Empire Room operators will focus on New York wines, beers, spirits, products

Staff Writer
The Chronicle Express

Experienced restauranteurs who operate some of Upstate New York's best-known restaurants will operate the Empire Room at the New York State Fair for 2013, State Agriculture Commissioner Darrel J. Aubertine announced this week.

The operator of the restaurant promises to focus on New York beers, wines and spirits.

As reported by The Chronicle-Express last year, the Empire Room only offered one New York State wine, but sold multiple wines from California.

The State Fair and Bedford Falls Enterprises, LLC have signed a contract that will allow full operation of the Empire Room as a restaurant from 9 a.m. to midnight each day of the fair. The bar will operate from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day except from noon to 10 p.m. on Sundays. The company will also cater the fair's scheduled banquets. The contract is for the 12 days of the fair, and the company will provide equipment necessary to operate the restaurant.

Bedford Falls Enterprises, LLC is owned by Jay and Kathy Bernhardt as part of the property management portfolio of their business, which also has manufacturing interests. The company owns the Hotel Clarence in Seneca Falls and Baldwinsville's Red Mill Inn. Ben Eberhardt manages the operation of the restaurants. The Eberhardt family has had a long involvement with prime hospitality venues in the region, including the Sherwood Inn in Skaneateles and the Colgate Inn in Hamilton. The family also operated the Empire Room at one point in the past.

"We will offer fairgoers a more upscale and sophisticated experience in a cool and relaxed atmosphere, complete with live music," said Ben Eberhardt. "We're very excited to be a part of the fair and believe that we will provide a great experience to fairgoers."

Eberhardt said the restaurant will offer a continental breakfast and full lunch and dinner service from a menu that focuses on New York State products. The full-service bar will focus primarily on New York beers, wines, and spirits and will feature a raw bar for oysters and clams.

Large-screen televisions will show sporting events. Bands will be hired to play blues or jazz for patrons.

The New York State Fair runs from August 22 - September 2, 2013. The Fair's theme is "Sharing the Bounty and Pride of New York."

In addition to the annual New York State Fair, the Fairgrounds host dozens of agricultural events throughout the year, including some of the Northeast's most prestigious horse and livestock shows.

The home of the Great New York State Fair is a 375-acre exhibit and entertainment complex that operates all year. A year-round schedule of events is available on the Fair's website. Find The Great New York State Fair on Facebook or follow NYS Fair on Twitter. Also, New Yorkers are invited to send their ideas on the Great New York State Fair at statefairideas@agriculture.ny.gov.