Niagara Gazette — LEWISTON — When Ed Webster and Ken Scibetta opened the Lewiston Village Pub in January 2008, they didn't know what to expect. But they did know what they wanted to accomplish.
Saturday, the pair celebrated an anniversary most restaurants never get to experience.
"We hoped that with the right vision, drive and community spirit that one day we would be a popular Cheers-type bar and restaurant where everyone would feel comfortable both young and old," Scibetta wrote on the bar's Facebook page. "(That) we would know your name, about your family and truly care about how you felt. We've never looked at our guests as dollar signs and our premise was to always have fun no matter what we did."
The community approach to business has taken them from a two-man operation — the two owners did everything themselves after going in to business — to having many employees and hundreds packed inside the English-style pub for a pint or a bite.
Scibetta has also become a figurehead within the community, joining the Niagara River Region Chamber of Commerce executive board and throwing his very own summer festival each of the last three years in Academy Park.
He said being a part of the community likely made Saturday's five-year party possible.
"Without the community, we're nothing," he said. "My father always taught me to give back to the community. And we have. Our philosophy here has always been a business is only as strong as the community in which it exists."
In honor of the business's success, Scibetta, Webster and the staff gave their loyal customers a free buffet, drink specials and a lot of friendly conversations Saturday. Loyal customers like Mike Myers of Lewiston, who was one of The Pub's first.
In 2008, Myers was moving back to Lewiston from Colorado and, friends with Webster from a previous life at Water Street landing, decided to stop in to the new watering hole to say hello. He hadn't even stopped off at his house at the time.
"I pulled right up out front with the moving truck," he said.
"These guys are such good friends. There were times I didn't have a car, Kenny lent me his car. They helped me with my resume. They've done so much for me."
And there were plenty more stories from many more long-time patrons passed around the bar like that. If the mission was to become a part of the community of Lewiston, Scibetta and Webster certainly succeeded.
"We looked at about 25 other places before finding this place," Scibetta said. "I mean, we looked in Clarence, Williamsville, Snyder, Tonawanda. It was kinda like fate we landed here in Lewiston."