Facade improvement, OpenTable rankings highlight Chimney Park’s 10th anniversary under Jason Shaeffer | MyWindsorNow.com

Facade improvement, OpenTable rankings highlight Chimney Park’s 10th anniversary under Jason Shaeffer

Emily Wenger

Jason Shaeffer, the owner of Chimney Park Restaurant and Bar in Windsor, said he always felt as if he lived in the shadow of other chefs.

Whenever he joined a restaurant, Shaeffer had to follow the menu set by the previous chef.

Now, more than 10 years after he opened Chimney Park, he recently reopened his renovated restaurant, and he finally feels the restaurant is his.

Although the building still reflects its heritage, with a similar look to the photo of it that hangs in Chimney Park that Shaeffer said dates back to about 1905, Shaeffer had the freedom to make the building his own.

That kind of freedom felt glorious to Shaeffer, even if he was finally able to set his own menu when he opened the restaurant. Those were a success: The restaurant has regularly received awards through OpenTable, a website where customers and restaurant reviewers can vote for and post comments about restaurants. In 2015, the restaurant was named one of the best 100 in the U.S.,and this year was named number one for food in the state in September, in addition to several other high rankings in different categories.

"It's a fairly daunting task of continually staying on top of your game," he said.

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The next step were the updates to the building.

Shaeffer utilized the Downtown Development Authority's Facade Improvement Program to give the front of his building a face lift, which included sandblasting off previous coats of paint, moving the location of the front door and updating the windows, which he said used to let in cold air in the winter and heat in the summer.

The facade was estimated to be at least 40 years old, Shaeffer said, and while it received updates that included insulation to add to the building's energy efficiency, he worked to keep the building's historical look. Shaeffer was on the Downtown Development Authority Board when the facade program was developed, so he was familiar with its requirements. Matt Ashby, the director of the DDA, told the Windsor Town Board at Monday night's work session Chimney Park is the only business using the program so far in 2017, but he hopes more downtown businesses will take advantage which can also be utilized for assistance renovating the rear facades of buildings.

The program and improvements to the front of the building helped influence the inside renovations at Chimney Park, Shaeffer said.

The indoor setup is similar to what it used to be, Shaeffer said, but now also includes a wine cooler, enclosed wait station, LED lights and a new heating, ventilating and air conditioning system.

Exposed brick walls inside the building are original, Shaeffer said, to keep some of the same character of the original building.

"I felt like we didn't take away from the history," he said, "just kind of let those dictate our design and final finish."

Although there is some work left to be done, Shaeffer said having the restaurant back open after this year's renovations, and after its 10-year anniversary under him, is a great feeling.

"It's pretty awesome," he said.

If you go

Chimney Park, which recently completed improvements to the building, is open from 4-9 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 4-8 p.m. Sunday at 406 Main St. For more information, or to make reservations, go to http://www.chimneypark.com or call (970) 686-1477.