By Lisa Carolin
Amidst the celebrations taking place in Chelsea during Chocolate Extravaganza on Feb. 6, none has the history of Seitz’s Tavern, which is observing its 100th anniversary this year.
Owner Randy Seitz was handing out slices of the chocolate birthday cake that greeted visitors to the tavern that day, which has many fans.
It all began in 1916 when Randy’s grandfather George Seitz purchased the tavern from Tommy McNamara, when it was located across the street.In 1928, George Seitz bought the building at 110 W. Middle St. where the business remains.
Randy’s Father, Junior Seitz, returned from serving in World War II and took over the business in 1948, and Randy came aboard in 1976 after college and has been running it for more than 40 years.
“This place has made me a living and put three kids through college,” said Randy Seitz, who is 61. “It’s meant long hours and hard work.”
He says among the changes he’s seen over the years is the makeup of the clientele. When there were more factory workers in Chelsea, Seitz’s was what he called a “blue collar bar.”
His favorite aspect of owning the business is, “Talking to the people. We get a lot of the same people, and a lot of characters who are great to be around. That’s what I really enjoy.”
Seitz estimates that 90 percent of his patrons used to be from Chelsea. Now they come from all over.
“We are part of the tour when you come to Chelsea,” explained Seitz.
He says that people like to come there to talk and socialize. There is no music, and the fare is basic – chili, hamburgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, and finger food.
Another big change Seitz has seen is the beer selection.
“We used to have 10 beers,” he said. “Since all the microbreweries, we have a lot more beers. There’s something new coming out all the time.”
Although the tavern sells wines, Seitz says it’s not a focal point.
“Our wines are plain and simple. Nothing fancy. That’s how we try to keep this place – plain and simple and the way it was. If it works, keep it going.”
As for the future of the tavern, Seitz says his family is all out of state.
“It’s set up to sell, but I’m still here, and until I reach more of a retirement age, I won’t sell.”