January 2016 20 Questions: Joseph M. Butler Jr., City of Watertown

Charting a new course

Joseph M. Butler Jr., talks about his vision for Watertown during an interview in the conference room at his Community Bank office on the eve of his swearing-in as mayor of the City of Watertown. Photo by Stephen Swofford, NNY Business.

Joseph M. Butler Jr., talks about his vision for Watertown during an interview in the conference room at his Community Bank office on the eve of his swearing-in as mayor of the City of Watertown. Photo by Stephen Swofford, NNY Business.

Mayor Joseph M. Butler Jr. shares his
vision for a city that celebrates its victories

On the eve of his swearing-in as mayor of Watertown, Joseph M. Butler Jr. is decidedly optimistic about the city’s future while talking about its challenges. In short order, he hopes to see a city where people talk more about “our victories over drugs opposed to our defeats.” He also envisions a downtown “that flourishes morning, noon, afternoon and evening.” After serving two terms as a city councilman, the 48-year-old financial advisor took the same oath of office on Jan. 1 that his father, Joseph M. Butler Sr., took in 2000. We sat down with the young mayor hours before he began a new four-year term, taking the reins from the same man the elder Mr. Butler defeated in 1999 to become mayor. [Read more…]

Crystal restaurant owners threatened with eviction

The Crystal Restaurant on Public Square may soon be forced into as new home. Justin Sorensen / NNY Business

The Crystal Restaurant on Public Square may soon be forced into as new home. Justin Sorensen / NNY Business

After 89 years, the Crystal Restaurant may soon be forced out of its longtime Public Square location.

Landlord Ricky Frazier notified Libby S. and Peter J. Dephtereos, the owners of the city’s iconic restaurant, that they were being evicted at the end of this month. [Read more…]

Crystal Restaurant building sold to local landlord

Running the oldest established restaurant in the city, the Dephtereos family for decades has leased the storefront space at 85-87 Public Square that is home to the Crystal.

The family will continue to rent the 1,700 square feet of space for the iconic restaurant, although a new landlord has emerged as the owner of the nearly century-old building.

Landlord Ricky E. Frazier has purchased the building from a Babylon corporation, 85-87 Public Square Properties LLC, for $125,000, according to the Jefferson County clerk’s office. The property is assessed for $88,500.

But Peter J. Dephtereos, a third-generation restaurateur and current co-owner of the Crystal, said Sunday that his customers can continue to rely on the Crystal’s meatloaf lunch special, the inexpensive dinner menu, the Tom and Jerry rum-and-brandy concoction and its aged wooden booths.

He expects the Crystal will stay at its present location. “As of today, business as usual,” Mr. Dephtereos said.

The Dephtereos family had hoped to buy the building from its former owner, but a proposed deal was never consummated, Mr. Dephtereos said. Sources in City Hall said the former owner had upped the price at the last minute; Mr. Dephtereos declined to comment.

[Read more…]