The Krebs likes to keep everything quiet — except for the food.
Owner Adam Weitsman promises that patrons will enjoy a spectacular meal on opening night Aug. 15. But he won’t be there. And there will be no balloons, string quartet or backyard fireworks display, either.
“It’s just going to be a very quiet opening,” Weitsman said. “And we’ll be open for business and hopefully it’ll make people in the area happy.”
The opening is fully booked already. Perhaps lake residents, who light flares for the Fourth of July, can all fire up their George Foreman grills in solidarity with the guests of opening night.
The Krebs, which closed several years ago, has been a village of Skaneateles landmark at 53 W. Genesee St. for more than 100 years. Weitsman has put about $5 million into the restaurant, including the cost of purchasing the property.
The restaurant will have a staff of about 25, including the general manager and the executive chef, with a total payroll of about $750,000 a year. The employees have health insurance, “which is unusual for a restaurant,” Weitsman said.
“We’re not looking for turnover in employees,” he said. “We’re looking at employees that want to make a career here.”
It did seem like a long time to finish the project, “but we weren’t in a rush and we wanted to do it right and now we’re ready," he said. "There were so many rumors because it did take long. ‘I wonder why it’s taking so long.’ ‘Maybe he’s not doing it.’ Those things don’t bother me. It’s just part of life.”
Other rumors said that the food was going to be “Japanese, Chinese, Spanish, steakhouse. I heard I already had it for sale. I heard I fired the whole staff. That’s not true. Not one person has been fired at that place, ever.”
But his role on opening night? What about that?
“I’m not going to be there,” he said. “This is a restaurant run by professionals. I hired people to make this a wonderful restaurant. I might go to the restaurant once a month. I don’t really drink or anything. That’s not my personality. I’m not the big social guy. I’m sorry. I’m just a kid from Owego, New York, that runs a junk business and just wants to be with his wife (Kim) and kid at night, and does nice things for the community at the same time.
“I’m tired when I get home from work (in Owego),” he said. “I want to hang out with my kid. I’m a dad. … I want to be home with my family. I just want to go home and sleep. I’m my own person.”
“The people that have the experience are the ones that are going to be at the restaurant,” he added. “The patrons are the stars of this. The patrons are the ones that should get the attention, not me. I want my staff focused on the patrons, not me.”
Regular hours for The Krebs will be 5:30-10:30 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Sunday brunches will be 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
“These guys won’t be burned out,” the owner said. “We want the staff to have a life outside the restaurant. … I think that’s really important. We want to be on our game for 3.5 days a week.”
Including the bar, the eatery can feed just over 120 patrons at a time. Weitsman called it a medium-size restaurant. The décor, he said, is “elegant, but very comfortable.” The restaurant is divided into rooms, instead of being one big room. Each room has a somewhat different color pattern. The feeling is a home with various dining rooms, instead of a typical restaurant. There is a porch, and the landscaping includes “trees and roses and beautiful ferns and things like that.”
The Krebs has made its first donation: $5,000 to the Rescue Mission of Syracuse. Under The Krebs Foundation, all the profits from The Krebs will go to women’s and children’s food charities that deal with hunger, the proprietor said.
As for parking, Weitsman said, “They might want to contact city hall and ask them.” The Krebs was not afforded a single parking space, he said. “Even people that turned me down for parking are invited to the restaurant,” he said. He added, “They’re in charge and I’m not and I have to respect their decision.”
The Krebs rumors even included attire. “We don’t want people to come in shorts and sneakers,” he said, “but it’s dinner-casual. … I’m sure some people are going to wear ties and jackets but it’s not necessary. … We want people to be comfortable. But I think a lot of people will get dressed up to come out.”
The menu will be changing, “so it’ll be something different every week,” Weitsman said. Ingredients will be sourced locally, “and everything will be fresh, because we want to spend money locally. We’re going to try to source as much as we can locally, but you’ll get seafood FedExed in.”
The prices will not be the cheapest in the area, but “it’s definitely priced for our region,” he said.
Asked what The Krebs means to him, Weitsman said, “It was a dream of my wife’s, a way to do something special (for) the community, restore a historical landmark that meant a lot to a lot of people.”
“It’s got to be a breathtaking experience for people,” he said. "It will be a matter of the finest ingredients and the best staff in a beautiful village."
The rumors don’t matter now. It will finally open, this historical restaurant right down the street from Skaneateles Lake.
Weitsman wants people to be stunned at how amazing the restaurant is: “They have to be blown out of the water.”