Lewiston’s waterfront Griffon location opens to public
Article and Photos by Timothy Chipp
It’s a thought experiment made real, 17 years in the making.
Ken Scibetta and Ed Webster met each other while on staff at Water Street Landing. Over a short period of time, Scibetta found himself serving as the restaurant’s general manager. Webster was bar manager.
Secretly, they dreamed together of what could happen.
“Ed and I talked about it so many times over the years,” Scibetta said. “ ‘What would we do if we owned Water Street Landing?’ Well, it’s time to put our money where our mouth is.
“Honestly, it feels surreal. I sit up in my old boss’ office and now that’s our office. I sit in the conference room where we had all those meetings and now that’s our conference room. I stare out at the water and think about it. It’s crazy.”
Of course, with Scibetta and Webster at the helm now, there are some big changes. Most notably, the name.
It’s a new era for 115 S. Water St., under their banner of Griffon Gastropub. But a lot of what Scibetta remembers is still present in the famed restaurant. Including the idyllic views of the Niagara River beckoning to be enjoyed.
It just comes with a fresh coat of paint and significant remodeling – mostly to the wall between the sidebar and main dining area – that tied the owners and a small crew up beginning in mid-February.
“We did this all ourselves,” Scibetta said, admitting “ourselves” means mostly Webster and the crew. Scibetta focused on building the restaurant’s menu, which features cuisine and liquid refreshments Griffon has become synonymous with, though a few curves have been tossed in.
Patrons, for instance, will have more seafood options at the Water Street location than they’ll find at, say, the Military Road location that served as the first Griffon. Clams, a special staple of the former occupants, will be on the menu, Scibetta said, adding the name on the menu will change from that recognizable one, though it will bear a familiar rhyme.
A look at some of the renovations that have taken place at 115 S. Water St.
This new spot will also feature 40 beer taps – another staple of the brand – and a couple full-service bars, including the somewhat-breathtaking outdoor patio.
Scibetta said everyone has also listened to the comments they’ve received since taking over the building in February. Wait times from order to food reception will be a significant focus for the restaurant, he said, with an outdoor food trailer serving as a kitchen for outdoor diners.
“No one will go to the trailer,” Scibetta said. “Outdoor diners will be able to place their orders from their table and the food will be brought to them. But it should help reduce waiting times.”
While Water Street Landing is a significant part of their past, Scibetta said the new Griffon location will also pay tribute to the years of excruciating work it took to build a four-restaurant, 200-employee success story.
Because that success, Scibetta said, wasn’t always guaranteed.
Together, they leaped at the chance to set sail into their own adventure, which they called The Lewiston Village Pub. Found on Center Street, Scibetta and Webster were the only employees when they began in early 2008.
They spearheaded plenty of activity in the village, even creating a short-lived festival at Academy Park. Some of it was welcomed, some not so much.
In 2014, they stepped away from that life and Lewiston, taking a lot of precious knowledge with them into their Griffon business. They returned in mid-2017, with Griffon House and its more mature feel.
Scibetta said the duo is looking to merge that Griffon experience with some of the positive experiences The Pub offered its loyal patrons.
Like, Scibetta said, live music outside on the patio every weekend. And regular events to help bring more people to the facility and the surrounding sights. The sidebar will also get a new official name, made known by the lion’s head decals on the windows.
“The Pub” is back, Scibetta said. But it won’t be a loud and raucous space.
“We’ve learned a lot,” Scibetta said. “We’re going to keep growing and doing things better. We’ve learned from our mistakes.”
That’s not to rule out the occasional big-time event, say for Cinco de Mayo. It probably won’t feature the things a younger Scibetta was known for, like donkeys wearing sombreros, but the enthusiasm will be present every day.
It’s what those enthusiastic, gung-ho, budding restaurateurs fought so hard for while daydreaming about this day almost two decades earlier.
“We don’t want to let anyone down,” Scibetta said. “We don’t want to let our younger selves down. We have a great team we’ve put together.
“It’s amazing we’ve come from donkeys wearing sombreros on Cinco de Mayo to taking over one of the premier locations in Lewiston.”
•For more information, or to make a reservation, visit https://www.griffongastropub.com/lewiston.