MOUNT VERNON — A century of dining excellence was celebrated Tuesday evening when friends and patrons gathered to mark the 100th anniversary of The Alcove Restaurant and Lounge. More than 100 guests came out for the evening’s festivities, which began with a social hour with hors d’ oeuvres being served by the staff of The Alcove.
The Alcove originated in 1911 by Peter Francis and Fred Surlas Sr. when it was opened as Candyland. A line of quality food was added in 1920 with the addition of The Alcove Room. Expansion took place in 1937 with the current structure being built on the site of the original Candyland.
Richard and Suzanne Cochran took over ownership in 1974, selling to Thomas and Julie Metcalf in 1984 who sold to David and Kathy Body in 1999. In 2004, ownership changed hands again with local investors Tom Metcalf, Mark Ramser, Susan Ramser, Karen Buchwald-Wright, Tom and Kathy Lapp, Mrs. Fred (Virginia) Barry, Barb Barry, Mary Lynn McIlhagey and Jim Wanken.
“We’re proud to be here and to be a part of downtown Mount Vernon,” said co-owner Mark Ramser. “It’s been a long time. We hope to have another 100 years.”
A brief ceremony followed the social hour with former owner Richard Cochran serving as master of ceremonies. Cochran shared stories about many changes which have taken place over the years at The Alcove. Among these were memories of 50 years ago when Ringwalt’s and Rudin’s had four stories of merchandise, and Mount Vernon had 21 grocery stores. “Things change, and not necessarily for better or worse; but they are different,” said Cochran.
He recalled that his first visit to The Alcove was as a young boy in 1947. He could remember that he had hot chocolate and a pecan roll, acknowledging that he remembers these little details because the visit to The Alcove was that memorable to him.