By Kellen M. Quigley
A staple in the Springville community for nearly two decades, The Legacy restaurant on the corner of East Main and South Buffalo streets will see its own legacy continue with new management.
Nick Rhinehart, of Cattaraugus, officially took over the business last week from longtime owners Ted and Kathy Winkey, of Springville, beginning a new era for the dining establishment.
“You hope to find the right people with a combination of knowledge, background, experience, motivation and drive to take the reins out of my hands,” Ted Winkey said. “Nick’s got them now.”
Rhinehart, 31, has been cooking nearly his whole life, starting in the kitchen with his grandmother while in elementary school.
“I did that for a while,” he said. “She was teaching me in the kitchen.”
He began his formal culinary education at Ellicottville BOCES before moving onto the Louisiana Culinary Institute in Baton Rouge with his future wife, Ashley, whom he met at BOCES.
Rhinehart spent several years in Louisiana at several food establishments before coming home to work at the Seneca Allegany Resort and Casino’s steakhouse and most recently the Pub House in Ellicottville.
“Then I found this place and now we’re here,” he said. “After working in a lot of different restaurants, you see what works and what doesn’t work.”
The Legacy can be found at 3 East Main St. in the heart of Springville, a building that has been a part of the village’s history for over a century. Before it became The Legacy, Winkey, 70, said the building had been used as a drug store, a liquor store and most recently a pizza place in the 1980s until the Winkeys came along in 1999.
“It was from that lady that I made the original purchase,” he said.
After about a year of renovations — including completely redoing the abandoned second floor — the restaurant originally opened in 2000, Winkey said. After a good run for several years, The Legacy temporarily closed its doors in 2006.
“My wife came to me one day and said, ‘Do you realize that in the past seven years, we’ve had one six-day vacation?’” he said. “Our idea was to go back to one full-time job instead of two.”
While it was closed, the Winkey family was able to enjoy more time together along with put more attention into their insurance business.
After waiting for the economy to improve after the financial crash in 2008, the restaurant had its grand re-opening in January 2018, but Winkey said they were already planning to sell it.
“It’s tough to sell something when people haven’t see in it operate, if they haven’t seen any goodness in it,” he said. “To me it was a bit of unfinished business, and I wanted to get this baby back on her feet and get it operational.”
Rhinehart said the idea to buy The Legacy first came about in the fall of 2018. He said it took a couple months for all the paperwork and legal requirements to be completed, but the restaurant officially opened in his hands on March 5, Mardi Gras.
“It was a nice coincidence since I had come from Louisia, so it was kind of strange how it happened like that,” he added.
Thanks to the work the Winkeys had put into the business years ago and in 2018, Rhinehart said there isn’t much to do as far as renovations or upgrades.
“The one thing that we’re hoping to do in the future that hasn’t been done is offer off-site catering to people for parties that don’t fit here,” he said.
Rhinehart said they’re also hoping to offer different lunches and to-go options for those who can’t necessarily sit down for lunch. Otherwise, the menu should remain mostly familiar for regular patrons.
“The big selling point for me has been the upstairs and the way it’s set up is really nice,” he said. “For other features, that stairwell is pretty unique. It’s almost the focal point of the restaurant.”
In the future, Rhinehart said he hopes to update some of the technology in the building, such as the POS system, but still hope to “keep the same dining experience” begun years ago by the Winkeys.
“It’s been a great thing to see finally come to fruition and effectively blossom,” Ted Winkey said. “A lot of good times have been had here.”
The Legacy is open Monday through Thursday 11 a.m. to 8: 30 p.m., Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
For more information, visit their website, www.thelegecyrestaurant.com, or call 592-3300.