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Downtown Grille Café debuts on Main Street

JUDY AND PETER COLCORD stand in front of the signboard for their new restaurant, Downtown Grille Café, located in the former Hall’s Pharmacy location at 33 South Main St. in Wolfeboro. (Rheanna Bellomo photo) (click for larger version)
August 19, 2010
WOLFEBORO — With floors covered in sawdust, countertops and lumber piled on sawhorses, and contractors, painters and electricians bustling in and out of the building, 33 South Main St. in Wolfeboro has been anything but an empty storefront this summer.

In exactly 45 days, Peter and Judy Colcord completely gutted and transformed the former Hall's Pharmacy into the new and expanded location for Downtown Market Grille (renamed Downtown Grille Café), which made its official Main Street debut this past Tuesday, Aug. 17.

The Colcords, originally from Warner, planned on purchasing the Lakeview Inn; however, negotiations fell apart and the couple was forced to refocus. Peter met with Michelle Fabricant, former owner of the Grille, and reviewed the restaurant's business model for viability. "I saw that this building [33 South Main St.] was empty, and then found out Michelle had been planning on moving here at some point as well," Peter said. "Two trains just met."

On Saturday afternoon, Fabricant closed the restaurant at its Railroad Avenue location for the last time, and ownership was officially passed to Colcord. Peter is the sole owner of the restaurant, while Judy is in charge of marketing/advertising and press relations.

Together, the Colcords are a business-savvy couple. Peter has owned multiple businesses, including an auto accessory distribution company and auto body shop and Judy works in marketing and sales at a title insurance company in Bedford. "We don't have restaurant experience, but we know how to run a business and run it well," Peter said.

The couple has heard a few comments from others regarding competition in the area, specifically criticism that neither Peter nor Judy have experience owning a restaurant. "Sometimes the newbie has fresh ideas and more passion than someone who has been doing this for years," Judy said. "We have the advantage of staff that knows the menu and operations and we have Michelle's expertise and knowledge."

During their transition from Railroad Avenue to Main Street, Fabricant will be accompanying the Grille's staff to make it as smooth as possible. "I won't be here for long, because they are doing so well," she said. "And I will be looking for my next adventure."

Fabricant established Downtown Market Grille five years ago after remodeling an old coffee and internet shop. With 38 seats that filled quickly and forced to turn customers away, she decided an expansion was necessary. In March, she saw the potential of the former Hall's Pharmacy.

"I wasn't pursuing an active sale, but I was looking to expand. At that same time, Peter came into my life," she said. "He wants to take it to the next level and he has the resources to do it. I couldn't be more thrilled."

The new location offers greatly expanded seating, including a dining area in back with picture-window views of Cate Park and Dockside. The Colcords will keep the Fabricant's original Grille menu, but plan to add some of their own flavor. "Peter loves to cook. We will be doing some menu design eventually," Judy said. "We want to add things that are unique and different, or things that are already offered but with a twist." Already added to the menu are daily pastries and danishes from Austrian baker, Franz Andlinger of Bread and Chocolate in Concord. Gelato, an Italian ice cream not offered in Wolfeboro yet, will also be available.

Future plans for Downtown Grille Café are still in the making. Peter said the couple is thinking about expanding business hours, and also adding more homey, leather furniture during the off season for the locals. "We want to be more locally based. We're not just here for the tourists," Peter said.

"We're just hoping to enhance Wolfeboro's offering on Main Street and enhance the community," Judy said. "It is just wonderful to be able to pull off a dream like this. And with such a beautiful view!"

To contact Peter or Judy Colcord, call Downtown Grille Café (now at 33 South Main St.) at 569-4504.

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