Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Montcalm, a Lake George icon, to close

April Dowd photo
QUEENSBURY -- Back in the mid-1950s, before there was a Northway, locals and visitors who braved the jammed Route 9 pilgrimage route to Lake George frequently stopped at the Montcalm restaurant, adjacent to Fort William Henry in the village.

Along came 1970 and business was going so well that Gus and Josie Beckos decided to expand their enterprise by adding Montcalm South on property they owned down Routh 9 here in Queensbury. At one time, they even had a Dino's Montcalm.

But, as time went by and the market and the economy went through various dips, the old Dino's gave way to Waterslide World, and the Beckos family concentrated solely on its very successful Queensbury restaurant -- stubbornly called Montcalm South by some oldtimers, though it's the one and only Montcalm.

I recall dining at the original Montcalm as a kid when my family drove up from Long Island. When I moved to the Capital Region back in the '70s, I was pleased to find the Queensbury Montcalm in operation.

Now, just as childhood memories begin to fade, so will the Montcalm.

Owner Dean Beckos, son of Josie and the late Gus, has announced plans to shutter the restaurant after the coming summer season, probably around Labor Day.

The property is being sold to an undisclosed buyer and apparently will be demolished to make way for shopping space, in keeping with the cluster of retail outlet brand-name stores across the road.

In an e-mail to The Post-Star on Monday, Beckos said, "Over the years our customers have relied on our reputation for gracious dining and exceptional service. Our love for food and our dedicated and professional staff is what has sustained that effort. We will certainly continue that tradition seven days a week, lunch and dinner, until we close,” he wrote. “It has been our honor to serve you for all these years and we extend our deepest gratitude for your long-time patronage.” 

Beckos, 60, has not ruled out recreating a Montcalm elsewhere. Considering the following the establishment has developed over the decades among both locals and seasonal visitors, the Adirondack log cabin atmosphere and classic comfort food menu would otherwise be greatly missed.

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