New owner of Stockton landmark attends board meeting

STOCKTON – James Bensink, the new owner of the Stockton Grill and Tavern (formerly the Stockton Hotel), attended the recent meeting of the Stockton Town Board. He introduced himself, supplied some information about himself, and said he hoped for a good relationship with the community. After the meeting, he handed out business cards.

Bensink said his company is involved in real estate development. “We bought the business to strip it down,” he said. He said he knew the former owners. After seeing the inside, Bensink concluded he would like to run a business there.

“It’s an uphill battle since we are not experienced (with a restaurant). We do have some family members who are executives in Coca-Cola,” he said.

Bensink said that business will be called Stockton Grill & Tavern. The sign on the building says the Stockton Hotel but Bensink finds the name confuses his friends and acquaintances. “They ask me how many rooms I have,” he said.

Bensink was complimentary toward the Stockton Town Board. He was impressed that supervisor Dave Wilson called him once the building was purchased and offered whatever assistance he could.

Bensink said he has a “small issue with a liquor license” but hopes to open around June 1. He has already met with Sam Mancuso, the town’s code enforcement officer.

“Mancuso has done a very good job; he has been even-handed in his interpretations,” said Bensink.

Bensink said that while he doesn’t agree with the codes, he is “super big on following code. We comply 100 percent. It’s how we can keep our (insurance) rates low.”

Bensink said he liked the banners in town. He would like to line the building with flags.

“I don’t like people who are not patriotic,” he said.

Councilman John Beichner said, “We are super excited as a board to have you here.”

Wilson agreed. “We welcome you; let us know if we can do anything or help you along,” he said.

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