The ribbon-cutting celebration and ceremony for The Northport Hotel and Restaurant took place on Friday, July 28, with over 100 attendees cheering delightfully when a project over seven years in the making finally made its debut. Co-owners Kevin O’Neill and Richard Dolce opened their doors to the public for the very first time, and received countless congratulations for their efforts in improving the economic vitality and beauty of Northport Village.
Champagne and charcuterie platters were served inside the restaurant, and guests were welcome to walk about the lobby and hotel. In attendance were local elected officials, business owners, friends and family members of O’Neill and Dolce.
“This has been a long-time coming – seven and a half years – and I could not be more grateful for the support of the Village, county, Town of Huntington, and all the people who helped support this as we went through our journey,” said Dolce as he began the ceremony outside the hotel, with supporters circling the podium. Dolce introduced several speakers who played a role in the hotel completion.
Mayor Koch said she was at Village Hall in 2016, when Dolce and O’Neill presented a vision that would take a blighted corner of Main Street and transform it into a boutique hotel. “The concept of the hotel was wholeheartedly welcomed by then Mayor George Doll and the entire board of trustees,” Koch said, adding that everyone at Village Hall knew the project would be in good hands after witnessing what the co-owners accomplished at the John Engeman Theater right across the street.
Koch said the hotel and restaurant fit the charm and character of the Village, and will bring tourists and add commerce to “our already vibrant community.” The hotel will “help carry our historic Village into the next generation,” she added.
Assemblyman Keith Brown said Friday was the most highly anticipated day in Northport that he could remember in decades. “We are so proud, as a community, to see what you did, raising this place from the ashes, watching the steel go up, watching the framing go up, finally getting the interior done, which I know took you a lot longer than you hoped or anticipated,” Brown noted.
Kelly Murphy, from the Suffolk County Industrial Development Agency (IDA) congratulated the co-owners and noted their tenacity in accomplishing a project that will greatly benefit the economic health of Northport. And President of the Northport Chamber of Commerce Janet Hoeft thanked O’Neill and Dolce for their vision of Main Street, and helping drive business for all local merchants.
O’Neill was the last to speak and he spoke from the heart, without any prepared remarks. “I think Northport is a very unique place and we feel very strongly about that and have obviously made investments to back that up,” he said. While there were too many people to thank individually, he said, O’Neill expressed gratitude for former Village Mayor George Doll, who supported his and Dolce’s vision from the beginning and helped them make it happen. “He knew we had the best interest of the Village at heart, and we always have,” he said. “I like to live by about ten different sayings and one of them is ‘Put together your thoughts, your capital and your energy, and focus it. The wise man puts all of his eggs in one basket and watches it.’ My basket is Northport. We are here for the long haul, we’re here to do the right thing, and we will always do the best thing for the Village.”