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Lovett's Inn under new ownership

Michelle Ilyadis and Martin Gregory are the new owners of the historic Lovett's Inn and Restaurant in Franconia. The couple spent several months renovating and upgrading the property after purchasing it in February. The Inn has been open to the public for one month. (Photo by Angel Larcom) (click for larger version)
August 14, 2019
FRANCONIA — There is no doubt that Lovett's Inn is one of Franconia's most enduring historical landmarks. Now, the Inn boasts new owners and a fresh take on its public areas.

Michelle Ilyadis and Martyn Gregory purchased Lovett's Inn in February and spent the next five months bringing the property up to code. They opened their doors four weeks ago, and now offer dinner service to the local community as well as guests.

Ilyadis is a chef by trade and has a long history in the service industry. Before relocating to Franconia, she owned and operated The Queens Pub and Grill in Manchester. Her partner, Martyn Gregory, is a broadcast engineer and frequently commutes to Washington, D.C., where he works for Voice of America, the country's largest international broadcaster.

"Franconia has always been beautiful to me," said Ilyadis. "We were looking for available inns that had a restaurant. Properties in North Conway didn't appeal to me as much. I wanted to focus on the community and its people and you can't do that in the city as easily as you can here."

Formerly known as the Lafayette Brook Farm, Lovett's Inn was built, and built well, in 1784.

"We had the property inspected, and they said this building isn't going down without a wrecking ball," said Ilyadis. "The United States didn't even have a President when this place was built."

Lovett's Inn offers 18 rooms, 13 of which are quaint cottages scattered across the property. There are five rooms available in the original building and live music is frequently offered on the back deck.

The restaurant at Lovett's Inn is open to the public. According to Ilyadis, this has not always been the case.

"For the last 30 years, it's been a fine dining, white linen tablecloth restaurant; so many locals have not been here," she said.

"We've only been open for four weeks, and we already have local, repeat customers," said Ilyadis.

She bakes up to 30 loaves of fresh bread daily for dinner service.

Although Ilyadis has been a chef and restaurant owner in the past, this is the first time she has ventured into the world of an innkeeper. Both she and Gregory said their biggest challenge so far has been staffing.

"It seems to be difficult to find restaurant staff in this area," said Gregory.

The restaurant at Lovett's Inn is open to the public at 4:30 p.m. daily. While dinner service stops at 9 p.m., Ilyadis said a pub menu is available for the later hours. To learn more about Lovett's Inn, visit the Web site at www.lovettsinn.com or call the new innkeepers at 823-7761.

Varney Smith
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