“It is the most exciting thing to happen in Canton in a long time,” said St. Lawrence associate economics professor Peter FitzRandolph of the new restaurant opening in Canton. The restaurant is owned by Rick Cassara, known to many as “Coach,” and is stylishly named The Club.
The restaurant is located on 25 Court Street. The building was once a men’s club with billiard tables and bowling allies in the basement. However, a few restaurants have been in and out since then. The St. Lawrence Inn also used to be located across the street before it was torn down in order to expand the bank. “The Club will serve the clientele that went there and wider,” said FitzRandolph.
Although the other restaurants were unsuccessful, Cassara has the ability to make The Club thrive. “Rick understands the business. He truly is a restaurant owner/ inn keeper/ host. He understands the local market; that he has to have great food, be welcoming, and have a great bar, but not so upscale and expensive as to drive people away,” said FitzRandolph.
Cassara also has a lot of experience because he owns Phoebe’s and operated the Tick Tock as a restaurant before it became a drinking establishment. “The Tick Tock had great Italian food, was warm and comfortable,” said FitzRandolph.
Cassara wants The Club to be a gathering place for everyone in the community. “All people are welcome. College people, local people, young people, old people. Hopefully people will go and feel comfortable, like the food, and come back again.”
The Club will have “straightforward American food,” said Cassara. The prices will also be affordable for students.
Canton Ambassador Alex Showerman ‘10 also thinks The Club will be a great addition to Canton. “I feel that this new restaurant has the opportunity to have a very positive impact on the community. Based on what I have heard, the atmosphere of The Club will be such that both SLU students and community members will be able to hang out and enjoy. There will also be theme nights and various specials that will attract customers throughout the week. I think that if done right, this is a great opportunity to provide a restaurant/bar that this community desperately needs and will keep money from leaving Canton and going to Potsdam.”
FitzRandolph agrees. “It won’t take business away from other Canton restaurants, but may from Potsdam. In general, students go to Potsdam. [The Club] will fill a really important gap.”
The Club could also encourage other businesses to come to Canton. “[I] hope that with multiple successful restaurants, and the many redevelopment projects the village is working on in Canton, that entrepreneurs will begin to see Canton as a community worth investing in and spur even further economic development that both the community and SLU students will benefit from. That being said, some of the responsibility falls on the SLU community to support downtown,” said Showerman.
“I am ecstatic. The community desperately needs what The Club will be,” said FitzRandolph. The Club will open to the public after the first of the year for students and community members to eat, drink, and socialize.