News & Insights

Revitalizing Jeffersonville’s Main Street one business at a time

Tavern on Main opened last fall and has quickly become a fixture on Jeffersonville’s Main Street. That’s exactly what owners Lauren Seikaly and Michael Huber intended – a place for the community to not only gather, but also sit and stay awhile.

Now, the husband-and-wife duo are expanding their business. They purchased surrounding properties and plans are already underway to create a new event space and bakery.

Seikaly said they receive many phone calls from people who want to hold private events. But the restaurant isn’t quite big enough to fit them. So, 52 and Vine, the wine and liquor store that they own next door, will be moving, and they will turn that space into a private dining room. They recently bought the house next door to Tavern on Main, which belonged to the Erdman family for over 100 years.

The house has a barn and building in the back, which used to be Brandenburg Bakery. This house will now be 52 and Vine, and the current liquor store will be turned into a private dining room.

In addition, Seikaly and Huber bought the building across the street that used to be the Jacob Epstein Law office. The couple had always admired the building and was sad to see it in deteriorating condition. So they bought it. Unfortunately, the building was in such bad shape that it could not be saved, and it had to be torn down. The couple will start constructing a new building that will be a bakery and café.

“The mission is to bring people out of their homes and bring them together,” Seikaly said of the planned bakery. “We want an environment where people can meet friends there and sit by the fire.” It will be called the Jeffersonville Baking Company, which is a nod to the past as there was a business in town called the Jeffersonville Supply Company. The second floor will be used as a large event space, where people can rent the space to be used for anything from a rehearsal dinner to a baby shower.

Construction will begin this summer and they hope to open the bakery in the fall. It will offer baked goods as well as healthier options.

“We think of it as being able to come in and buy fresh bread but also a place where kids can come after school to do their homework, or moms can come in while their kids are at soccer practice,” Seikaly said.

On Memorial Day Weekend a beer garden opened in the backyard of Tavern on Main. It offers German beers and food, like bratwurst. Every Friday of the summer it will host a clambake with lobster, oysters and of course, clams. Sprinkles, the ice cream shop, also opened on Memorial Day weekend.

With four businesses already open and a fourth on the way, Seikaly and Huber have bolstered the Jeffersonville business community and are taking part in the revitalization of a town once almost entirely shut down.

This community activism is a change for Seikaly and her husband. The couple still lives full-time in the city and has a country house seven minutes outside of town.

Seikaly was an actress and had a 15-year career in theater and acting. Much of her time was dedicated to an all-female improv comedy show that she produced. In 2013 she found out that she had breast cancer so she took a break from work, and started focusing her time on non-profit endeavors and her kid’s school. Her husband owns a private equity firm.

The couple discovered the area after September 11, when they wanted an escape from the city. Seikaly described how, after the terrible events of 9/11, they were walking around their neighborhood in the West Village in a daze, when they came across pictures of houses for sale.

They originally bought a house in Ferndale, but bought their current house in Jeffersonville in 2011. The couple’s two daughters, ages 9 and 11, still go to school in the city but they come up on weekends and Seikaly and the kids spend their whole summers here.

Now they are gearing up for a busy summer season and continuing work on their new ventures.

“We believe in the future of Jeffersonville,” Seikaly said. “The Tavern has shown there is a positive future ahead.”

By Isabel Braverman