State Fair restaurant Empire Room likely to remain closed during the Fair

A state-owned restaurant at the New York State Fair will likely remain closed when the fair opens next week, despite undergoing hundreds of thousands of dollars in renovations.

The Post-Standard reports that the state hasn't found a caterer to lease the Empire Room, a year-round restaurant located on the fairgrounds in suburban Geddes.

The newspaper reports that the state spent $850,000 to renovate the restaurant last year to make it more attractive to vendors. A Syracuse restaurant was offered a bid to operate the eatery but turned down the offer, saying the contract was awarded too late.

State officials say they're still trying to land a caterer for the restaurant.

Dave Bullard, Assistant Public Information Officer for the State Fair, tells CNY Central, "There are two luncheons booked for the Empire Room during the Fair â?? Womenâ??s Day and Dairy Day. We are actively pursuing options to ensure the success of these events.â??

The Empire Room has been the subject of numerous problems in recent years, which led to two State Inspector General investigations and the firing of a top-level state official and the firing of a former State Fair director.

Two years ago, Peter Cappuccilli pleaded guilty to official misconduct after receiving a discount for his daughter's wedding from an Empire Room caterer.

The fair opens Aug. 22 and runs through Labor Day, Sept. 2.

(Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.)