HELL'S KITCHEN — His daughter may be a hero on TV, but Skip Panettiere is the one performing a New York miracle: bringing a classic local bar back to life.
The bar closed in October after its owners ran into "lease issues," according to Jeremiah's Vanishing New York.
Panettiere will reopen it, largely unchanged, in March, "so people can have back that home that they thought they had," he told DNAinfo New York.
"First, when I took it over, the idea was to change it," said Panettiere, a retired New York firefighter. After locals lamented the closure, he reconsidered.
"Why don't we just keep it the same," he said, "so everything in New York doesn't get ruined."
The bar's classic light-up sign was restored, Panettiere said, and its dark wood tables and bars freshly polished.
The menu will get an update: "a nice chili, some nice meatballs," Panettiere said. The new chef might also add oysters or a truffle burger, he added.
There is a new pull-down screen for watching sports, along with flat-screen televisions, and new lines for the kegs. He said he expected his daughter to stop by and sing a song once in a while.
But for the most part, things will be as they were. Karaoke night will be reinstituted on Tuesdays, Panettiere said, and he hopes to bring back some well-liked staff.
Panettiere said he hoped the place would feel "kind of like the firehouse, where everyone has each other's back."
"I hope people come in and feel like they're back," he said. "That Smith's wasn't taken away."