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Kaufman House Owner Still Hopes to Reopen After Devastating Fire

The landmark Zelienople restaurant has been embroiled in disputes and litigation since it closed almost two years ago.

The owner of the landmark Kaufman House restaurant in Zelienople tells the Pittsburgh Tribune Review that he hopes to reopen in the fall—but isn't exactly sure when it will happen.

The 110-year-old restaurant at 105 South Main St. has been closed since Oct. 5 2011,

The fire started in a kitchen gas-fired broiler and spread into the exhaust ducts. The Trib reports the restaurant's closing resulted in the loss of 50 jobs and a loss to the local economy in the borough of about 3,800 people.

The newspaper reports that Ken Pilarski, who purchased the restaurant in 1974, has been embroiled in disputes and litigation with insurance, restoration and cleaning companies ever since.

Countywide Restoration of Cranberry, the company that did the initial cleanup of the Kaufmann House, is suing Pilarski, demanding $63,802 in payment.

Pilarski, meanwhile, is suing the QBE Insurance Corp. of New York, the Schaffer's Air Conditioning Systems Cleaning & Fire Protection of Prospect and the ABC Fire Extinguisher Co. of Ross, a fire protection and safety company.

The family tells customers on the restaurant's website that a reopening date has not been set. 

"I appreciate all of the calls and letters and we will reopen as soon as possible," the message reads.

Do you miss the Kaufman House? Do you hope the restaurant will reopen soon? Tell us in the comment section below.

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Pat Harmon May 01, 2013 at 12:10 PM
I was just thinking/wondering about this restaurant the other day. Thanks for the info.
ND May 01, 2013 at 12:39 PM
Oh how I miss the K House!!! Zelie just isn't the same without it :( Hoping things work out & our little town can return to normal.
Jerry Stephenson May 01, 2013 at 01:04 PM
This was a family tradition after church. We also liked to bring guest here for their great Prime Rib and other dinner specials. My daughter still has here crayon drawings from the back of the placemats. We miss the Kaufman House. Please come back
Mark May 01, 2013 at 01:29 PM
So sad. This was our post-church Sunday stop, as well, not to mention periodic special dinners. It's great to see the business development in Harmony and the wonderful park improvements in Zelie but a vibrant Main St. would be nice. Maybe when the construction is over? Best wishes to the K-House, come back, we need you.
Lou Ann Soltesz May 01, 2013 at 04:45 PM
A lot of people miss The Kaufman House! It's the major point to Zelienople. People ask for directions and if The Kaufman House is mentioned, everyone can relate to it or find it easily. Trust me there are a lot of stories and long time history behind this place and good food friendships and good times there and we should carry on with tradition and bring something back into this town! We love Zelienople with its OLD FASHIONED PLACE WITH OLD FASHION GRACE!!!
Colleen Peirce May 02, 2013 at 01:25 AM
Miss the Kaufman House, it is the heart of the town
Irish Queen May 02, 2013 at 01:52 AM
We really miss the K House especially with the wonderfully restored Strand Theater. It would be great to be able to dine there before or after one of the presentations at The Strand - what a great day out! Please come back!
EB May 03, 2013 at 01:12 PM
The K House was a nice place to eat and have a family gathering. But I have to make a serious point here - According to reports "The fire started in a kitchen gas-fired broiler and spread into the exhaust ducts." What does this tell us about how clean the kitchen was kept? The fire would not have spread if there wasn't years of built up grease caked on the broiler and ducts. Now that I know what caused the fire, I'm not so sure that I want to eat in a place that doesn't keep the kitchen clean.
David Antonini May 06, 2013 at 10:28 PM
I worked here for almost 10 years since the age of 15. I quit 3 months prior to the fire in 2011. I moved away but when I return home, Zelienople is just not the same without the Kaufman House. This place was like a home away from home for me for a long time and I sincerely hope they reopen as soon as possible. This type of family owned restaurant in the world of commercialization and coroprate chains is a dying breed and the entire community will be far better off once the Kaufman House reopens its doors.
Karen Henderson May 10, 2013 at 10:00 AM
Ohhhh, they had the best crab cakes ever!
Rege Seaman January 14, 2014 at 06:26 AM
This was our family's Sunday place to eat , we miss it. Zelienople is not the same without it and all the rumors or reopening, were just let downs. It will be 3 years, Is it ever going to open, or will we just keep riding by and thinking "I remember when? "

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