A decades-long friendship between two Haute Vallée restaurant families has led one family to carry on the tradition of the other family’s popular family restaurant.
Maria Limon and Nick Yager, the husband and wife team behind Mexican restaurant Gusanoz in Lebanon, acquire Mickey’s Roadside Cafe in Enfield from husband and wife owners Darby and Mickey Dowd, they told me in a recent interview.
“I’m getting to the age where I just want to retire,” said Dowd, 67, who has had his eponymous restaurant and tavern at the intersection of Route 4 and Baltic Street for 17 years. Dowd is also the former owner of Dowd’s Country Inn and Lyme Inn in Lyme, and his family was the long-time owner of Everything But Anchovies in Hanover, which closed in 2017.
Yager first met Dowd, a Hanover High School alumnus, when he worked in the EBAs – as the Allen Street restaurant was commonly referred to – before joining the military and returning to the Upper Valley and opening. Gusanoz with Limon in 2005.
Over the next few years, they met frequently, either at the store or in a professional capacity, Yager said, and shared the same suppliers.
So it is only natural that when Dowd decides to retire, he turns to a restaurateur to whom he can entrust a family heirloom. Yager said Dowd and his brother Charlie Dowd invited him and Limon to dinner at Robert Meyers’ Three Tomatoes Trattoria in Lebanon – neutral territory – where they discussed the idea of Yager and Limon buying the restaurant. and the Enfield building.
“(Dowd) was looking to find someone who would take good care of his people,” Yager said. “Our intention is to honor the tradition they have at Mickey Mouse.”
The parties have reached a buy and sell agreement, and the deal is expected to be concluded in October, they said. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“The timing was good for Nick, and it was good for me,” Dowd said of the sale of the business.
Yager said the restaurant would continue to be called Mickey’s and the tavern-style menu should remain largely the same, “although we can cut it down a bit.”
“We’ve gotten to know the people who work at Mickey Mouse, and there’s a lot of talent there,” Yager said.
For Yager and Limon – Yager calls his wife “the brain behind the food” – catering is also a family business.
Their daughter Isabella Yager is a manager at Gusanoz and their other daughter, Alex Azua, is a marketing manager. Alex’s husband, Juan Azua, is Gusanoz’s CEO, and Isabella’s fiancé, Mike Kelsall, will be working at Mickey’s.
Limon and Yager’s son Eddie Moran, who operated the Taco’s Tacos food trailer, which had many fans in the Upper Valley, opened Lalo’s Taqueria last fall in the former Lebanon Diner space of the Lebanon Mall.
And Limon and Yager’s three grown children live in Enfield, which Yager says is increasingly becoming the community of choice for young families as their price is out of Hanover. It bodes well for Mickey’s future, says Yager.
“With all of these young families moving to Enfield, we want to make sure we attract them as well,” he said.
Caffeine and sugar junkies eager to line up at the busy Dunkin ‘outlet in western Lebanon will soon have an alternative: a new Dunkin’ will be built in the parking lot of Miracle Mile Plaza in Lebanon.
Henniker, NH-based Sagris Enterprises, which owns West Lebanon Dunkin ‘, has finally ushered in a new Dunkin’ – as the old Dunkin ‘Donuts chain has now called itself since it removed “Donuts” from its name – at lebanon place mall.
“Weather (and any other unforeseen issues) pending, my goal is to open the restaurant in early December of this year,” Sagris Enterprises owner Greg Sagris said via email.
Sagris noted that the Miracle Mile Dunkin ‘will be “primarily a drive-thru driven concept” with “a small walk-in area to serve employees of the plaza and its surrounding businesses and those waiting at the stop. bus ride or use the rail trail, but it won’t be your typical Dunkin with indoor seating or a lobby.
The construction cost of the new Dunkin ‘is set at $ 450,000, according to permit files from the Lebanon City Planning Office.
The past year has been a busy one for Sagris, which owns 11 Dunkin ‘franchises in New Hampshire, including two in Enfield, one in Grantham and one inside Walmart in West Lebanon.
It closed its Dunkin ‘outlet on Main Street in West Lebanon last summer – the location will soon become the second Tuk Tuk Thai restaurant – and in June it unveiled a remodel worth more than $ 250,000 Dunkin ‘on route 12A in western Lebanon.
Five years ago, Nate Swain, then a recent graduate of Paul Smith’s College with a culinary arts degree, reopened the historic bowling alley and Victory Lanes restaurant in Woodsville.
It’s located in a former barn-like dance and cinema hall on Route 302, across the Connecticut River from Wells River, Vermont, and Swain has seen the 109-year-old pub revive with six chandelier lanes as an opportunity to bring back a needed nightlife spot between Bradford, Vermont, and St. Johnsbury.
But Victory Lanes Room 111 – as Swain renamed the place – did not survive the pandemic that wiped out many restaurants. He announced last summer on the company’s Facebook page that “the state-ordered shutdown of our business due to COVID-19 was just too difficult for us to survive.”
Now the The building and the company Victory Lanes are for sale at the asking price of $ 260,000, according to online real estate listings.
“A great opportunity to purchase a popular 6 lane bowling alley with a fully stocked bar and kitchen… it’s a wonderful opportunity to buy into a fun business with lots of growth potential at a great price”, the list promises.
Interested buyers can contact Peter Nightingale at KW Lakes and Mountains Realty in Meredith, NH, for more information.
Contact John Lippman at [email protected]