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How to Open a Business in 3 Weeks


With expansive water views and a prime location, the abandoned former home of Striped Bass at 236 West Main Street in Tarrytown had everything going for it — except an operating business. Spotting it on the market towards the end of June, Bobby Harris and Chris Surace, owners of Thornwood’s popular Barley House, knew it was time to pounce.

“Once we heard the space was available we immediately wanted to move on it,” says Harris of the Tarrytown location, which had been badly damaged during Hurricane Sandy. “Tarrytown has such a rich history, and with the revitalization of the area we were just thrilled with the idea of being part of that.”

With July fourth right around the corner, the restaurant owners knew getting the bar area up and running before the big fireworks show would help the bottom line. Only problem: July fourth was less than a month away. “After seeing the space we realized what a shame it was that it had been left vacant for so long,” explains Harris. “We came up with a strategy to get open as soon as possible and breathe new life into the outdoor area.”

Harris says that getting the Barley on the Hudson open so quickly really was a testament to what people can accomplish when everyone works together towards a common goal.  “Given the fact that everything needed to be done so quickly, let’s just say we spent a considerable amount to meet our fourth of July deadline,” notes Harris. “Seeing all of our patrons enjoying the fireworks show made it worth every penny.”

Their strategy for success was simple. “Having a casual and relaxing area for people to enjoy the great views of the Hudson was our first priority,” explains Harris. “And pairing that with some of our most popular and proven dishes from our Thornwood location would provide our guests with a vacation-like experience just steps from home.”

To speed up the process, the restaurant’s landlords — The Tarrytown boat Club — had secured several of the necessary permits ahead of time. Harris and Surace also quickly arranged inspections and remained focused on the opening day, despite delays including cancelled furniture orders and lagging equipment shipments.

While the location’s outdoor space is already hopping, work on the interior of Barley on the Hudson won’t begin until the fall. “There is a great deal of work to be done to repair all the damage that hurricane Sandy did to the building,” explains Harris. “We will wait until November to start any work on the inside of the building.  We are providing a relaxing comfortable atmosphere on the Hudson, and we wouldn’t be able to offer that with heavy machinery operating and construction going on.”


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