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Graft Wine+Cider Bar enhancements unveiled in Watkins Glen

  • / Updated:
  • Staff Report 

This past weekend marked the grand reveal of Graft Wine+Cider Bar’s major renovations funded in part by a $73,592 grant from the Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI).


Located at 204 North Franklin Street, the establishment, owned by Chef Orlando Rodriguez, underwent significant upgrades including an enlarged commercial kitchen, a second-floor revamp that doubles seating capacity, and the installation of a dumbwaiter. Since purchasing the bar in October 2019, Rodriguez has invested an additional $200,000 into the improvements, making it a landmark in downtown Watkins Glen.

This successful venture has not only spotlighted the effectiveness of the DRI program, as noted by Secretary of State Robert J. Rodriguez, but also bolstered the community’s economic vibrancy.

Judy McKinney Cherry, Executive Director of the Schuyler County Partnership, highlighted that since the DRI’s inception in 2016, there’s been a 508 to 1 leverage in private to public investments in Watkins Glen. As the community celebrates this achievement, Village of Watkins Glen Mayor, Laurie DeNardo, and Nigar Hale, Executive Director of the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce, expressed their pride in the project and optimism for the bar’s future success.