MAMARONECK, N.Y. – When Brian MacMenamin invited his longtime business associate and friend Brett Portier to his restaurant in the Mamaroneck train station, Portier asked, "What restaurant?"
Wednesday, MacMenamin cut the ribbon on the Club Car, which turns the second-oldest train station on the New Haven Line into an upscale restaurant and lounge.
Portier, owner of The Smokehouse at 434 Waverly Ave., brought his family to the Club Car on Wednesday to enjoy oysters and champagne.
The Mamaroneck train station building has been a fixture of the community since being built in 1888, but was a vacant fixture for decades.
"It's been exciting," said MacMenamin, the owner and head chef of Club Car. "We like doing these kinds of projects and being able to peel back layers of an old building and see reverse history."
In 2007, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority put the Mamaroneck train station up for sale, and in 2008 Verco Properties bought it. Chris Verni, a Larchmont resident, is a principal in Verco Properties, along with his brother John.
"While we renovate many buildings, it was very gratifying to restore such an important building right here at home," he said. "The Sound Shore is a wonderful place to live and raise a family, and by saving this building we are pleased to be giving something important back to our community.”
The station, MacMenamin said, had been vacant for about 30 years. During that time, it fell into disrepair. MacMenamin and the Verni brothers decided to do an adaptive reuse by preserving as much of the original building design as possible. In addition to James Fleming Architect, the architect for the restaurant itself, they hired Stephen Tilly Architects, a Westchester-based architectural firm noted for its work in historical restoration.
The old ticket booth has been worked into the design of the bar, which sits between the larger dining room to the right and the lounge area to the left. Within the lounge area, the fireplace, which MacMenamin said had been coated with three-fourths of an inch of paint, has been restored to its original wood finish. Additionally, the large palladium windows were completely refurbished.
The adaptive reuse also included the use of reclaimed materials from the site, energy-efficient radiant-heat flooring, and new storm water systems to catch runoff, among other green solutions.
"It is very satisfying to see our vision of an adaptive reuse of this historically significant building become a reality," John Verni said in a statement. "We received a lot of positive feedback from the community as the project progressed and we are sure the people of Mamaroneck and the Sound Shore will be please with this grand restoration."