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Marcellus planning board OK's tavern facelift

The stop work order preventing Village Tavern owners Ray and Sarah Nesci from completing the renovations of the property was lifted last week, allowing the improvement to move forward after months of suspension.

And what an improvement it is - anyone who remembers the watering hole for its dark, cave-like atmosphere would hardly recognize it now. Which was kind of the point.

"It was a dated bar, and the clientele were a little bit dated, too - not that there's anything wrong with that, it was just time for a change," Ray Nesci said.

The Nescis purchased the Village Tavern in 2004, and Ray Nesci said the couple started "chipping away" at the interior about two years ago. As the bar's regulars got older or moved away, the couple took advantage of the changing business climate.

Adding food specials and live music didn't hurt, but the overall change in appearance and atmosphere has been a driving factor in getting people through the door.

Major renovations began in 2008, including the conversion of the second floor apartment into a completed dining room, exposing the 100-year-old brick walls and removing the drop ceiling. New windows on the face of the building drench the two floors in light; the facade of the building speaks for itself.

"We knew the building had potential," Nesci said.

The couple owes a lot of their success to architect and village resident Dave Tucker.

"Without him it wasn't going any where," Nesci said. Tucker helped the couple turn their ideas into hard architectural plans -- at no cost -- just for the sake of seeing an improvement in the village.

The couple agreed that many villagers and patrons wanted to be a part of the change, and several even offered to help out with the renovations during the weekends.

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