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Perked up: Main Street café reopens under mother-son owners



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Beverly Grant takes the cash register at lunchtime. Erin Plummer. (click for larger version)
February 17, 2010
MEREDITH — The coffee's on, the sandwiches are being served, and there are plenty of muffins for people on Main Street, as the Village Perk has reopened under a team of family owners.

The café at 48 Main Street reopened on Jan. 13 under mother-son owners Beverley and Gregg Grant.

"It's been kind of a life-long dream of ours, both Gregg and I," Beverley Grant said.

The Grants are from Bristol, with Gregg Grant currently living in Center Harbor. Beverley Grant said they would regularly stop at the Village Perk whenever they came into Meredith and said it was the type of place they wanted to manage.

"It closed for a while," she said. "The opportunity presented itself and voila, here we are."

Beverley Grant takes care of most of the management operations and does baking while Gregg Grant does most of the cooking and serving with help from a few other employees.

Beverly Grant managed the Inn on Newfound Lake in Bristol for 14 years and helped with mail order for the Just for Kids catalogue. She currently does mail order management for J. Jill in Tilton.

In August, Gregg Grant will have been in the restaurant industry for 20 years. He started working at the restaurant the Pasquaney Inn in Bridgewater when he was 15 and has worked in several different restaurants in New Hampshire, including the Common Man for eight years, and Washington State, where he lived for a time.

Several members of the family have been helping out at the restaurant as well.

"We sort of kind of have the whole family involved as well," Beverley Grant said.

Chuck Grant, Beverley's husband and Gregg's father, does maintenance and helped set up the restaurant. Dawn Grant, Beverley's daughter and Gregg's sister, helps out and does baking. His other sister Michelle is in China now, but is expected to help out during the summer.

My idea is to make it a very community-minded place," Gregg Grant said. "Have a place for locals to come hang out."

Pieces by local artists adorn the walls and plans are in place for local performances.

The restaurant's grand reopening celebration was on Saturday with bands and events throughout the day.

"We want to gear pretty much to the locals," Beverley Grant said. She said while businesses in the area receive many customers during the summer, "The locals are the ones that are going to keep you there (during) the really bad months. We have to have fun with it to make it a successful business as well."

The Grants started working on the restaurant in November of 2009, and the paperwork was signed for the new ownership on Dec. 15.

"We came into this place and totally cleaned it from the front door, back door, ceiling and floors," Beverley Grant said. "Just spruced it up, redecorated. It was about a month-long process from start to finish. We wanted to open and be ready."

During the month of work, Gregg Grant became a father when his fiancé Rebecca gave birth to their daughter Zoe.

"It's been incredible," Gregg Grant said. "Everything's great; brings a tear to my eye. I can't believe I'm so lucky."

The Village Perk reopened on Jan. 13 to a glowing reception from people in town.

"Everyone in town has been very receptive to the opening," Beverley Grant said.

"I can't tell you how many times we hear, 'I'm so happy that you're open,'" Gregg Grant said.

Gregg Grant said he wanted to have more vegetarian options on the menu, including vegan and gluten-free offerings. Grant said a good portion of the menu is vegetarian.

Baked goods such as muffins, quiches, and pies are made in-house and both of the owners get there early to help with baking.

The new Perk is getting off the ground now, but the owners do have further plans for it. Gregg Grant said they are leaning toward expanding hours in the summer and having more evening options, including musical performances, open mic nights, and other activities. They might also bring in storytellers or even local activities such as a writer's group or children's reading group

The restaurant's back room could be used for private functions with catering provided.

"Down the road I'm looking to expand, but that's down the road," Beverley Grant said. "Working on this place, having it more successful, I am very pleased with the response from the community."

"I'm always looking for ways to constantly improve it," Gregg Grant said. He said they are open to ideas they have received from customers on possible additions, such as having tofu dishes on the menu. "We're working with the community."

The Village Perk is open Sunday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information call the Village Perk at 279-0771.

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