- Advertisement -
  • Most Commentedmost commented up
  • Most Emailedmost emailed up
  • Popularmost popular up
- Advertisement -

« News Home

Downtown’s rebound, 2.0

Published: Sun, April 24, 2011 @ 12:01 a.m.


The Vindicator

The Federal Building is at 18 N. Phelps St. in downtown Youngstown.


The Vindicator

Dominic Gatta III shows off the view from an apartment on the third floor of the Federal Building in downtown Youngstown.



By David Skolnick



After a busy period of development from 2005 to about mid-2008, some downtown Youngstown businesses ran into a rough time with a number of them, primarily restaurants and bars, shutting down.

But a second renaissance may be in downtown’s future.

“There’s no question that downtown Youngstown is the best place to start a business,” said Jacob Harver, who opened the Lemon Grove Café and Lounge at 122 W. Federal St. in June 2009. “The new businesses opening up are great additions to the already established centers.”

By this time next month, newly opened downtown businesses will


A 14-apartment complex with 12

already leased on the upper three floors of the four-story Federal Building, 100 W. Federal St. The V2 Wine Bar Trattoria, a restaurant to be

operated by the owner of Vernon’s Café in Niles, is expected to open on the building’s first floor in June.

Oh Wow! The Roger & Gloria Jones Children’s Center for Science & Technology at the former McCrory’s Building, 11 W. Federal St.

Taste Buds in the Tunnel, a restaurant and bar in the basement of the City Centre One building, 100 E. Federal St.

A Mediterranean deli and convenience store in the former Plaza

Optical location, 116 W. Federal St.

“There’s a lot of things happening downtown, and it’s all good news,” said Dominic L. Gatta III, co-owner of the Federal Building. “Business is picking up downtown.”

Also, a bar or restaurant at 25 W. Federal St. and an Italian restaurant at the former Tomasino’s Pizza location at 110 W. Federal St. are both expected to open in the near future.

The Mahoning Valley Historical Society plans to open next year at the Harry Burt/Ross Radio Building, 325 W. Federal St.

“With the opening of the children’s museum and then the historical society, we’ll start to see more families coming downtown,” Harver said. “That will be the big potential coming up.”

In addition, 20 Federal Place, the city-owned office building at 20 W. Federal St., has filled up its food court, and VXI Global Solutions, the structure’s largest tenant, increased its work force in the past year from 500 to 1,100 workers. The Love Lounge opened Dec. 31, 2009, at 15 W. Federal St., a few months after Skeeter’s Jazz Bar & Grill closed.

“Even though we went through the recession the past two years, we’re seeing a lot of new businesses opening downtown,” said Lyndsey Hughes, the city’s downtown director of events, special projects and marketing. “It’s going to be a really big year for downtown.”

Al and Fidaa Musleh, owners of the convenience store at 116 W. Federal St., are in dispute with the city planning commission over approval to sell beer and wine for carryout at their location. But they’re still excited about opening downtown.

“Downtown is growing; there’s a movement,” Al Musleh said. “The future of downtown is bright.”

It wasn’t that long ago that a number of downtown businesses closed.

They included the Rosetta Stone Café & Wine Bar at 110 W. Federal St. in August 2010, which had opened to much fanfare in January 2008 and was viewed as a harbinger for the revival of downtown.

A month earlier, the new owners of the Federal Building — who bought it in October 2009 — required several of its tenants to move out. One of them, Geo’s Music, relocated to 228 W. Boardman St. Madeline’s Alterations, Bob Barko’s Steeltown Studio and Hootenanny Vintage Guitars were allowed to stay and remained open during the building’s $2.5 million renovation.

Also, in mid-2008, closings included Anthony’s On The River at 15 Oak Hill Ave., The Core at 36 W. Federal St., and Martini’s Downtown, where Taste Buds in the Tunnel will be located. Under previous ownership, the basement of the City Centre One building was called The End of the Tunnel.

David Padula, owner of Taste Buds in the Tunnel, said the name of his restaurant pays tribute to the former name.


1GeorgeSands(16 comments)posted 4 years, 5 months ago

Great! I plan to give my business to the downtown area. But city planners must take steps to bring in anchor stores-- Target, Best Buy, Macey's-- so that people will come downtown all the time--not just when there is a special event.

