There's a ghost living at 2601 Holmes. He has a name -- Radar -- and a distinctive aroma. "You know he's in the room when you smell a lit cigarello. That's what he used to smoke when he was alive and hanging out at the Dutch Hill Bar & Grill," says restaurateur Beth Barden, who has spent the last six months turning the long-vacant saloon into her new Succotash restaurant.
The old Succotash, in the City Market, closed on November 1. Barden unlocked the hand-made door to the new Dutch Hill location -- she built the door out of an old trunk -- 25 days later.
Barden and a business partner bought the building, which is more than 100 years old. For most of the 20th-century, it was a grocery store operated by the Meiners family. The first floor space became a saloon in the 1960s and that's when the storefront windows were removed and the building didn't get a lot of tender loving care. Barden has done an almost miraculous job renovating the space. It once again has big sunny windows, along with freshly sanded and polished wood floors, an artfully redesigned bar covered with shiny plumbing copper, and a structural piece created from roof flashing and found objects.
is the operative word in Barden's renovation concept. She found the glass tiles that now cover the century-old iron pillars (and the lower part of the restroom walls) on Craig's List; she and her boyfriend Marco Pascolini found the original side door and transom buried in the wall; and all the wild-patterned vintage 1970s vinyl wallpaper was offered to her by a businessman who was going to throw all the old rolls in a dumpster. The heavy dining room tables date back to the 1960s and had been used, for decades, at a bowling alley.
"Everything in here was found, bought at auctions -- like the chairs, which came from a Thai restaurant -- or at ReStore, or given to us or was on the verge of being thrown away," says Barden, who sold most of the equipment and contents of the original Succotash -- and the next day, her purse was stolen with the $800 in profits. It's been one hell of a year for Barden, who not only renovated the lower level of the building, but spent hours and hours turning two decrepit railroad flat apartments on the second floor into stylish apartments. (She's looking for tenants, by the way).
Currently, Barden is serving only breakfast and lunch at the new Succotash. Once she gets her liquor license, she'll resume serving dinners. The restaurant is open 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
She's serving a custom-blend java from Oddly Correct Coffee Roasters
, making vegan mocha lattes and vegan pancakes too. Both non-vegan and vegetarian coffee drinkers are served a spoon made from cotton candy with their cappuccino.