (town square) in Italy.
That is what the renovation work has made Jerlando’s in Watkins Glen resemble.  Owner Bill Tague said the restaurant just re-opened Tuesday, May 4, after all the work was complete.  The inside of the expanded restaurant is now heavily decorated in Italian design.
The work done included concrete stamping the floor so it resembles brick.  A mural on the north wall recreates the Italian countryside.  The south wall now looks like the fronts of Italian buildings.  Seating in the room is made to look like it is outside in a courtyard.
Tague said he wanted to expand the restaurant for a while, but was “landlocked” between House of Hong and Famous Brands.  By expanding into the space that used to be the Chinese restaurant Jerlando’s added 60 more seats than before.  Tague said this almost doubled the seating space, to 110.  Work started in January of this year.
Tague said one needed change that was addressed was a foyer.  He said that before he did not have enough room to have a small foyer for customers to come through.  Tague explained that in the winter, when someone came in, they also let in a burst of cold air.
With the expansion also comes a full service bar.  Tague said before the restaurant had only offered beer and wine with dinner.  Now, patrons can buy a mixed drink while waiting for a table.
In the design, Tague said he tried to keep the one thing his customers liked about the previous design: the coziness.  He explained that is not easy when the space is being doubled in size.
While the expansion was something Tague wanted done, it did have its difficulties.  He said the hardest part of the work was timing everything perfectly.  Tague explained that while the floor was being stamped, other work could not be done in that area because of the wet concrete.
Tague said he tried to hire as many local workers for the different jobs as possible, like the woodwork, painting, and flooring.  And there was a lot that needed to be done, especially for a building from 1865 like this one.  Tague said the restaurant now has all new heating, air conditioning, a boiler, plumbing, and electrical.  
Even with work done and restaurant open again, Tague said no grand opening is planned.  He explained he did the soft opening so the employees could get familiar with the restaurant.    The restaurant and pizzeria staff also grew because of the expansion, from 30 to 50 employees.

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