Arts center, cafe slated to fill former York-area bar
Two partners are pouring tens of thousands of dollars into transforming a former York-area bar into a cafe and arts center.
If all goes as planned, the center will open Jan. 1 with the café to follow a month later, according to one of the partners, Holly Lanteigne-Marrow.
Lanteigne-Marrow said she and a business partner have a short-term lease for the 6,000 square-foot-space, which is on South Belmont Street across from The Belmont Theatre in Spring Garden Township, just off Interstate 83. They are in the process of buying the building for $250,000.
It was last used a bar but had been vacant for several years and fallen into disrepair. The partners began renovations about a month ago and expect to spend around $100,000.
"We are just redoing everything," said Lanteigne-Marrow, who owns and operates Ni Riain School of Irish Dance in Springettsbury Township. Her partner, who did not want to be named, has a background in catering and food service.
The venue will be the Ryan Center for the Arts. Under that umbrella will be the Ni Riain school and Palette Café and Catering.
Plans call for the café to open for breakfast and lunch on weekdays and before and after shows at the Belmont, Lanteigne-Marrow said.
The center also will offer yoga classes, music lessons, cooking classes, art instruction and more, Lanteigne-Marrow said. "We just really want it to be a community center. We want it to be driven by the community’s interests."
She also would like to incorporate elements and photos from the building’s past. Neighbors have told her of its previous incarnation as an upscale restaurant called The Flamingo. "Others remember when it was the Grapevine Restaurant," she said.
Lanteigne-Marrow came across the space while looking for a new home for Ni Riain, one where it would be able to grow. The school has about 65 students.
The search had been going on for about two years, but took on greater urgency this fall when Lanteigne-Marrow learned that the school’s current home, a former elementary school turned church, was being sold and converted to apartments. The school has to be out of the space before the end of December.
"This is a very good location," she said of the new space, which includes an adjacent parking lot. "It’s at Route 30 and 83, basically. It’s easily accessible."
The dance school is renting temporary studio space near the York Galleria Mall until the Ryan Center is completed, Lanteigne-Marrow said.
The Ryan Center takes its name from the last name of Lanteigne-Marrow’s grandmother, a native of Ireland.
Founded in 2009, the dance school uses the Irish Gaelic version of Ryan, Riain (pronounced REE-in). The word Ni translates roughly as "last name of."