The coronavirus has prevented The Soda Fountain in Remsen from opening this year, and now its owner says the future of the iconic restaurant is "in limbo."

The Soda Fountain has been open for 11 years, ever since Steve Boucher decided to come back to his hometown after a successful career in sales to open the retro-inspired restaurant.

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The Soda Fountain, with its 50s decor and authentic jukebox, is the kind of restaurant you make a point of traveling to. For many, its part of their summer tradition, as they travel from a vacation up north, or enjoy the Remsen Barn Fest, which happens right outside the diner's doors.


This year, the Remsen Barn Fest has gone entirely online, and tourism is suffering as the pandemic takes it toll. Steve Boucher says he and his wife, Lynn, had been thinking about the future of the restaurant even before COVID-19 hit.

"We thought we might relocate the restaurant to Utica, where business would be less seasonal. Seasonal is good, but it can be stressful when people are depending on your for their livelihoods."

Boucher says the Village of Remsen has approached him about purchasing the Soda Fountain's building for use as village offices. The potential purchase had been discussed in public meetings, and was progressing when the pandemic struck. Boucher says, in light of uncertainty and declining revenues, the village has put things on hold.

Now, Boucher says, he and his wife are still trying to decide whether to reopen the restaurant next year, or to work towards a move to Utica. "Right now, it's in limbo."


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