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Capitol Hotel gaining new owners, restaurant

Mirror photo by Walt Frank / Mylei Henry (left), a server, and owner Maddy Martinsen look over a menu at the Mayfield Restaurant, which soon will be moving to the Capitol Hotel building on the Diamond in Hollidaysburg.

HOLLIDAYSBURG — The Capitol Hotel building soon will have a new owner and a new restaurant.

Brian Laratonda is selling the downtown landmark to an investor who wants to remain anonymous.

The hotel, originally built in the 1860s, was torn down and rebuilt around the turn of the century with a grand reopening in December 1905, Laratonda said.

The building has been in the Laratonda family since 1970 when his parents, Gene and Janet, purchased the hotel.

Brian and his brother, Lance, purchased the building from their parents on an article of agreement in 1992. In 2014, Brian bought out his brother, who purchased the Old Canal Inn.

“Fifty-plus years later, that is where we are at,” Laratonda said.

Laratonda said he had thought about selling the building about five years ago but didn’t and then came the pandemic. He said business had been down about 60% since the start of the pandemic. He closed the coffee shop in September 2021.

The coffee shop was a favorite place for business people, but the Pipe Roombar carried the place. It is still open four days a week, Laratonda said.

Laratonda said the investor who was interested in the property contacted him.

“After one and half months, he talked me into it, and that made me happy. They will be able to run the place and fix it up. It is an established pot of gold,” Laratonda said. “The biggest reason it came together was because of the family buying it. I have known them forever.”

Once the sale is completed, Maddy Martinsen, owner of the Mayfield Restaurant, will lease the building from the new owner and bring her restaurant into the coffee shop location.

“I will be renting the entire building,” Martinsen said, noting that the building includes two apartments and 13 individual rooms upstairs, and most are occupied.

Mayfield opened in November 2020, during the pandemic, at 205 Allegheny St. Martinsen said she hopes to open the restaurant in its new location in the late summer or early fall after the liquor license is transferred to her.

The move will give the restaurant more space.

“We now just have room for 26 guests. It gets loud and crowded, plus with a liquor license, we will be able to expand our menu in terms of beverages. This will about triple our seating capacity,” Martinsen said.

She also hopes to add to her menu.

“We try to have something for everyone. We have simple food. We buy as much as we can locally from vendors and farms. It is pretty much homemade from scratch. It is new America, a little bit of everything,” Martinsen said. “We will be adding to dinner options; we want to be able to pair wine with meals.”

The restaurant will continue to offer online ordering and takeout as well as continue with a monthly diners club where diners come for a multi-course set menu to experience something a little different than the usual offering.

Business hours have not been set for the new location, but Martinsen said tentative plans call for serving lunch and dinner.

She is excited about moving to the new location.

“I always admired the building for its historic place in Hollidaysburg. When I first opened, I said years down the road I would like to find a bigger place and stay in Hollidaysburg,” she said. “This was the perfect opportunity. My eyes were always on a bigger building, and they were looking for a tenant.”

The location in the heart of Hollidaysburg, on the Diamond, is an added bonus, she said.

Lancaster native Adam Baumbach, who has been in the hospitality business for several years, will be managing the restaurant for Martinsen, who is a graduate of the culinary arts program at Johnson and Wales University.

“We are excited. I believe in Maddy’s philosophy that there is a plate for everyone,” Baumbach said.

Martinsen and Baumbach expect a smooth transition to the new location.

“I really appreciate the Laratonda family,” Martinsen said. “They have been helpful during the process and passing on part of their family history. They have been kind and accepting through the whole process.”

“We are appreciative of the Laratondas keeping it going for two generations, and we want to continue the work that they started,” Baumbach said.

Laratonda is pleased Mayfield will be moving into the building.

“I am excited about Maddy taking over. She has some great ideas and will be able to update it,” Laratonda said.

Mirror Staff Writer Walt Frank is at 814-946-7467.

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