Chris Crader is adding the Sycamore Cafe to his German Village restaurant portfolio.
The owner of Harvest Pizzeria and Curio, both on South Fourth Street, said he plans to replace the Sycamore with a cozy, 40-seat neighborhood tavern with rock-solid food.
"We just want to give the neighborhood another option," Crader said. "Our focus will be on seasonal menus and working with local farmers as much as possible."
The cafe, which closed March 30, is located at 262 E. Sycamore St., at the corner of Sycamore and Sixth Street. Crader said it's a small, out-of-the-way location with great potential.
"That's why we don't want to make it a destination dining spot," he said. "We want it to be just something for the neighborhood."
An August opening is planned for the new establishment. Crader said he will spend the next few months on significant interior renovations and menu development.
He also must work with the German Village Commission, the local architectural review board, on appropriate signage and any other changes to the exterior.
He said he hasn't settled on a style of cuisine or whether he'll change the name of the establishment.
The mood was understandably subdued last Thursday, when regulars Michael Migitz and Scott Craig reminisced about the Sycamore with bartender Sommer White.
"It's like Cheers," said White, referring to the bar in the popular TV show. "Everybody knows your name."
"It's the end of an era," said Migitz, a loyal customer for more than 25 years.
The cafe has been a neighborhood watering hole for at least 75 years, White said.
April 1, it would have celebrated 51 years under the ownership of Ron Stone and his late wife, Marilyn.
Craig said it was a place where plumbers, meat-cutters, glass workers and locals would gather to have a few drinks, talk sports and tell jokes.
"I'm the only Michigan fan in here," lamented Craig, who's been tossing back beers at the Sycamore for 13 years.
The Sycamore, located in a two-story brick building, occupied about 2,200 square feet on the first floor, with an apartment upstairs.
The narrow three-level storefront flaunted wood paneling, a patterned tin ceiling, an assortment of sports paraphernalia and a worn, wooden bar.
There was a small kitchen, but it hadn't been used for a number of years, Craig said.
"We're going to miss the place, not just the bar but the people," said White, a nursing student.