By Ralph Dickerson
Starting roughly two weeks ago the owner of Tre’Viones Restaurant in Hawesville, George Banks, began to move items from the Hawesville location and take them to the store he opened in Owensboro. With him moving equipment and other things from the Hawesville location, a question arose over whether he planned to permanently close the restaurant. When asked, Banks said no.
“It is only temporarily closed for about a month,” Banks said. “That is about it, then we will open it back up.”
Banks said he plans to concentrate on the Owensboro location over the next month, while also renovating both the restaurant and the menu. Banks said he plans to revamp the menu here to focus on items that can quickly be cooked and sent out to customers in 15 minutes or less.
Banks said he does not plan to permanently shut down the restaurant because he put much work into the store here. In addition, banks said he owns the building.
On that point, a question exists over the ownership of the Rosenblatt building. Walter Hawes III said the building remains in his name.
“We had an agreement for him to buy out the building over time,” Hawes said in a phone conversation. “That process is not complete, and the building is still in my name.”
Hawes said when he first heard rumors Banks planned to open a restaurant in Owensboro, he called him and asked him about it. Hawes said Banks told him he planned to keep the Hawesville restaurant open.
“I have not heard anything since,” Hawes said.
If Banks does not reopen the business, and does not complete the transaction to purchase the building, what can be done with the store? Hawes said when the restaurant opened he wanted the business to succeed to give downtown Hawesville a destination spot for the people of the community.
“Our purpose has always been to do the right thing by the town and make the building a good establishment whatever type of business is in there,” Hawes said.
The Rosenblatt building has stood on the corner of Main Street and Main Cross for over 100 years, and is on the National Registry, Hawes said. Built in the mid-1800s, the building housed the Brown and Duncan Store, and it operated as a General Store.
In an 1850 issue of the Pick and Plow, an early newspaper in Hawesville, an advertisement exists for the Brown and Duncan Store, and the ad lists the location as the corner of Main and Main Cross Streets.
The Samuel Rosenblatt family purchased the building sometime around the turn of the 20th century. Born Samuel Braun in Romania in 1861, Rosenblatt changed his name when he came to the United States. The family located in Hancock County in 1898, and Rosenblatt later opened a store in Hancock County. The first Rosenblatt store existed in a building across the street in Hawesville, but eventually moved into what was then the Tabor building at the corner of Main and Main Cross streets. The store founded by Samuel Rosenblatt survived for over 60 years before finally closing.
The Rosenblatt building has been a fixture in Hawesville and Hancock County since before the United States Civil War. So many different businesses called the building home. Over the past 20 years several different establishments existed in the building such as Rack and Snack, Irby’s Restaurant and other enterprises. With this storied history behind it, current owner Walter Hawes III said he wants to take time to decide what to do with the building if Banks does not reopen his restaurant.