January 2016: Business Scene

NNY Business 5th annual 20 Under 40 Award luncheon

On Dec. 10, NNY Business Magazine and New York Air Brake presented the 5th annual 20 Under 40 luncheon at the Hilton Garden Inn, Watertown, to recognize 20 of Northern New York’s emerging leaders under age 40. Photos by Karee Magee, NNY Business.

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Paddock Club up for sale; owner Robert J. Dalton ‘sick of the winters’


When Robert J. Dalton bought the swanky tavern in 2005, the Paddock Club took up just one storefront in the Paddock Arcade.

Since then, the Paddock Club grew to five storefronts, turned into one of Watertown’s most popular night spots and started serving food three years ago. The night club remains packed on weekends, and Mr. Dalton believes the quaint martini bar will always be successful.

But Mr. Dalton, 49, is ready to call it quits. He announced on Tuesday he’s putting the business up for sale.

“I’m sick of the winters. I’m looking to run to a warmer climate,” he said on a typical winter’s day with the temperatures outside hovering around 20 degrees and snow falling.

He hopes to get “just shy of $1 million,” which includes the business, the Paddock Club name, all of its contents and its reputation, Mr. Dalton said. He leases the space from Watertown RX LLC, a group of local investors.

He hopes whoever buys the business will keep the same “elegant” atmosphere as it offers now.

“I’m looking for the right person,” he said.

In addition to his four employees, just a few other people know of his intentions — he wanted the news to come out before rumors began, Mr. Dalton said.

In the past decade, the night club — decorated in Tiffany lamps, leather sofas, tin ceilings and two fireplaces — has catered to a mixture of people. Business people, blue-collar workers, young professionals, Fort Drum soldiers and “pretty girls” stop by after work for happy hour for a cocktail, get a bite to eat or dance on Friday and Saturday nights.

And now Mr. Dalton is already thinking about the day he finds that right buyer.

“I’m going to miss the people,” he said. “I met a lot of great people.”

In 2005, Mr. Dalton purchased the bar. Mayor Jeffrey E. Graham and Sarah J. Ward were the original owners who opened the business under the Paddock Club name in 1999.

Mr. Dalton, who was the chef at the Partridge Berry Inn in the town of LeRay for 19 years, got the idea for a martini bar after going on a California vacation, where he hung out at a similar establishment during his trip.

He figured that Watertown needed a martini bar, so he took on the rented space in the Paddock Arcade, the oldest downtown shopping arcade in the nation.

“I believe the Arcade is for the long term,” he said.

With the newly refurbished Woolworth Building next door and the redevelopment of the old Mercy Hospital site, downtown is on the verge of a boom, he said.

Despite downtown’s rosy future, Mr. Dalton said it’s time to move on.

“It’s a lot of hard work,” he said, noting he tended bar for the first seven years and still does a lot of the cooking.

Now offering private parties and even hosting art classes there, Mr. Dalton is convinced he turned the bar — the place where he drank before taking over the business — “into a destination place.”

Paddock Arcade building manager Donald G.M. Coon III said the buyer would take over the lease that Mr. Dalton already has with the Paddock Arcade, adding Mr. Dalton has run a successful business.

“Robert is interested in paying attention to detail and is very meticulous at how he runs his business,” Mr. Coon said. “Everything he did he did well.”

If he’s able to sell, Mr. Dalton has no exact plans for what he wants to do with his life. He just wants to make sure whatever it is, the climate is warm, Mr. Dalton said.



By Craig Fox, Times Staff Writer

Small Biz Startup: Vito’s Gourmet

Todd Tarzia, owner of Vito's Gourmet on Watertown's Public Square, opened the restaurant to offer something new and exciting to Watertown's downtown. Photo by Norm Johnston/NNY Business.


To bring new life to downtown Watertown’s Public Square, Todd V. Tarzia decided to renovate a space just outside of the Paddock Arcade into a hip sandwich shop. With its bright colors, huge chalkboard menus and plentiful seating, Vito’s Gourmet, Mr. Tarzia’s shop, might just be the injection of life that the Square needed. [Read more…]

New eatery, shops have made Paddock Arcade upscale haven for Watertown urbanites

Todd V. Tarzia, owner of Vito’s Gourmet, stands in the window during lunch at the new restaurant in the Paddock Arcade. Photo by Justin Sorensen/Watertown Daily Times.

The launch of several shops this year at the Paddock Arcade on Public Square has made it a haven for downtown professionals.

They can get a haircut at the Beauty Bar salon opened in July, or eat dinner at Johnny D’s Restaurant, which has expanded its hours to stay open during evenings Thursday through Saturday. Buying cakes and cookies with Old World decor will be another option when Europe Cakes opens in December; and at the new eatery Vito’s Gourmet, which opened Friday, homemade soups and sandwiches are available on-the-go.

Has the old plaza, built in 1850, made a comeback this year?

“It serves the people downtown all parts of the day,” said Donald G.M. Coon III, Paddock Arcade manager partner. “You can get coffee, breakfast and muffins in the morning, and during the day you have four restaurants open. Then after the day’s off, you have the bar to go to at the Paddock Club, and Johnny D’s open on the weekend.”

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