From left: Allie, Pat and Yvette O’Brien said they will look back fondly on their time in Hamburg.
The lock was turned for the final time at O’Brien’s Farm Fresh Meats and Smokehouse in the Village of Hamburg.
Wednesday (Sept. 26) marked the last day of business for the shop and restaurant, which opened on Main Street in December 2010.
Owners Pat and Yvette O’Brien said the decision to close was based on familial reasons, rather than financial.
“It’s just too overwhelming having (O’Brien’s Pub and Steakhouse) in Eden, and my commodity trading business where we manufacture feed and distribute it throughout the Northeast. It just got to be too much work,” said Pat. With their daughter, Allie, deciding to follow her father into the feed and grain business, Yvette would have been left to manage their Eden and Hamburg locations by herself.
“(Allie) is going to be coming on board with my other business, Pat O’Brien and Sons. I guess I will have to change the name of that,” Pat said, smiling. He added their oldest son, Patrick, will join them in the feed business as well.
“The family unit will stay working together,” Pat said.
The couple hopes to have a trimmed down selection of their meat products at their Eden restaurant.
“We do intend to offer our favorite selections of smoked meats and fish, as well as a fresh meat case as well,” Pat said. Customers are advised to continue to visit www.obriensmeats.com for the latest information.
They will remain owners of the Hamburg property and hope to lease the building to someone in the restaurant business.
“We are hoping that it will be something that will compliment the existing restaurants — our neighbors, and add to the draw of what Hamburg has worked so hard to become: a destination,” Pat said.
Yvette added that whoever chooses to lease the property will “have hit a home run.” Since taking over the building in July 2010, the O’Briens said they spent approximately $250,000 in renovations, which included gutting and remodeling the interior, updating the facade and adding a second floor.
The property at 32 Main St. (shown here) was only one story when the O'Briens took ownership in 2010.
They also bought the storefront adjacent to their business, which a future tenant could use as an adjoining banquet area.
On the property’s second floor, the couple added six apartments, five of which have been already leased though their construction is not yet completed.
The O’Briens spent approximately $250,000 renovating their store, which included adding a second story and refurbishing the front of the building.
The O’Briens said their decision to close was not an easy one to make.
“It has been a stressful two weeks,” said Yvette, who predicted their final day of business would be a bittersweet experience.
“We can’t thank our patrons and family and friends and employees enough. It’s very difficult,” said Pat, adding that the support from the village board, Village Business Advisory Council and Hamburg Chamber of Commerce has also been appreciated.
“The mayor (Thomas Moses) has been just wonderful helping us promote this and encourage things,” Pat said.
Still others would argue that O’Brien’s relationship with the Hamburg Village Board, especially the Architectural Review Committee, has had it rocky moments.
The smokehouse came under the board’s scrutiny in 2011, after the O’Briens put up faux brick on the front of their building, instead of the real half-brick recommended by the ARC.
Despite support from fellow business owners, the village board maintained the false bricking was in violation of the building code, and had to be replaced.
Yet Yvette said the facade debacle is “water under the bridge” and has nothing to do with their decision to close.
“That was long gone. Now its onward and upward,” she said.
The family is looking forward to the future, and said they will use their free time as a chance to vacation and reconnect with friends.
“We’re looking forward to this new chapter,” Pat said.