Suggest removal:

2UnionForever(1470 comments)posted 4 years, 5 months ago

GeorgeSands - Give me a break, no respectable anchor store will locate in downtown Youngstown. High crime, shoplifters, and unbelievably high taxes like the highest in the state 2.75% income tax keep them away. The money, what's left of it anyway in the Mahoning Valley area, is in the suburbs.

Suggest removal:

3valleyred(1102 comments)posted 4 years, 5 months ago

Union, high crime is really not found in Downtown. It is the safest part of Youngstown and one of the safest areas in Mahoning County.

Suggest removal:

4One_Who_Stayed(240 comments)posted 4 years, 5 months ago


Spoken like a true suburbanite (one who has much bad to say about the downtown area, but never actually goes there to find out if its true or not).

On just about any given evening, the Lemon Grove is packed. Whats keeping him afloat is simple commerce, but of course you wouldn't know that because you obviously never go there.

I agree with you on one point though - downtown is not a shopping area. I believe it never will be - and probably shouldn't be again. Think about it - how many big-box stores do you see in any downtown area. . . none. Can you imagine a Home Depot in downtown Chicago? How about a Walmart in downtown Boston. Nope again. These are suburb shopping business models. They dont fit in a city. Law offices, Universities, Government Offices and Restaurants during the day and Restaurant Bars and nightlife in the evening. That's what is doing well here, and it's doing better every day.

Until you actually come down and do your own research, I suggest you continue shopping at the mall (just remember to lock the your car doors).

Suggest removal:

5YtownArtist(50 comments)posted 4 years, 5 months ago

@ opdad -The 14,000 YSU students are supporting the downtown businesses.

Suggest removal:

6WarrenRicheyKid(167 comments)posted 4 years, 5 months ago

I think the downtown revival has a lot of promise not only for Youngstown but for the area. Some chain outlets actually boost the health of the business district e. g. drugstores & supermarkets for two. Affordable housing is another pressing need to underpin downtown growth.

Suggest removal:

7One_Who_Stayed(240 comments)posted 4 years, 5 months ago

Again opddad - do your research. There have been 3 places that have closed. The Core, Rosetta Stone, and Skeeters.

Of the three, Rosetta Stone obviously generated the most headlines. Anyone who ever went there quickly realized that the place wouldn't be open long. The food was mediocre on its best day and the service was quite possibly the worst I've ever had in a restaurant. They put a lot of money and time into creating that place and then ran it as though they had no clue what they were doing (and clearly they didn't). Its a shame, but that's business. It happens in the burbs too.

The problem with the Core was that the building was falling apart and Lou Faragnos did nothing to fix it. Bernard simply got tired of his excuses and closed. In fact the sign on the door said (for many months) that they were closed for repairs and would reopen - they just never did. A shame - that place was fun. Downtown 36 opened in the same place shortly thereafter and is still open to this moment - I don't go in there as it's more of a youngster club now-a-days - the music sucks and I'm not there to pick up college girls.

I'm not sure what happened to Skeeters. It was a club that catered to a middle aged black crowd. I went in there a few times with friends. It was a pretty cool place, but all of a sudden it closed. No warning - no explanation - no nothing. I have no idea.

Anyhow, bottom line is this; places like Charlie Staples (around since the 70's), Cedars (also around since the 70's), the Draught House (around since I've lived here - 22 years), Cafe Cimmento, the Lemon Grove, etc. . .will be around for a long time. Also although technically not downtown, the very best kept secret in town - the Tokyo House at the end of South avenue. There's plenty of business here for them and a bunch more. V2 is opening soon, so we can look forward to another well run fine dining restaurant.

I do agree that we need more than just Bars and Restaurants, but we have to start somewhere and I think we have.

There's already a bunch of good things here and more to come in the very near future. The Oh-WOW children's science center, the Butler Art museum, the Symphony at the DeYor center, the Youngstown Playhouse, Concerts and Ice Hockey at the Covelli Center - there's lots to do here.

All you have to do is come downtown and take a look.

Suggest removal:


HomeTerms of UsePrivacy StatementAdvertiseStaff DirectoryHelp
© 2015 Vindy.com. All rights reserved. A service of The Vindicator.
107 Vindicator Square. Youngstown, OH 44503

Phone Main: 330.747.1471 • Interactive Advertising: 330.740.2955 • Classified Advertising: 330.746.6565
Sponsored Links: Vindy Wheels | Vindy Jobs | Vindy Homes