The historic Trader Mansion in Lewes, home to The Buttery for more than 20 years, is back on the market.
Owner Wilson Gates converted the space at the corner of Second Street and Savannah Road into the 2nd Street Tavern in 2019 and will continue to operate the restaurant until a buyer is found.
“I realize this could take a year or two,” he said. “This is a very slow exit strategy. I’m not in a rush.”
The building is listed with Keller Williams for $2.295 million. Records show the building last sold for $1.2 million in 2016.
In the four years he’s owned the building, Gates said he’s done extensive work to the late 19th century home. He said he quickly learned the trials and tribulations of owning a home that dates back to 1894.
“I’ve seen behind every wall and under every floorboard,” Gates said. “When we started to open it up, it was kind of a domino effect.”
He replaced floor joists and shored up the foundation, among other upgrades. He was able to preserve the original hardwood floors and hand-carved crown molding, the things he said make the home special.
The Trader Mansion was once home to many generations of the family of that name. In the 1990s, it was home to a few retail stores before John Donato and Twain Gonzalez opened The Buttery in 1999.
Gates tried to continue The Buttery tradition for a few years, but decided to make a change in 2019.
“That was someone else’s vision, their dream, their passion,” Gates said. “I tried to keep it alive, but I could never do it as well as someone who originates it.”
With the 2nd Street Tavern, he said, he’s trying to create a more casual atmosphere where people can hang out with friends, have a few drinks and grab a small bite to eat. He renovated the inside to create a lounge area with cocktail tables and couches, and a bigger bar to accommodate a larger draft beer selection.
“I wanted to maintain that eclectic feel of the building with good music, good libations – the whole works,” he said.