NARROWSBURG, NY — Narrowsburg’s best-kept secret is out. There were hints. On August 6, the Upper Delaware Council recommended substantial conformance with the River Management Plan for a …
NARROWSBURG, NY — Narrowsburg’s best-kept secret is out. There were hints. On August 6, the Upper Delaware Council recommended substantial conformance with the River Management Plan for a special-use application submitted by Narrowsburg Motor Sales, Inc. to operate a café within its existing showroom. On August 11, the Tusten Town Board voted unanimously to waive the 30-day waiting period requirement for obtaining a liquor license for an eatery to be located at 174 Bridge St., doing business as Bar Veloce (Vell O Chay).
Bar Veloce is a successful wine and cheese bar franchise with locations throughout the New York metro area, including fashionable Greenwich Village and JFK Airport. Now, local architect Karl Wasner and Bar Veloce owner/founder Fred Twomey, a 10-year part-time resident of the Narrowsburg area, plan to bring that urban phenomenon to the village of Narrowsburg, pairing it with a showroom full of vintage classic cars, car talk and visions of the automotive future.
The plan is to move Narrowsburg Motor Sales, Inc. used car dealership and service center downstairs, leaving the ground floor showroom, service area and waiting area to be transformed into the newest Bar Veloce location. Wasner says, “The Narrowsburg Motors building has been an architectural icon of the town since it was built in the mid-1930s. We’re not going to change the building in any substantial way—just a tweak here and there to make it more functional as an eatery. What is now the lift area will become a cheese stockroom.”
A big fan of the area since he purchased property locally 10 years ago, Twomey didn’t envision doing business here until last spring, when the coronavirus pandemic hit the New York City hospitality industry like a sledgehammer. Suddenly, he saw unlimited business potential in rural America—picturesque Narrowsburg, in particular.
A family-owned business spanning three generations of the Hankins family, Narrowsburg Motor Sales, Inc. was founded before the start of WWII by Joe and Bertha Hankins, first as an independent car dealership and, beginning in 1945, as a Ford dealership. They were succeeded by their son, Walter, who worked in the business as a kid before attending automotive school in Binghamton. Managing the business for decades, Walter kept his hand in right up until his death in 2017. The torch then officially passed to his daughter, Kathleen Hankins Johnson who, since 2012, has again run it as an independent used car dealership.
The new joint venture comes at an auspicious time: the 75th anniversary of the founding of Narrowsburg Motor Sales, Inc.