Saturday, May 24, 2008

Wallingford Landmark Goes Up In Flames

No more popovers. No more Sunday brunch. No more intimate dinners in the railroad car. The Yankee Silversmith Inn is no more.

On June 17, 2007, an electrical fire started in the historic building's attic. It was quickly extinguished, but the sprinkler system did more than just put out the fire. Pouring 25 gallons of water per minute into the attic, the sprinklers caused considerably more damage to the building than the fire. Ten months later, the owner of the restaurant, Ralph Mesite, announced that the once proud Wallingford landmark would not reopen.

In a press release, Mesite stated, "After more than 10 months of hope and consideration, we have nade a decision that is best for our family business. It was a decision that was difficult and one that we wish we did not have to make. The water damage was pretty severe. If it had been a small fire, we'd have been open by now. But with the amount of repairs that had to be done and the building code requirements that would have had to have be met, it just didn't make good business sense in this economic climate."

Opened in 1953 by Robert Meyer and purchased from him by Ralph Mesite's father, George, at a bankruptcy auction, the Yankee Silversmith Inn was well known for its hearty New England fare and its Victorian charm. People came from all over the state and the region to avail themselves of the fine cuisine and ambient atmosphere of the 146-year-old building. The Mesite family is considering putting either another restaurant on the site or a shopping plaza. There are plenty of both along the stretch of Route 5 where the Inn is situated, and another restaurant on the site might, to some, seem like sacrilege. Only time will tell.

Rest in peace, Yankee Silversmith Inn. You'll certainly be missed.

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