By DANIEL OFFNER
It is often said, as one road ends, another begins. Well, that is precisely the case for Harrison’s central business district, which, in past decades, has struggled to attract and maintain commerce downtown.
However, for one business, success outside the town’s jurisdiction has made a vacant storefront within the Claremon Shopping center—located at the crossroads of Halstead and Oakland avenues—a prime location to expand.
Following the success of its flagship restaurant in Yorktown Heights, the property at 385 Halstead Ave. will soon become home to the Jewel of the Himalaya, a restaurant specializing in Nepalese and Tibetan cuisine.
According to the restaurant’s owner, Gyaljen Nuru Sherpa, the success of the Yorktown location, coupled with encouragement from customers to open another location, drove the Jewel to Harrison.
“We wanted the opportunity to serve southern Westchester,” Sherpa said. “We can’t wait to open.”
Setting sights on Harrison, this family-run business currently manages several pan-Asian restaurants, but only two of those locations serve authentic cuisine from the Himalayan region. With over a decade in the food service industry, Sherpa said he plans to create a welcoming environment, providing patrons with a consistent quality of food at a reasonable price.
Harrison Chamber of Commerce President Anthony D’Arpino, who owns the Harrison Wine Vault, located at 289 Halstead Ave., said that managerial experience is key to any successful business.
“Experience is always a factor,” D’Arpino said. “Having one restaurant that is already a success is a good starting point.”
But, while the high-traffic location seems ideal for a new restaurant, the property has been in a continued state of flux over the years.
Formerly the site of the Soho Bistro Bar and Grille, the property shuttered doors last year because of electrical issues caused in Hurricane Sandy’s rampage through the region.
Bistro owner John Stubenvoll told The Harrison Report back in December that, despite the electrical complications and minor flood damage, the “final straw” came after a month of waiting for the arrival of an insurance claims adjuster.
“We didn’t want it to happen, but looking back in our rearview mirror, it’s a blessing in disguise,” said Stubenvoll. “The place was cursed…whoever moves in, I hope they hit the ground running. Harrison is a hard town and I hope they have all their gears in alignment.”
Prior to the Soho Bistro, the property switched tenants several times over the past decade. It was previously home to Pastore’s of Harrison, A’Tavola Bistro and Seasons restaurant.
According to JoAnn Hahn, owner of the adjacent liquor store Friendly Spirits, many have come and gone at 385 Halstead, which she remembers was once upon a time, a diner. For Hahn, one of the biggest reasons that restaurants have struggled at the location is due to the amount of competition in town and how expensive it was to dine.
“We don’t need another restaurant in Harrison,” Hahn said. “Especially in a shopping center.”
Despite all the concern and cautionary tales from previous tenants, Sherpa said he is not worried about the new location. With several years experience under his belt, Sherpa said he remains undaunted and excited.
“If you serve with dignity…no matter where you put it, it will survive,” he said.
According to Sherpa, the Jewel of the Himalaya is currently waiting to receive its liquor license from the state and plans to open doors in Harrison within a week’s time.