By RICK STEELHAMMER
SUTTON, W.Va. — Cafe Cimino Country Inn, a pioneer in West Virginia’s farm-to-table dining movement and winner of numerous culinary and travel industry awards, is for sale as its owners contemplate retirement.
“We’re trying to plan our exit strategy with as much love as we put into building our business,” said Melody Urbanic, who, with her husband, Tim, opened Cafe Cimino in a former hardware store in downtown Sutton in 1999.
“We are looking for a new owner who, ideally, would keep the staff and continue to operate a great restaurant and inn with a comfortable, relaxed atmosphere,” she said.
After developing a menu that made use of fresh produce from the Urbanics’ family farm, managed by their son and sous chef, Eli, and other farms in the area, the restaurant developed a clientele that quickly spread statewide and beyond.
In 2007, the Urbanics moved their operation into an 1898 mansion located on the shore of the Elk River, two blocks from their original site. The new location allowed them to open 10 luxury guest rooms, all with private baths and air conditioning, and a full bar and riverside restaurant.
Cafe Cimino Country Inn has earned the American Culinary Federation’s Achievement of Excellence Award, the Best Chefs America award, was a regional nominee for the James Beard Award for culinary excellence and was named named one of the 20 best inns in the South last year by Southern Living magazine.
“We’ve been gradually cutting back in our involvement for the past five years,” said Melody Urbanic. “We’re only here in the summer and fall and spend the rest of the year in Florida. Eli and all the kids, who have worked here for years and feel like family, keep things going.
“Everything’s in great shape. It would be a true turnkey operation for the next owner, although we’d be willing to stay on and help with the transition.”
The property was listed earlier this month with Howard Hanna Premier Properties in Morgantown. Asking price is $2.2 million.
“The process of selling may take a while,” Melody Urbanic said. “If it does, we’ll keep on doing what we’re doing now. We’re trying to retire, but we’re not in a bad position.
“We’ve had a great time here.”
Reach Rick Steelhammer at [email protected], 304-348-5169 or follow @rsteelhammer on Twitter.