, Newburyport, MA

November 1, 2012

'A very quaint place to visit'

Restoration retains historic charm of downtown Rowley

By Michelle Pelletier Marshall Correspondent
Newburyport Daily News

---- — ROWLEY — With last week’s opening of Archie’s 1A Café, the more than two-year refurbishment of downtown Rowley is now complete.

And the new picturesque area around Main Street — the handiwork of Rowley builder Ken Hamilton and his Infiniti Construction crew — has everyone talking.

“It is so great to finally be able to get a cup of coffee in downtown Rowley,” said Kathy Hall, who owns and operates the Bittersweet Collectibles store adjacent to Archie’s 1A Café.

“The opening of the café completes the downtown, making for a very quaint place to visit.”

The café at the corner of Main and Central streets is currently open daily from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m., though owner Archie Rudolph may adjust those hours in time.

“People have expressed such excitement about us being here. It’s very welcoming,” Rudolph said. “Ken did a fantastic job with the downtown area and I feel we are really offering something that people have been looking for.”

Employees at neighboring Rowley Pharmacy said it was “awesome” to have the café across the street. “It’s about time we had a place like this downtown. Ken deserves a medal for how he’s improved the area,” said a staff member behind the counter who did not want to be named.

At Rowley Realty, John McCarthy said he saw the value of the property long before its completion, being the real estate company that helped rent the residential units behind the storefronts.

“Everything looks great,” McCarthy said. “It’s nice to finally have it completed and enjoy the pleasant gathering spaces that have been included, which allow us to enjoy our lunch right here in town.”

At first glance, Archie’s 1A welcomes its patrons…

The café’s bright yellow exterior, a warm, sunlight interior with cozy tables and a generously sized outdoor patio that will soon offer tables welcomes patrons. The menu includes a variety of breakfast sandwiches and numerous choices for lunch, including soups and sandwiches such as turkey hummus, meatloaf club, curry chicken, corned beef and the regular staples like tuna salad and BLTs.

But the specialty item at Archie’s is the handmade doughnuts in several flavors that are so filled with cream, jelly and the like that one almost has to share it with someone, though some say giving it up would not be easy.

Rudolph, who operated a similar establishment in Rockport for 15 years, rises daily at about 3:30 a.m. to make the complete lineup of donut delectables, like the popular Boston cream and old-fashioned jelly doughnuts, not to mention the homemade turnovers and muffins that are made fresh daily, too.

“He (Archie) has a nice little business there, and it’s just what the town needed,” said Hamilton, who has been working on beautifying the downtown since he purchased the three adjacent buildings across from the post office in July 2010.

The buildings had sat vacant for nearly 30 years. In his restoration of the properties, Hamilton has been careful to retain the historical significance of the buildings within the town’s historic district, which at one time housed the infamous Reindeer Tavern, a local grocery store and a bank.

The result is a new downtown that looks much like the little village it would have been back in its heyday.

“All in all, this has been a good project. I’m happy with the outcome, and more importantly, the townspeople are happy,” Hamilton said.