Work continues at the Port Chester train station to transform it into a restaurant, beer pavilion and beer garden. The huge stone fireplace in the foreground is the latest addition. <br /><!-- 1upcrlf --><br /><!-- 1upcrlf -->JANANNE ABEL|WESTMORE NEWS
Work continues at the Port Chester train station to transform it into a restaurant, beer pavilion and beer garden. The huge stone fireplace in the foreground is the latest addition.

Since last month's write-up about the six new restaurants under construction in Port Chester, I have gotten additional information about the Port Chester Hall & Garden at the historic Port Chester train station and witnessed the progress that has been made there.

Most remarkable of all is the amount of money Heartland Brewery Group is spending to transform the station into a restaurant, beer pavilion and garden-a whopping $5 million, according to Tyler Sullivan, marketing manager. As I said last month, it has been a massive undertaking which has included removing asbestos from the roof, installing new water lines, crafting the pavilion and most recently building a huge stone fireplace. And I know that's only the half of it.

The restaurant and beer garden are expected to open in mid-May.

According to Sullivan, this was owner Jon Bloostein's dream project. "He has always wanted to have a beer garden and now he has an indoor space with an indoor/outdoor space with an outdoor space. To him it is a win, win, win-a triple win, a trifecta." The pavilion, which incorporates the original railroad steel design, will be open but also have the capability of being enclosed and heated during the cold weather for private events.

The restaurant inside the original station will seat about 125, the beer pavilion about 100 and the beer garden will have flexible seating.

Asked about the name Port Chester Hall instead of Port Chester Beer Hall, which could have people confusing it with the Port Chester Village Hall, for instance, Sullivan said that "though beer is a big part of the venue, we have an extensive food menu as well as a wide selection of specialty cocktails and wines. The name aims to not be exclusive to any one group and to make all feel welcome."

Although I had previously heard otherwise from various sources, Sullivan said 50 spaces in the commuter lot on Broad Street are going to be dedicated to Port Chester Hall.

The restaurant will operate a coffee stand from 6-11 a. m. to serve morning commuters and the ticket booth, which has been housed in a trailer during construction, will be moved back into the building. As a tenant in the Metro-North train station paying monthly rent, Port Chester Hall will be responsible for maintaining the station, pavilion, garden and sidewalk area in front of the station.

Hopefully with all of the money Heartland Brewery Group is investing, Metro-North will be incentivized to spruce up the rest of their property surrounding it, although I was told some time ago by a spokesperson that they didn't plan to. As an example of Metro-North's lack of upkeep, years ago they removed hedges and installed pipes along Broad Street and never replaced them with any plantings, instead just allowing the depressed space, which is even dangerous to walk across, to fill in with weeds. In addition, there haven't been any curbs along the edge of their property in front of the station for at least 30 years.

The Capitol Theatre is working on an agreement with Metro-North to install a fence and some plantings at the corner of the Metro-North property closest to the theatre (Broad Street and Westchester Avenue) at the Capitol's expense.

Basically Metro-North has not been a good neighbor to Port Chester and it is taking private money to make their property the showcase it should be to people entering the village via rail.