NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

July 6, 2013

Stripers restaurant makes its return next week

SALISBURY — Closed since February, popular local restaurant Stripers Grille is about to open under new ownership, although still awaiting its liquor license to clear bureaucratic hurdles.

New owners Steve and George Haginicolas purchased Stripers from Steve Kuchar and his wife Lisa Reinhold this spring, spending months renovating and working through all the usual food service related technicalities. The renovations are done, the new glassware and china are in, staff hired and menu set. Yet, the red tape revolving around getting the restaurant’s liquor license transferred is still unwinding, Steve Haginicolas said.

Although Salisbury’s Liquor Licensing Commission OK’ed the license transfer from Kuchar to Haginicolas, the paperwork is up at the state Alcohol Beverage Control Commission winding its way through the system.

But waiting any longer to open for business is just not fair to the people who drop by every day to ask: “When are you going to open? When are you going to open?” Haginicolas said yesterday. So, at 11 a.m. Monday, July 8, Stripers will have what’s known in the restaurant business as a “soft opening,” meaning food, but no alcohol.

“We’re hoping our customers will bear with us because we don’t have our liquor license yet,” Haginicolas said. “But other than that, we’re all set to go. We have a new chef, all the staff’s been hired. We’re going to put out great food for a great value. We just can’t serve alcohol yet.

Wanting full disclosure so no one gets an unpleasant surprise, Haginicolas is getting signs to place at Stripers entrance informing patrons before they enter that alcohol isn’t available yet. But given the number of people who’ve told him they’re anxiously waiting for the restaurant to reopen so they can enjoy a meal on the deck overlooking the Merrimack River, the brothers Haginicolas are going to take the chance.

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