In Dining

Transfer uncovered this Haven Bar sign and now it's paying tribute.

Transfer Pizza uncovers and might revive The Haven Bar name

In 2015, brothers John and Russell Rossetto – owners of Transfer Pizza – bought the former bar building next door at 107 W. Mitchell St. On the west facade of the bar they've uncovered an old sign advertising The Haven Bar.

Yesterday, a friend sent me a photograph of the sign and said a Transfer employee told him that the pizzeria, which opened in 2008 at 101 W. Mitchell St., is opening a bar area in the building and will name it The Haven Bar.

That's not exactly true, according to John Rossetto.

"We are not opening a bar, but we are expanding into that building for new kitchen space and another room for events," he says. "We are joining buildings, but they will maintain separate appearances on the outside, after we obviously do some significant facade improvements on the next door building."

Rossetto says the new kitchen will be dedicated to delivery and takeout orders, a part of the business that the Rossettos hope to expand.

"We long ago hit our ceiling for production from of our current kitchen, so this was needed if we want to continue to grow," Rossetto says. "Also, it should improve the experience for take-out since customers will eventually just enter the new storefront for easier and quicker transactions, especially during peak service."

Meanwhile, the new event space will be larger than the back room currently available at the pizzeria for large group and private events. Rossetto expects that area to be ready in late autumn.

The 107 W. Mitchell St. building has a little more than 2,000 square feet of space.

As for the sign outside, it was uncovered while demolition work was being done on the building's exterior, Rossetto says.

"We love it, so we thought we'd just let it sit up there and be visible a bit longer. At the very least, we are going to try to take the siding down very carefully and see if we can't feature it somewhere. But it's pretty fragile. We will see."

The building was constructed in 1890 as a tavern with a dwelling above.

Designs for some signs for The Haven Bar.

As soon as Prohibition ended, Zigmunt Sobotka brought a tavern back into the space. By 1950, Joe Iwinski – who was born in 1885 and immigrated to the U.S. from Poland with his parents in 1913 – had opened The Haven Bar there.

The Haven lasted at least into the 1970s, when it was run by Rich Iwinski – Joe died in 1968 – and later by Troy Hagge, though the building appears to have been owned by Iwinski's widow Helen at that point.

Later, it was followed by a string of businesses, including Two Brothers Restaurant, Ray Lobo's Copacabana and the Volcan Nite Club.

So, will The Haven Bar name survive?

"We are certainly bouncing around the idea of trying to use it somehow to brand the event space, but nothing has been set," Rossetto says.

Stay tuned!


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