MOUNT VERNON — Candyland rides again. A part of Mount Vernon history — which became The Alcove Restaurant — will be reborn early next year, courtesy of Dave Bumpus.
Candyland ice cream and candy shop was started in 1911 by Fred Surlas and Peter Francis. Over the years, customers asked for more food items, shifting the shop’s focus from sweets to sandwiches and other home-style foods. Finally, the owners decided to revamp Candyland into a full-service restaurant, and in 1937, The Alcove was born. The new Candyland will be at 118 S. Main St., just south of the restaurant.
“Twenty-three years ago I had The Kitchen Cupboard and Sweet Shop in that building,” said Dave Bumpus, speaking of the store next to The Alcove. “Tom [Metcalf] and I have known each other since I was a little boy. We always wanted to blow a hole in the wall at the front entrance to The Alcove and make it a lunch room, party room, extra space for The Alcove. And I wanted to retire and come back to Mount Vernon and it’s something Tom always wanted to do. I guess the best way to put it is I have some unfinished business. And I want to do that.”
Work is progressing on the interior of the new space and Bumpus’ plans are that it be finished by Nov. 14. He has spent a lot of time and has hired a number of people to research Candyland in order to make it as authentic as possible.
“What we’re doing is recreating the lobby of The Alcove,” Bumpus explained. “We are rebuilding the case, we’re rebuilding the counter. We are working with Velvet Ice Cream and looking to put in an old fashioned soda fountain. I have a lot of room to work with in there. We’ve gotten a picture of Candyland and we are going to blow it up to make about a 15 foot mural.”
Bumpus said he is not doing this alone, but is getting support from the Mount Vernon business community.
“Mark Ramser has been a big help,” he said. “He owns the building and is going to let me do whatever I need to do. I’m going to move into doing it slowly, and see how it goes. We’re going to have a permanent Christmas tree in there. Russ McGibney has what’s left of the Knox County ornaments, and I’d like to display them on the tree and sell them for the Renaissance Foundation.”
Bumpus expects to have Candyland open for tours during this year’s Christmas Walk, although he will not be selling any candy at that time. The grand opening is planned for Feb. 1, 2010.
“We want to be open for the Valentine’s season,” he said.