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Ogdensburg signs lease with new Dobisky Visitors Center vendor

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Trevor Brunet believes he will succeed where others before him have failed.

When the Ogdensburg City Council unanimously voted Monday to lease the Dobisky Visitor Center concessionary to him, Mr. Brunet smiled.

“There’s an opportunity here,” he said. “I am hoping to turn it around and make something of it.”

Mr. Brunet had an uphill battle convincing council members to approve the lease. After working out a disagreement over who should pay for utilities, Deputy Mayor Michael D. Morley expressed reluctance to have alcohol on the city-owned property.

“I’m not going to support it,” said Mr. Morley. “We have spent $8 to $9 million to bring families down there between the park, the pool, the playground and the marina, and I’m not going to want alcohol there.”

Mr. Morley was joined by other council members in his dissent. Because Ogdensburg’s charter requires a three-fourths majority, or six out of the seven council members, to approve a lease, at the beginning of the council meeting it appeared the agreement was doomed to fail.

Mr. Brunet explained that he did not plan to serve alcohol at the visitor center at all times, only for a handful of special events.

“I would like to be able to get a temporary license in order to do something like a wine tasting,” he said. “Not anything too extravagant. It wouldn’t be that frequent, maybe once or twice a year.”

Councilman Wayne L. Ashley said the lease should specify how many times Mr. Brunet would be able to receive a temporary liquor license.

“I would like a specific number,” he said. “I would like that number before we vote on that.”

The council entered executive session, where they agreed Mr. Brunet would be able to serve alcohol up to six times over the course of the lease. In order to receive a temporary alcohol license, Mr. Brunet will have to apply with the New York State Liquor Authority and notify the city in advance of his events.

Mr. Brunet says he wants to do something different with the concession.

“My plan is for more of a cafe, where in the past it has been a concession,” he said. “I feel a cafe will do a little more for the public. There is nice seating outside, but I want to do away with the plastic tables and chairs and make it a little nicer.”

Mr. Brunet grew up working in kitchens.

His father, William F. Brunet operated the Lakeside Restaurant on Black Lake. In 2007, the younger Brunet received a degree from the Culinary Institute of the Americas and received additional training at the Sichuan Higher Institute of Cuisine in China.

He has worked as sous chef and executive chef at a handful of country clubs throughout the U.S.

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