LIVINGSTON MANOR — As Sims Foster watched this hamlet blossom — the fresh sidewalks, handsome light posts and new businesses — he realized that Livingston Manor was missing what every other vibrant community had: a restaurant.
So he gutted part of his family's building at 2 Pearl St. and built one.
"Manor is a shining example of a revitalized Main Street," Foster said. "But I think every town needs a good restaurant and there was a demand here."
The Lazy Beagle Pub & Grill, which opened late this summer, highlights the Foster family's role in Livingston Manor's continuing comeback. Other business owners in town have said the restaurant will help attract more people to their shops. The Fosters bought their building in 2003, when most shops were boarded up and the sidewalks were crumbling, and invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in it. They opened Peez Leweez, a coffee and lunch shop, in one of the storefronts, and The Hot Corner, a sports memorabilia shop, in another.
"We grew up here and wanted to invest in the town and be a part of the growing new role of Livingston Manor," said Barry Foster, Sims Foster's father.
The Lazy Beagle filled the last empty storefront in their building, just as other downtown shops have gained new life. Sims Foster hired a green building contractor and used wood from torn-down barns for the tables and bar. As for the name of his pub, "I just wanted something with an adjective and an animal," said Foster, who works as a consultant to bars and restaurants in major American cities. His fellow business owners in Livingston Manor say the Lazy Beagle fills the need for a gathering place that is open after dark.
"I think it's definitely brought business in already," said Carolin Walton-Brown, owner of the Willow & Brown housewares shop. "The Lazy Beagle has given people a reason to stick around town, which makes a huge difference."
Lisa Lyons, who owns the Morgan Outdoors apparel shop, hosted a guest lecture by a falconer in September. People came from far-off cities for the event. In the recent past, those visitors would have gone home after the lecture.
"The beauty of it now is that all those people walked a block to have dinner at the Lazy Beagle," Lyons said. "People were amazed that we had it all in this little town."